REVIEW: ‘Tangled’ has bumpy start but soars by the end

Nov. 24, 2010 | 10:10 a.m.

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan says “Tangled” isn’t perfect, but delivers in the end. Here’s an excerpt from his review.

"Tangled" (Walt Disney Co.)

For “Tangled,” the studio’s 50th feature-length cartoon, the team at Disney has taken a deep breath and tried to be all things to all animation-loving people. There are some hiccups along the way, but by the end there is success.

Whether you like stirring adventure or sentimental romance, traditional fairy tales or stories of modern families, musicals or comedies, even blonds or brunets, “Tangled” has something for you. Sampling so many animation touchstones has its risks, but once “Tangled” calms down and accepts the essential sweetness of its better nature the rewards are clear. As directed by Nathan Greno and “Bolt” co-director Byron Howard, one of those rewards is a gorgeous computer-animated look that features rich landscapes and characters that look fuller and more lifelike than they have in the past.

“Tangled” can be forgiven if it takes some time to find its footing. It is after all a story of a lost princess that does a lot to appeal to boys, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale that (in this country at least) decided it was wiser to avoid the name itself, and a movie with five Alan Menken songs that doesn’t call itself a musical.

That initial shakiness is amplified by the irritating and overly glib nature of co-protagonist Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi), a devil-may-care bandit who is introduced spewing more smart remarks than a Comedy Store regular. Like a refugee from a “Shrek” sequel, Flynn calls Rapunzel “blondie” and says “I don’t do back story” when asked about his past. This comment notwithstanding, it is Flynn who fills us in on Rapunzel’s history. The daughter of a king and queen (honest!), she was spirited away as an infant and raised by a devious woman named Mother Gothel (brassy theater veteran Donna Murphy) who keeps the girl in the dark about her real parents and locks her up in a tower because contact with Rapunzel’s magical hair keeps Mother G. eternally young…

THERE’S MORE, READ THE REST.

– Kenneth Turan

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