"Tangled" Looks and Feels Great, Despite Short Sell From Disney
"Great," sighs the wicked witch in Tangled, a CG-animated spin on the Rapunzel story, "now I'm the bad guy." Mother Gothel, the frizzy-haired, sharp-featured enchantress with the inimitable voice of Donna Murphy, is Disney's first villainess whose chief crime is being an underminer, and the heroine of Disney's 50th animated film its first codependent princess. Tween girls may have some tough questions for their moms on the way out of the funny, brassy Tangled: "Hey, how come Mother Gothel said the same things about Rapunzel's weight that you say to me?" Those moms might answer as Murphy does in her finest number, "Mother Knows Best," a Mama Rose-worthy tune in which the witch — who kidnapped the magical Rapunzel as a toddler so that her long blond hair might keep Gothel forever young — explains all the reasons why Rapunzel doesn't want to leave the tower on her 18th birthday. Of course, when Rapunzel finally does get out — in the company of good-hearted thief Flynn — she's a mess. Tangled is unusually attuned to the emotional frequencies of mothers and daughters, considering that, like basically every Disney/Pixar feature, its writer and directors are a bunch of dudes. When it strays from its filial drama, it's mostly unsurprising, though not without its charms. Rapunzel and Flynn are just as vanilla as their respective voice actors — Mandy Moore and Chuck's Zachary Levi. The movie's real accomplishments are in its look, which was generated inside a computer but is as warm and rich as a painting.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.