Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let Down Your Hair!

When I read a few days ago that the “Tangled” trailer had been posted online, I was very excited and immediately watched it. I’ve been a Disneyphile since I was a child and spent every summer watching every Disney classic in chronological order, starting with “Snow White.” So when Disney started this new film initiative under John Lasseter’s direction, I was elated. While “Princess and the Frog” did not perform as well at the box office as may have been hoped, artistically it did not disappoint.

“Tangled,” however, seems rather mediocre, at least judging by the trailer. Maybe it’s the comedic tone that causes me to think this, as I prefer my fairy tales to be the romantic sort. Flynn really reminds me of Tulio and Miguel from “The Road to El Dorado…” Come to think of it, his horse resembles El Tivo, as well, and from the trailer, this seems to be an adventure comedy, rather than the typical fairy tale fare that Disney is known for.

Now, I don’t mind such films. I like “El Dorado,” and I thought “Bolt” was quite enjoyable. But, those films also weren’t fairy tales. They were completely original films. “Tangled” doesn’t seem to follow its source material at all, save from the idea that a girl with seventy feet of hair has been locked in a tower her whole life. I had very high hopes, especially with Glen Keane’s involvement, but this vision of Rapunzel is quite different from what I was expecting.

I think what bothers me the most is that Rapunzel is barely present in this trailer. In a marketing move attempting to entice more boys to see the film at the theatre, Disney has rebranded the film as "Tangled," and appears to be naming Flynn Rider as the central character and Rapunzel as a sidekick he gains later in the film, probably somewhere before the half-hour mark. What happened to the empowered female protagonists of the 90s? Rapunzel seems like a vapid valley girl from this trailer, although that may simply be because of her ignorance about the outside world (I have my fingers crossed).

I will certainly give it the benefit of the doubt when it’s finally released in November – the only Disney film I ever skipped was “Home on the Range,” which I still haven’t seen – and I hope to be pleasantly surprised.


  1. Yeah, I definitely had some concerns when I heard about the name change and the shift in focus to appeal to boys (ugh, stupid gender-focused marketing, I know it works but IT DRIVES ME UP THE WALL GIRLS ARE EXPECTED TO LIKE BOY THINGS AS WELL AS GIRL THINGS BUT HEAVEN FORBID WE EXPECT BOYS TO BREACH THAT GAP) HOWEVER I am holding out hope based on two things:
    1) I am looking forward to the animation - I know nothing of animation, but apparently they're basing the style on French rococo and specifically the painting "The Swing" which sounds like it should end up being lovely and

  2. Glen Keane, the original director who later left the project due to health issues, was the one planning on using the oil painting effect on the animation. I don't know if Greno and Howard, the current directors, followed through with that. Looking at the trailer, I don't really see that style, although the animation is still top-notch.

    As for the music, I love Menken, but I am very disappointed that Kristin Chenoweth is no longer voicing Rapunzel.

    I know it will take time to rebuild the Disney brand after the mid-aughts nearly destroyed it, but there is a growing concern that the "second Renaissance" may not happen because the films aren't grossing enough money. I am hopeful that Lasseter's position as creative head of the studio will lead to more dazzling projects, but Disney is his second priority.