Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Top of the Queue Review" - Tangled in 3D!

We just gave Tangled in 3D a spin and I have to say that the movie and the in-home 3D experience is top notch by all accounts.  Now I previously wrote about how much I'm enjoying the at home 3D experience.  The outcome is the same as seeing a 3D movie in theaters but without all of the annoying things that come with going out to see a movie:  noisy people that always seem to sit in front of you, people texting and, most thankfully absent, the ads before the film which is the biggest annoyance that I'm glad is missing when watching a movie at home.  The experience is so enjoyable that I'm actually surprised that it seems it is taking a longer time for home 3D to be embraced. 

For those of you who missed this and all of the commercials for it, the plot of Tangled is basically a revised version of the classic early 1800's fairy tale "Rapunzel" by the Brothers Grimm.    While the basic plot is the same- girl locked away in the tower by an old woman, young man stumbles upon the tower, etc. - the more tragic parts of the story like where the young man (a prince in the original story) is blinded by thorns below the tower when he leaps from it in despair upon learning he will never get to see Rapunzel again, have been eliminated, as it is a Disney film after all!  Of course there is plenty of singing and two cute animal sidekicks as well - again, it is a Disney film.  Fortunately they've eliminated giving the two animal characters the ability to speak, so at least it is slightly more realistic in that regard.

Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore
The strength of any animated movie lies on three things, the story, the songs and the cast.  Fortunately for Twisted, all three exceed.   Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi are the two leads.  Moore is "Rapunzel," and in this story, she is a princess who was kidnapped by an old woman when she was just a baby. 

The old woman knew of a secret flower in the forest that would make her young.  But when the Queen is dying in childbirth the King, also aware of the flower, sends his men out to the forest to find it.  They find it, and after the flower heals the Queen, she gives birth to Rapunzel.  The old woman, no longer having the flower to keep her young, steals the child as she knows that since the Queen drank a potion made from the flower that the child's hair now has the same magical powers as the flower.  Levi is "Flynn Rider" who is nowhere near on the calibre of a prince, like in the original Grimm story, but instead is a thief who gains entry into the tower as a means to escape being caught by the Palace guards after having robbed them of the tiara that was once worn by the baby Rapunzel. I liked how they updated the classic fairy tale and now made Rapunzel the one with royal ties instead of the main male character. (Though of course this does tie perfectly into the "Disney Princess" line of merchandise.)

The score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater includes songs in the typical Disney Animated style - the "I want" song for the lead, that is reprised a few times, the "misunderstood villain" song, in this case for "Mother Gothel" - the old woman who stole Rapunzel, and the love song where our two leads express their inner feelings and ultimately end up singing the song to each other.   Think of any of the songs from previous Menken scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin and you'll know what I mean.  And while the songs may not be the groundbreaking Oscar winners that Menken wrote in the past they are good and serviceable.  Another nice bonus is that they are sung by our three leads who not only speak but sing their roles as well (unlike a lot of previous Disney animated films.)

Donna Murphy as "Mother Gothel"
Which brings me to my favorite part of the movie- Donna Murphy.  The two time Tony winner is "Mother Gothel" and she gives one of the best performances in an animated film.   While she may not be as over the top as Pat Carroll was as "Ursula" in The Little Mermaid, or as evil as Jeremy Irons was as "Scar" in The Lion King, the accent she has picked to use and her soaring voice on her songs really makes her stand out above the rest.  Check out the clip below to get a sense of her performance in the film.  Also, Levi who is best known for playing the title role in the tv show Chuck, is a really good singer, who knew?

I also liked Maximus, the Royal Guard horse and Pascal, Rapunzel's best friend who happens to be a chameleon - both are prominently featured in the poster for the movie above and both are in the line of Disney animal characters that are stand alone individuals even though they don't say a word.

The film in 3D includes a beautiful color scheme with fully fleshed out three dimensional characters and settings.  And while there aren't a lot of the "in your face" moments that some more gimmicky 3D films use, there is a sense of depth to the film where you feel you could step into your tv and walk for miles before reaching the end of the settings.  This is definitely one of those films that if they demo'd it in 3D in a Best Buy they would definitely sell 3D tv's. 
the original logo for the film
Concerning the title, I heard a little before the film was released that Disney did originally plan to call the film Rapunzel, but decided to change the name to give it a more modern title as well as to hopefully not alienate the male and especially young boy audience.  And while the character of Flynn is in a lot of the film, and is featured on the movie posters, this is really Rapunzel's story, so maybe the title change got the male demographic into the theatres, but the story, cast, songs and the 3D experience is what got them to stay and to recommend it to others.  This is Disney's 50th Animated feature film as well.

So go out and buy a 3D tv and a 3D blu-ray player so you can start to enjoy the 3D at home experience yourself.  Disney just announced that they are updating both The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast to be 3D and the 3D blu-rays of both are coming out this Fall.  I'll definitely be picking those up!

Amazon link for Tangled (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy)

Amazon link for Tangled (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Amazon link for the cd of Tangled

Amazon link for the 3D Blu ray of The Lion King (Four-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)

Amazon link for the 3D Blu ray of Beauty and the Beast (Five Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)

Trailer for the film -

A fun compilation clip that shows Donna Murphy as "Mother Gothel" -

1 comment:

  1. I still loved the film and believe it's a great addition to Disney's animated classics. Lastly, let me just add a big "Yeah!" to the film's final moments when Flynn, back in narrator mode, reveals that it was several years before he and Rapunzel got married. A much better message for children than the more usual we-saw-each-other-twice-before-tying-the-knot which seems almost de rigueur in so many fairy tales.