The Bottom Line

The High Brow: Mark Jones received his MFA in Film from UT Austin. His most unusual job was moving Tom Cruise’s personal tent on the set of War of the Worlds.

The Low Brow: Beto Gonzales is a San Antonio-based visual artist with an appreciation of the less-than-finer things in life. He loves his Roku and Netflix streaming.


: A reworking of the mythical story of Rapunzel, the kidnapped princess who doesn’t know she’s a kidnapped princess. She pines away in a tower combing her long magical locks of hair while kept under lock and key by a woman posing as her mother. Rapunzel (played here by Mandy Moore) is 18 years old and clearly pent up. Along comes a rogue jewel thief (Zachary Levi) who offers an escape, self-actualization, and an opportunity to sing happy/sad show tunes to a PG crowd.

What were they thinking?
HB: Tangled seems like it was “committee’d to death,” with no clear style emerging. The only time the audience came to life was for slapstick jokes that appealed to 5-year-olds.
LB: This movie has no heart, no soul. The great performances, the clever writing, the heartfelt emotion that made Shrek or Toy Story or Finding Nemo great movies are not here. This is an empty, lifeless movie.

The mom factor
HB: Animated kid movies have a guaranteed minimum market share just by being some form of daycare. But to be successful there has to be nuanced humor to appeal to adults. Though that didn’t happen here, there is a lot of virginal flower imagery connected to Rapunzel, but it comes across as unintended.
LB: Unintended? There is a darkness to this film that’s disturbing. This is not a light, fun movie. The none-too-subtle subtext is that the vain, evil mother (Donna Murphy) hides her daughter’s magical vagina from all the bad men to keep herself young. When a charming cad finally clips Rapunzel’s never-cut hair, it’s rendered un-magical, un-special. Subtle.

Why 3D?
HB: Not really sure. My 3D glasses made everything look flat and green, which killed the “oil painting” look the animators were going for. The film looked better by not wearing the 3-D glasses. That’s not a good thing.
LB: Why 3D? Why CGI? Why not just a traditional Disney animated movie? Because Tangled is a shitty movie that needs gimmicks to work on any level. The movie’s terrible 3D effects were added as a marketing afterthought. Awful.

HB: I wonder if this story is too old fashioned. A princess waiting for her prince to save her? The plot suggests Rapunzel’s coming-of-age self-actualization, but at the same time the rogue thief/lover does all the courageous work, leaving Rapunzel generally passive. That’s just not good drama. I can see now why Disney is trying to juice up this story. Not that they succeeded.
LB: This wasn’t the saccharine Disney-dictated fairy tale about princesses I feared. This wasn’t the Pixar clever and playful debunking of stereotypes that we’ve come to expect since Shrek. Or a state-of-the-art CGI experience I wanted. It was far worse than I could imagine. A soulless exercise. The quality of the story, dialogue, and animation is strictly Direct-to-Video.

HB: It’s a story about 18-year-olds marketed to 12-year-olds that only appeals to five-year-olds, and that’s not a tough sell. I’d pay $2 to see this movie. Not recommended.
LB: I’ll be honest. I wanted to leave halfway through this movie and do half this column as a bar review. Unfortunately, the across-the-parking-lot bar sucked too. You’d have to pay me $5 to sit through this.

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