Tangled is the 50th animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, a studio that, in recent years, has embodied that oh so famous Forest Gump metaphor - Disney is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. However, I can say with some conviction, that Tangled is the best animated film made by Disney (and not Pixar) in over a decade. It was great to see a return to the magical Disney of the nineties to commemorate the 50th Disney Animated Film.
Whilst I really liked Bolt, it was completely unnecessary as a film; put simply, it was trying to be a Pixar film. As YouTuber CelluloidSeamstress so eloquently put it, it is pointless for Disney to use "its own animation department to try and imitate a different branch of its own animation department". Since it has been affiliated with Pixar (and since bought it) WDAS has been living in a huge shadow, every film they release has been judged to Pixar standards, but Tangled is the first film in years that has been able to stand out - and be clearly a Disney film and not a Pixar imitator - and stand toe to toe with some Pixar greats.
Another brilliant character, is Rapunzel's pet, over protective chameleon. Pascal, conveyed so much emotion with simple gestures, reminding me at times of a mute drill sergeant. In a similar vein to Maximus, Pascal is such a human feeling character and conveys so much depth just through his anthropomorphism and actions.
However, at first I didn't particularly like Rapunzel as a main character, whilst we could see her motivation and back story, she was a bit ditsy and annoying, however as the movie progressed her interactions with Flynn made me look at her in a whole new light. By the end of the film, Rapunzel had certainly grown on me and can take her place among the crème de la crème of the Disney Princesses. So overall, both characters were, both interesting, and likable.
Whilst I don't think there is a single character in this film I don't like, Mother Gothel deserves honourable mention. Mother Gothel, truly is one of the best villains in an animated film to date, whilst at first she can be confused as caring, it is soon apparent that she is indeed merely cunning, selfish and brilliantly evil. One thing that has remained a constant in Disney films is the quality of the villains, whereas Pixar do the broken, betrayed bad guys with back stories, Disney perfectly pull of the evil to the core villains, as evident here.
On to other points beside characters, as previously mentioned the story was really good, funny and interesting, however it was a tad predictable. The audience knew what was going to happen in most of the crucial points of the film - unlike in Toy Story 3 where several endings are set up to keep the audience in doubt -, however going along for the ride to see it play out was still fantastic. Also, as I have mentioned earlier, the first ten minutes aren't great; it was over the top and a tad too fairy tale-ish for my tastes, however this is nowhere near enough to ruin the film.
In terms of songs, this is a musical, but it doesn't need to be. I've never been a huge fan of musicals, and I think this could have easily worked without being one, however I must admit, it certainly adds to the magic and seems a fitting way to round off 50 animated films, the way it started and became famous, with musicals. Whilst there are no particularly memorable songs - except the hilarious Ruffian Bar song - they are all very good, you will tap your toes to them, but you won't remember them.
As you can probably guess, I really liked Tangled. Apart from a few issues with the story and songs, it was near perfect - certainly the nearest Disney's came since the nineties -, and with its emotion, humour and action has something for everyone, it is a perfect family film.
All I can say is that it is fantastic to see Disney, a staple of my childhood return to the magic that made them special. The animation is fantastic and while it is computer animated, it feels hand drawn, this feels like it could have been plucked from the Disney Renaissance. Finally, Disney is no longer the company whose only good animated films come from a subsidiary of it, it is fantastic for Disney to step out of Pixar's 16 year shadow and stand on its own again, to commemorate the 50th Disney Animated Film, and with a classically drawn Winnie the Pooh film to come this year, I'm hoping it's going to continue!