Disney Does it Again

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The Spectrum

Movie: Tangled

Release Date: Nov. 24

Grade: A-

Disney continues its virtually unblemished track record for producing entertaining, family-friendly fun with its newest animated film Tangled.

Tangled is based on the Rapunzel fairy tale. The plot begins when baby Princess Rapunzel receives healing powers from a magical flower. Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy, Ugly Betty) kidnaps the baby from her palace in the middle of the night and locks Rapunzel in her hidden tower in order to remain young.

Rapunzel (Mandy Moore, Grey's Anatomy) is now a teenager whose hair has grown long enough to reach the bottom of the tower she is kept in. Having been locked away for her entire life, she is curious of the outside world, and her one dream is to see the floating lanterns that are always flown on her birthday.

One day, the notorious thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi, Chuck) climbs the tower in order to escape from two bandits who are chasing him. Rapunzel takes him captive and strikes a deal with the charming thief to take her to see the floating lanterns, beginning an exciting adventure.

With a talented and well-cast team of vocalists, the characters seem to come alive on screen with the help of some impressive 3-D animation.

Levi embodies the role of the egocentric bandit Flynn Rider with pitch-perfect skill. His charismatic and over-the-top character provides many moments of laughter throughout the film as he attempts to disarm various characters with his signature "smolder" and charming devil-may-care attitude. However, as the film progresses audiences will find the softer side of Rider to be just as endearing.

Moore's sweet and childlike voice is perfect for Rapunzel, who seems naïve and helpless at first but proves to be a thoroughly modern and headstrong heroine. Her singing voice also lends itself well to the Disney format and many of her songs, especially the opening tune, are sure to be hummed by little girls for days on end.

Murphy lends her wonderfully over-the-top, Broadway-esque voice to the film's villainess. Murphy's less-than-subtle performance gives the character everything a Disney villain needs: fierce bravado, extreme wickedness, and a penchant for breaking into big vocal numbers.

While the main characters are well done and entertaining, the show-stealer of the film is the horse, Maximus. The speechless character's hilarious mannerisms and facial expressions provide the film with many entertaining moments. Starting out with a deep hatred for Flynn, he later proves to be a loyal and extremely lovable character and the most memorable of the movie.

The filmmakers do an excellent job mixing comedy and emotion as the film progresses. Slapstick comedy is most dominant in the beginning of the film, with Rapunzel's frying pan weapon providing many laughs early on. However, the film begins to open up toward the end and gives the audience several emotional heart-on-its-sleeve moments. The combination provides for an extremely well rounded story.

With sweeping landscapes, a beautiful and moving lantern display, and an exciting flood sequence, the animation in the film proves to be simply stunning. The 3-D aspect subtly enhances the charm and beauty of the film by adding depth and nuance.

With only a few moments of noticeable 3-D gimmicks, the filmmakers opted for a "less is more" mentality and the end result is breathtaking. However, while the 3-D aspects of Tangled are beautiful, not much would be lost from the film as a whole if the viewer were to opt for the cheaper 2-D version.

Equal parts hilarious and touching, Tangled is an entertaining and heart-tugging ride that is sure to have something for the whole family.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com