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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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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.

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