Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tangled Review by Samantha Lefrancois

In light of our recent assignment, I decided to review Disney's 50th animated feature, Tangled. This story revolves around our young, long blond haired girl, Rapunzel. Inspired by a children's story, Disney recreated the story using the baseline elements of the story, but in the end changed the majority of the details. Things that stay the same within the story as well as the movie are: Gothel ends up possessing a young girl, to whom is the daughter of a humble man and a sickly woman; there is a golden flower involved, which is eaten by the woman; the young girl is locked in a tower in the middle of the woods; the young girl meets a young man while locked in the tower, which in one way or another gets the young girl out of the tower; and finally, the young girl and young man fall in love and get married, and return to a kingdom. The generic storyline stays the same, but the roles of the characters change vastly.

As far as characters in this movie, we have Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, the King and the Queen, Gothel, Pascal, and Maximus. Rapunzel develops and grows throughout this film. In the beginning she is naive, and is loyal and trusting in her "mother" Gothel. As the story progresses, she begins to question Gothel. She learns to stand up for herself, for her dreams and for what she believes in. She is shy and sweet-hearted throughout the film, which makes her relatable and brings a ray of sunshine to any dim situation. She has this innocence about her, which is portrayed in all her actions, her facial expressions and her body gestures. When she leaves the tower, the viewer is shown a multi-shot scene where Rapunzel is at odds with herself. She debates about doing what she is told is right, and what she believes is right. This scene really shows the range of her emotions, but also reveals a lot about her personality.

Comic relief is found in three characters, Flynn Rider, Maximus, and Pascal. Flynn is the human comic relief for this film. He has several quirky sayings that will make the viewer chuckle. He does develop throughout this movie, where the more time he spends with Rapunzel, the more he begins to find himself. He created this character, Flynn Rider, to mask his identity, to create someone more exciting than himself. He creates a reputation based on thieving, and on his looks and overly pushy charm. His initial interactions with Rapunzel show his character's shallowness when he feels he can convince her with a look, the smolder, or when he thinks his charming smile will fix everything. As he progresses, though, he finds himself with a more natural charm, instead of his forced one, and he becomes more tolerable. He becomes less involved with his looks and his fake reputation and more involved in his relationships and actions.

Maximus and Pascal are the animal comic relief. Maximus is a horse who acts like a dog mixed with a human. He has numerous facial expressions and reactions that make him almost human, such as when he fights with Flynn. He acts more like a dog when searching for Flynn; he sniffs the ground like a bloodhound, and he thumps his foot and wags his tail when Rapunzel pets him. His character isn't natural, but in a fairytale, anything can happen, so his character helps push this movie more towards a fairytale than an actual encounter. Pascal is a chameleon. He is Rapunzel's right hand man. His facial expressions make him relate to a human. His emotions are portrayed effectively through his actions and facial expressions, but also through his colors. When he is scared his turns darker colors, when embarrassed he turns red. The color choices for Pascal reveal a lot about how he is feeling and are incredibly effective.

There is a lot that in reality wouldn't work within this film, as far as events or actions that happen. Flynn, in all honesty, would not be alive halfway through the film. The number of times he would have had his face broken from smashing it into the ground, the skydive into a plank, or his falling off a cliff without receiving a scratch. Things such as these make the story a little less believable, but also make the story more comical.

The lighting and camera shots are highly effective. With the lighting, the animators were able to set moods to each seen. At the festival, it is incredibly bright and colorful, which helps create a happy and lighthearted mood. In contrast, in the forest they use dim lighting and fog to create a scary and foreboding mood.

The animators of this film used a mixture of many different kinds of camera shots. For each scene they incorporated a longer shot, which showed the characters but also some of the background environment. Every scene also included close ups, that help catch the emotion portrayed by each character. Every scene also included a wide shot, which usually occurred at the beginning or halfway through the scene. This shot helps the viewer see the location of each character in relation to the background. Within the first few minutes of the movie, we have seen every main character and every important setting. The entire basis of the story is thrown at us. The rest of the movie is all about Disney's imagination with the details of what occurs. One of the most effective scenes in this movie would be the Snuggly Duckling scene. They used all three kinds of shots within this short segment of time. When Rapunzel first enters, they hold the shot to show the length of her hair. Throughout the singing, the camera bounces between the important characters and the audience, giving the viewer a general idea of who is where and doing what. These shots are effective because of the information being given, but also because of the timing. When Rapunzel whips the branch at one of the Ruffians, the camera is held on the jaw-dropped expressions of the crowd. For me this one shot helps make the scene.

Disney, being Disney, had to make the story their own. They added comic relief to a story that has a lot of tragedy to it. They changed up the roles of the characters, making the 'king's son' a thief, 'the witch' an older, creepy woman, and 'the long haired blond child' a girl with magic hair. They made the characters life like, they resemble humans, or horses, or other animals, but each have their own uniqueness that separates it from a real living being. One such difference that happens to be a Disney trademark is the females within this movie have incredibly large eyes. This helps capture the emotion, but makes them much less life like.

They stretched the story to make it their own; not only is this the story of Rapunzel, but is also the story of Flynn Rider. Although they did this, made this movie into multiple stories to add originality, the ending was highly predictable. From when Rapunzel and Flynn first meet, we can tell that they will fall in love. The death of Flynn is foreshadowed when Gothel grabs the knife. The cutting of the hair is foreshadowed when they emphasize the breaking of the mirror. Lastly, the revival of Flynn has to happen because this story is supposed to end with a happily ever after.

The aesthetics of the movie were great, the camera shots and lighting carefully chosen and highly effective. Some parts of the plot are a little out there, but the overall story is cute and heartwarming. It is definitely an adorable movie, and is one of my favorites!

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