Tangled is Disney’s latest computer-animated film, this one based very loosely on the fairy tale “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm. (It’s probably a good thing that it’s loose. A movie that closely followed the original story would be rather weird and gross, and would probably upset the younger members of the audience.)
The new version of the story is surprisingly entertaining. It is energetic and funny, and many of the changes make more sense than the original story (which frankly seems a bit random.)
In this version Rapunzel is a kidnapped princess (Mandy Moore). The wicked witch (Donna Murphy) wants her because her hair has magic healing and youth-restoring powers. It would be sort of redundant for her rescuer to be a prince, so he is now a rascally but redeemable thief (Zachary Levi).
In my opinion the best character is an officious horse (who doesn’t get a voice credit because he doesn’t actually talk.)
Some people have been comparing this to the great Disney animated features of the past, but I don’t think it is really in that league. For one thing the music isn’t nearly as good. Alan Menken wrote the songs, but he seems to have phoned them in.
Also the computer-generated animation, while good enough for this sort of story, still lacks the expressive power of the first-rate hand-drawn animation that Disney used to be capable of. Sure, using CG allows them to show it in 3-D and charge extra, but that’s a poor trade-off from an artistic standpoint. I particularly missed the hand-drawn animation in the “I Got a Dream” sequence, which is the closest this movie comes to a memorable musical number.