Disney’s 50th feature-length animated movie is their best in many years. Tangled recaptures the charm, humor, and spirit of the studio’s second renaissance, the late 80s/early 90s period that saw such hits as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Quite simply, I laughed and I cried, and was thoroughly engaged with the characters and the storytelling. And when I thought I had Tangled figured out, it gave me a couple of twists and some welcome sophistication. Touche, John Lasseter, touche.
I can’t help but think Lasseter (the founder of Pixar, now also in charge of Disney Animation) had a lot to do with my enjoyment of this film. Like most Pixar films, Tangled blows the dust off an old tale (it’s Rapunzel this time) and breathes new life into it. I’ve seen the story before (I was actually struck most by similarities to Romancing the Stone), and yet it unfolds before me anew. I can’t explain it, but it works. Maybe Disney and Lasseter are spiking the Kool-Aid and I’m just too quick to drink it. But I adored Tangled, every bit of it.
And though it’s old-fashioned at its core, Tangled is also an impressive first: it’s the very fist time I’ve ever seen the gorgeous qualities of classical Disney 2D animation translate successfully to 3D. Under Glenn Keane’s supervision, the character design and animation in Tangled soars. The backgrounds and color palettes are as painterly-looking as, well, paintings! Computers may be the new paintbrush, but at Pixar (and now returning to Disney) beauty and craftsmanship are still the ultimate goal.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)