dir Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
scr Dan Fogelman
prd Roy Conli
voices Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, MC Gainey, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett, Richard Kiel, Paul F Tompkins, Delaney Rose Stein, Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
release US 24.Nov.10, UK 28.Jan.11
10/US Disney 1h32
A girl, a boy and a frying pan: Rapunzel and Flynn

moore levi murp
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Tangled Disney returns to a successful formula for this enjoyable animated romp based on a Grimm fairy tale. It's bright and funny, but not too snappy, and skips the pop-culture references for a more timeless approach.

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Rapunzel (Moore) senses that there's more to life than the tower where she has always lived with her mother Gothel (Murphy). Indeed, Gothel kidnapped her as an infant from her parents, the King and Queen, because her hair has rejuvenating properties that keeps Gothel forever young. As long as she never cuts it. When handsome young thief Flynn (Levi) turns up at the tower, Rapunzel's curiosity boils over and she sneaks off with him to explore the world outside. Her mother is more than furious.

While the script has a few darkly violent and vaguely ribald moments, most elements have been carefully balanced to cause the least offence. Flynn's criminality is more hapless than dangerous, while Rapunzel's lust is as tame as humanly possible. And the gang of soldiers and thugs they meet on their adventure are only comically nasty, showing a menace than never threatens anyone (and the thugs also get to show their silly, soulful sides after succumbing to Rapunzel's charms).

Being a Disney movie, characters break out in cute Alan Menken songs every now and then (most are unmemorable, although Mother Knows Best is destined for drag-anthem longevity). There are also requisite adorable animal sidekicks, who thankfully don't speak: namely Rapunzel's sardonic chameleon pal Pascal and the renegade palace horse Maximus, who almost steals the film with his bloodhound-like determination.

Meanwhile the animation plays it relatively safe, nicely expanding old-style hand-drawn imagery into a digital 3D world. There are rousing action sequences that are enjoyably contrived, and the climactic scene involving floating lanterns is a beautiful combination of quiet sadness, surging romance and elegant visual artistry. In the end, the film's unsophisticated plot perhaps doesn't quite stand up to the high standards of gems like Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin, but it's a wonderfully engaging movie full of small pleasures. And lots of solid laughs and sighs.

cert pg themes, violence 29.Nov.10

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