I’ve been tough on animation over the last year. I admit it, I have high expectations and little has come close to meeting them in this genre in the mainstream for a while (Despicable Me, Megamind, Legends of the Guardians).
Tangled comes close… I would probably watch it again, grudgingly. There are some great moments and they didn’t shy away from some darker aspects of life and people. And, the animal companions don’t talk! OK, the horse is a bit too dog-like and a bit to anthropomorphized, but otherwise was a horse. The chameleon was surprisingly emotive and amusing … and rather long-lived, but you can logic that one out for yourself.
More often than not, they treated it like a movie, allowing for a few brilliant moments, such as Rapunzel’s first moments out of the tower and the denouement, which probably saved the movie for me as a whole. These are a wonderful departure from the treacly sweet stuff that has been coming out of late. They even reference other films for fun, as varied as Sleeping Beauty to Indian Jones.
On the other hand, the story itself reverts to silliness in a bad way a little too often and the plot has holes and leaps and issues, even while managing some clever through-lines. So what you end up with is an infantilized 18 year old girl, acting like a child (mostly), traipsing through a dangerous world but rarely ever in real danger. And, of course, who sings. In other words, you get a kid’s story with just enough moments for the adults to keep them interested. On a less annoying, but obvious note, watching it in 2D, you could see the 3D moments that had been created just for that purpose. Nothing awful, but I noticed, which means I was pulled out of the story.
This isn’t an Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Iron Giant, or even a Chicken Run. It’s just gorgeous animation and some fun twists on an old tale. Far from a classic, it is still better than most I’ve seen recently in this category.