Just when you thought that Disney had run out of princesses, having gone through the gamut of Caucasians, half-fish, Native American, Arabian, Chinese and last year’s African American, out comes number 10, Rapunzel.
6 years in the making, Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale is also the most expensive animated movie ever made, with a budget of put anywhere between US$150 million to US$260 million (S$338.8 million) according to the Los Angeles Times.
Would you expect any less care for the milestone 50th animated feature of the Walt Disney Animation Studios? Directed by Byron Howard and Nathan Gerno, who were director and storyboard director respectively of Disney’s animated movie Bolt (2008), the movie is very much like the German fairytale by Brothers Grimm we’re familiar with, but with a few twists along the way such as Rapunzel was a lost princess and her charming prince is portrayed as a kind-hearted thief.
Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) spends 18 years in a high tower cut off from the world. She mistakes her captor witch Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) for her saviour, protecting her from the evil world out there. This is a lie fed by Mother Gothel who wants to keep her her close as Rapunzel’s magical hair can keep her young forever.
The illusion is finally broken when Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), a kind-hearted thug who accidentally stumbles upon the tower, becomes her ticket out to new adventures. This being a typical Disney tale, untainted by Tim Burton, we get our happy-ever-after ending after the obligatory series of dangerous encounters, fighting off a pair of evil thugs who tried to obstruct their search for a happy ending.
It was not only feisty Rapunzel and her charming counterpart who stole the show. Rapunzel’s non-speaking chameleon friend, Pascal, as well as Maximus, the stallion of the head palace guard, are largely the main source of humour in this dialogue-heavy movie. Their dynamic human–behaviours such as Pascal punching his fists together as a sign to Rapunzel that she should beat Flynn up would leave you in fits of laughter.
It is visually stunning as the lovable characters are given life through the traditional hand-drawn style that Disney is known for. You have to applaud them for their attention to little details. Rapunzel’s luscious never-ending blond locks, which put all shampoo advertisements to shame, definitely deserve a special mention here.
Just like other Disney fairytales such as The Princess and the Frog (2009), the soundtrack for Rapunzel is much anticipated. Oscar-winning musical theatre and film composer, Alan Menken added life and zest to the otherwise predictable plot, with Disney-worthy tunes such as “Mother Knows Best” (performed by Murphy) in the scenes when Mother Gothel tried to coerce Rapunzel into believing that she’d be better off in the tower.
If you are apprehensive about watching another 3D movie (because you’ve had a horrifying experience of leaving the cinema with a throbbing headache), you have no cause to worry this time. The lack of fast-moving, blurry scenes in Rapunzel makes it a 3D-friendly movie. Floating lanterns and swishy long hair surely make for captivating 3D animations, appealing especially to the younger audience (read: kids).
Revolving around the theme of “Good will prevail”, Rapunzel will delight audiences of all ages as Disney breathed life into 200-year-old characters from the original fairytale.
Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale opens in 3D on Nov 25 and islandwide Dec 2.
Movie: Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale
Duration: 100 minutes
Genre: Animation, Musical, Comedy
Director: Byron Howard and Nathan Gerno
Cast: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy