Tangled (3D/2D Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 100 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; DTS-HD HR 7.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 49.99
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Review Date: March 16, 2011
The Walt Disney Company has a viable reputation for setting animated fairy tales to music, so its latest Tangled, a hipster variation on the tale of Rapunzel, comes as no real surprise. As the company did with Hercules, the tale has been left in its period but is peopled with characters who are completely modernized in their speech and social habits (though Hercules is funnier and has better songs). So, right off the bat, the film has a somewhat disposable air about it, a movie that will seem dated after a certain time (whereas Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty retain their agelessness due to their writers’ not stooping to this motif to add a comic edge to the movie relying instead on comedy to spring completely from within well written characters).
Having been touched by a drop of magical sunshine which allows her hair to attain magical, healing properties from birth, Princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is abducted from the palace as a baby by the evil Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) and locked away in a tower so that her she can be the only one who uses the child’s abilities to allow her to retain her youthful looks. On her eighteenth birthday, Rapunzel longs to leave the tower to see the outside world and is especially eager to see more closely an annual ceremony of floating lanterns which happens on her birthday, something unknown to her that her real mother and father do each year in the hopes that their daughter will return to them. When bandit Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) stumbles on the tower after stealing the princess’ crown from the palace, Rapunzel sees him as her way to get out of the tower for a few days of exploring the real world. But Rider has the palace guards and his own cohorts (both voiced by Ron Perlman) on his tail, and once Mother Gothel finds out Rapuzel has escaped, she, too, is out to retrieve her prized possession and kill anyone who stands in her way.
With eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken providing the songs for this musical (yes, it’s a musical, something the trailers tried their best to downplay), you can’t help but recognize melodious elements from other more successful Menken creations. Rapunzel’s wish song “When Will My Life Begin” recalls “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast without that song’s complexity and soaring melody. The film’s big production number “I’ve Got a Dream,” staged in a pub where a bunch of cutthroats wax philosophically about their own dashed hopes, has a similar tempo as “Gaston” and the same ensemble flavor, too. Mother Gothel’s “Mother Knows Best” certainly suggests Ursula’s suggestively threatening “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The love song for the pair, Oscar-nominated this year, is “I See the Light,” a sweet if somewhat unmemorable recognition of their feelings as they attend the floating lantern festivities. The music should have taken the feature to another level as it did in Menken’s best screen tuners, but it doesn’t accomplish the same thing here.
Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard do have some great comedy timing with actions and reactions during the film (a running gag with a frying pan gets a lot of use; two non-talking creatures, Rapunzel’s chameleon chum Pascal and the proud, arbitrary horse Maximus who makes Rider his personal project, are both used wonderfully). They stage a hilarious set of sight gags as Rapunzel tries to stuff the knocked-cold Rider into an armoire and turn on the romantic ambiance during the lantern sequence with the really dazzling animation taking our breath away. Rapunzel uses her seventy foot-long hair like Indiana Jones’ trusty whip, superbly drawn in what must have been a nightmare for the CGI animators to control. Elsewhere, though, invention seems to have left screenwriter Dan Fogelman who adds the usual chases and battles to the story without adding anything new to the mix.
Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore both do worthwhile voice work as their hip characters (Levi’s varied assortment of comic shadings in his voice and his delivery of veiled sarcasm is especially winning). Donna Murphy, of course, gets the juicy villainess role and does everything but eat it for breakfast, a triumphant performance. Brad Garrett as the hook-handed bad guy with a soft, creamy inside scores superbly with “I’ve Got a Dream,” and Jeffrey Tambor and Richard Kiel also contribute neat little bits to the song and to that pub scene.
3D quality – 4/5
The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharpness is wonderfully achieved throughout the 2D presentation with detail so sharp that Rapunzel’s individual strands of hair are easily discernable. Colors are rich and excellently mastered without blooming or gross oversaturation. Indeed, because much of the film takes place in dimly-lit interiors, colors here aren’t quite as much of a standout as they are in other CGI films. Black levels are strong, and there is no evidence of banding in the image to spoil its purity and solidity. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
In 3D, the sense of depth is much more impressive as the interior scenes have a real fullness missing from the 2D presentation. Two shots from on-high looking down add such scope to the visuals that they’re rather staggering to the eye and a bit dizzying, too. Colors seem a bit more pumped here, possibly as a way of compensating for the tinted eyewear, and greens in particular seem a bit more electric. There are only a few instances of projectiles extending out from the screen (some flying wood chips, several instances where water hurtles toward the viewer, a sword that extends outward), but they’re all quite effective. There are almost no problems with ghosting with only one brief encounter with a sword offering a double image.
The Blu-ray has been outfitted with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, and it’s a very effective one especially impressive in its use of the LFE channel on several occasions. While dialogue is mostly relegated to the center channel, there are some welcome instances of directionalized dialogue, and one particular moment when Rider is being swung around in a 360 degree turn swoops impressively through every surround channel in the fronts and rears. Menken’s music score gets the royal treatment in its placement throughout the soundstage with key orchestral sounds quite noticeable in front and rear projections.
All of the bonus visual material on the two high definition discs is presented in 1080p.
The 3D disc offers only a 3D trailer for Cars 2.
On the 2D Blu-ray disc, there are three deleted scenes with introductions by directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. They can be watched separately or in one 12 ½-minute chunk. The material, of course, is only in rough animation form with temporary voice tracks.
There are two extended versions of songs from the movie, again with animation that is not finished. “When Will My Life Begin” runs 3 ½ minutes. “Mother Knows Best” runs 4 ½ minutes.
Two storybook openings are presented, neither in finished form, and both introduced by directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Each of them runs 4 minutes (they must be chosen separately).
Alternate Opening (Bonus- Deleted Scene)
“50th Animated Feature Countdown” is a quick montage of the fifty animated features that have been theatrically released from the Disney animation studios. This runs 2 minutes.
“Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale” is a very disappointing 12 ½ minutes with stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi offering trivia about their movie and other animated movies in the Disney vault, showing very quick bloopers from the animation process, and hearing from some of the other actors who gave voice to the characters. Almost nothing is contributed by the production staff about the making of the film.
“Tangled Teasers” is the disc’s best bonus feature, 9 ¼ minutes featuring nine quirky teaser ads about some aspect of the movie in infomercial contexts.
The disc offers 1080p trailers for Cars 2, The Lion King, Tron:Legacy, Winnie the Pooh, Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games, The Incredibles, and Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.
The third disc in the set is the DVD edition of the movie.
The fourth disc in the set is the DisneyFile digital copy of the film with enclosed instructions and code number for installation on Mac and PC devices.
3.5/5 (not an average)
Tangled may not be the foremost animated musical in the Disney canon, but it’s an agreeable and entertaining addition to the family of Princess musicals. For those with the capability, the 3D edition is much preferred for its exciting sense of depth, but the 2D version offers an excellent visual and aural experience as well. The bonus package is the set’s most disappointing aspect.