TANGLED (Rated PG for brief, mild violence): For their 50th film, the Disney Studios have selected the Brothers Grimm's "Rapunzel," and like previous animations it bears the Disney touch, creating a delightful little gem, not among the best Disney has done in the past, but one that returns to the old familiar tradition of colorful story telling, with a faster pace and a sparkling new visual quality - the best that CG techniques can offer.
In this version, our Rapunzel is a princess, stolen at birth by Mother Gothel, who uses the child's magical powers to retain her youth. Rapunzel is locked in a tower, with her golden tresses growing around her (now about a hundred feet long), using them as one might a handy extra appendage. She is warned never to consider leaving the tower; the world out there, her "mother" tells her, is treacherous. The first person she meets quite by accident from beyond the tower is a fly-by-night ne'er-do-well, Flynn Rider, who comes upon the tower while escaping a thievery, and the couple go through a boy-meets-girl love-hate relationship as he takes her into the forbidden world. Miranda-like, she finds the brave new world a mix of wonders and terrors, the latter becoming most evident when she confronts the denizens of a sleezy pub. An intrepid girl, Rapunzel turns a dangerous situation around by singing the most interesting song in the film, "I've Got a Dream," as she finds that everyone including the pub ruffians also have dreams.
Complications arise when "mother" does her dirtiest to get Rapunzel back under control in the tower, but never fear; with the aid of a her magic hair, a pet chameleon and an anthropomorphic horse - oh, and Flynn - well, how does a Grimm fairy tale end?
Though, I imagine, the 3D effects could be put to use with the girl's amazingly alive hair, along with the escape runs over hill & dale, etc., the movie's charm & vitality still permeate nicely without it. There are some moments in which our heroine is placed in a less than leading light, which might arouse grumbles from staunch feminists, but in the main our plucky, spirited girl does all right for herself. Directed by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard from a script by Dan Fogelman and backed by blissfully brief tunes from Alan Menken, the movie is a charmer for its 100-minutes of Disney nostalgia. (Grade: B