No one has sanitized more of the Brothers Grimm grim fairytales than Disney.
The latest victim is the dark and twisted 1812 story Rapunzel. It’s now a fun and funny, three-dimensional, animated version groomed to look more like a Broadway musical than a fairytale.
The poor girl’s hair-raising — or should we say, hair-lowering — tale has been altered. Her suitor is not a prince but a highway robber named Flynn Ryder, and she’s a kidnapped princess whose 70-foot hair has miraculous healing powers.
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A new twist on the old tale has a wicked old woman grabbing the girl, pretending to be her mom, locking her in a tower and using her hair to stay young.
Ryder helps the girl escape the tower and they fall in love.
The ultra-talented Mandy Moore voices the lead role and does Rapunzel’s singing.TV’s Chuck star Zachary Levi is the highway robber Ryder, while Donna Murphy gives voice and song to the movie’s villainous Mother Gothel.
The always exceptional Alan Menken’s ( The Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) music is wonderful. Glenn Slater’s lyrics are decent, but what is really missing from Menken’s music is the tongue-tangling and fun lyrics of his late partner, Howard Ashman.
This is straight-ahead Disney, and none of the creative talent really gets to let their hair down. The music and love story are for adults who can easily comb out the few clever “adult” lines.
Animals and the chase scenes provide the slapstick for the kids. Tangled has a blast with a horse named Maximus. He decides that he, and he alone is going to capture the notorious Flynn. Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and screenwriter Dan Fogelman give Maximus horse features and bloodhound mannerisms.
It’s quite clever and very funny — much funnier and more entertaining than Tangled. It also helps the movie get to a cut above most of the rest of this year’s multi-dimensional animated features.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG for some mature themes. It is playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.