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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Tangled

By
John P. McCarthy
Source: Catholic News Service


Bad hair day: Animated characters are shown in a scene from Disney's "Tangled."
After "Shrek," it's easy to forget that filmmakers once played fairy tales straight. Walt Disney, the studio synonymous with such traditional interpretations, offers another enjoyable example in its 50th full-length animated release.

Largely irony-free and lacking the snarky quality of many movies aimed at kids, "Tangled" (Disney) is a throwback Uncle Walt would recognize and applaud. So will families.

Fortunately, that doesn't mean it's static or staid. Enough contemporary touches, in addition to computer-generated animation (projected in your choice of 3-D or 2-D), ensure "Tangled" is an equally dynamic and wholesome vehicle for its "love conquers all" theme.

Following the outlines of the German folk tale Rapunzel, popularized by the Brothers Grimm, the plot is a melange of elements recognizable from "Snow White," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty." The influence of the "Shrek" franchise is also discernible, without any adverse effects.

A child born to a king and queen possesses golden locks with healing properties, magic for which the infant is kidnapped by the evil crone Mother Gothel (voice of Donna Murphy). In a secluded tower, Gothel raises Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore) as her daughter, using her captive's hair to restore her own youth while never letting the girl step outside her prison.

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Rapunzel, though unaware of her true identity, is desperate to escape so she might experience a display of floating lanterns that her parents stage every year to commemorate their lost princess.

Adopting the guise of an overprotective parent, Gothel refuses. But then a boastful young thief, Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi), chances upon the tower after robbing the palace.

With the help of her versatile mane, Rapunzel persuades him to accompany her into the world she's never known and has been taught to fear.

Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard blend lighthearted romance, vigorous action sequences, and a few rather tepid songs by veteran composer Alan Menken into a pleasant whole. The film's merely serviceable voice work and visuals may keep it from the ranks of animated classics, but the overall package is a good introduction to the Disney formula.

Along with mild swashbuckling violence, the film does include many slapstick pratfalls and cartoon ouches courtesy of our frying-pan- and hair-wielding heroine. Since sun worship seems to be the prevailing cult in Rapunzel's fictional realm, moreover, there's a distinct but inoffensive pagan undertone to the proceedings.

Finally, those shepherding preschoolers should anticipate a few tears during a potentially upsetting climactic scene. Rest assured, however, that a happily-ever-after wrap-up is quickly forthcoming.

The potential of that earlier brief interlude to elicit such strong emotional reactions is proof of the degree to which "Tangled" succeeds.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
John P. McCarthy is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Wolfgang of Regensburg: Wolfgang was born in Swabia, Germany, and was educated at a school located at the abbey of Reichenau. There he encountered Henry, a young noble who went on to become Archbishop of Trier. Meanwhile, Wolfgang remained in close contact with the archbishop, teaching in his cathedral school and supporting his efforts to reform the clergy. 
<p>At the death of the archbishop, Wolfgang chose to become a Benedictine monk and moved to an abbey in Einsiedeln, now part of Switzerland. Ordained a priest, he was appointed director of the monastery school there. Later he was sent to Hungary as a missionary, though his zeal and good will yielded limited results. </p><p>Emperor Otto II appointed him Bishop of Regensburg near Munich. He immediately initiated reform of the clergy and of religious life, preaching with vigor and effectiveness and always demonstrating special concern for the poor. He wore the habit of a monk and lived an austere life. </p><p>The draw to monastic life never left him, including the desire for a life of solitude. At one point he left his diocese so that he could devote himself to prayer, but his responsibilities as bishop called him back. </p><p>In 994 Wolfgang became ill while on a journey; he died in Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052. His feast day is celebrated widely in much of central Europe. </p> American Catholic Blog Keep your gaze always on our most beloved Jesus, asking him in the depths of his heart what he desires for you, and never deny him anything even if it means going strongly against the grain for you. –Blessed Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

 
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