03 August 2011

26 July- "Let's just assume for the moment that everyone in here doesn't like me"

Tangled (2010)
dir. Nathan Greno, Byron Howard (Bolt, 2008)

Mandy Moore (The Princess Diaries, 2001)
Zachary Levi
Donna Murphy (Spiderman 2, 2004)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy, 2004)
M.C. Gainey (The Haunting, 1999)
Jeffrey Tambor (Flypaper, 2011)
Brad Garrett (A Bug's Life, 1998)
Paul F. Tompkins (Magnolia (voice), 1999)

So much for a summer filled with catching up on all the high-culture cinema I missed in the theaters the first time around. Instead I've pretty much been caving whenever my little brother wants to pick the evening's movie (he's 8!). Yesterday my Momma went to a dinner party or something, so it was a Kiefer-Paris day. I asked him what he wanted for dinner in advance, and he said chicken wings. So I made some really nice wings roasted with garlic and sweet onion, and then Kiefer helped me make a honey-mustard sauce. We also had cucumber salad and coconut-mango-strawberry smoothies. Am I the best big sister?? Preliminary polls suggest that yes, I am the best big sister. Then we took Timber to the dog park and Kiefer practiced catching with his new lacrosse stick, and then we came home and Kiefer asked if we could watch Tangled. And so we did.

I think this would have been really cute if it had been animated for realzies (I mean with pencils and shit) but as it was it was still okay. It seemed like there had been a half-hearted attempt to add in some musical numbers in the style of classic Disney animated motion pictures, but these songs were sporadic, unmemorable, and sort of awkward to sit through.

Rapunzel is such a familiar story I'm surprised it hasn't been interpreted into a movie already, but it has and I just missed it. I suppose the reason for that is that it's sort of an uneventful story. How much can you elaborate on a girl trapped in a tower? It would seem to follow the formula of the older Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, passively waiting for their princes rather than much more dynamic characters like Jasmine, Ariel, and Belle, who are adventurous and gutsy. This movie solves that problem by giving Rapunzel and MacGuffin-sort-of-goal, to see the floating lights in the sky on her birthday, which are in fact lanterns released by her royal Ma and Pa mourning their missing princess. In ths way, while Rapunzel is fearful of the world and utterly naive, she also has a determination which allows her to conquer her conflicts. Flynn Ryder, her roguish love interest, is more often in need of Rapunzel's assistance than the other way around.

But in my opinion, this story omitted the most compelling part of the Rapunzel story, which is the beginning, when the pregnant mother, in the intensity of her hormonal cravings, demands that her husband steal the rapunzel growing the neighbor's garden, and when he is caught, the punishment is that the parents must give up their child to their neighbor, who was a witch. In this way, the parents weren't blameless. They were greedy and so they lost their kid. In this movie, instead of craving the rapunzel plant, the mother is very sick and requires a magic flower hidden by the witch, which she uses for everlasting youth. I think the key is that the witch uses the flower sustainably, while the royal family destroys the flower while using it to save the queen. The princess is born with the remnants of the magic flower, which gives her hair healing properties as long as it is uncut, at which point the power is lost, and so the witch conspires to keep Rapunzel in a tower and never cut her hair, so the witch may continue to use the magic to retain her youth.

So the parents are portrayed as blameless and the witch as greedy, but really they are the same, because if such a magic flower exists, it should be used to help many people, and not just one person. The Queen destroyed the magic flower because she thought her life was more valuable than the witch's or anyone else's, but they don't talk about that. This is a good vs. evil story.

No comments:

Post a Comment