The maiden with the never-ending blonde locks will finally make her debut Nov. 24 in theaters, but if you’re scanning your fandango app trying to find “Rapunzel,” you’re out of luck. Disney’s 50th animated feature comes with the awkward title of “Tangled,” reportedly an effort to get as many boys in the seats as girls. Some boys, it’s been reported, stayed away from Disney’s return to traditionally animated musicals, “Princess and the Frog,” a year ago because it appeared “too girly.” That movie deserved a better financial fate at the box office and “Tangled” probably will too. “Tangled,” is old-school Disney with computer generated animation. The humor might veer a little more Dreamworks, like a Shrek, but the songs are pure Disney. That being said, it’s been two weeks since I saw a sneak preview of the movie and I can really only remember two tunes standing out. An “Under the sea” “Be our guest” level masterpiece is missing from the soundtrack. The animation is gorgeous and tries to stay close to the classic Disney look. Rapunzel, it turns out, was stolen as an infant from a King and Queen by a local hag who needs Rapunzel’s hair to stay young. She raises Rapunzel as her own and stores her away in a tower. Rapunzel doesn’t remember her real family. Still, every year on her birthday, she looks out the window to see flying lamps in the sky. The lamps are released by the King and Queen in effort to call their daughter home. Rapunzel desperately needs to see those lamps. Luckily, a charming thief sneaks in the tower where Rapunzel is locked away and kickstarts her on an adventure in the real world. She’s riddled with doubt and guilt. She’s exhilarated and terrified at the same time. Her initial scenes of freedom play out hilariously. Rapunzel’s journey is one of self-worth and ultimately fulfilling for viewers. She’s trying to find the real Rapunzel, as is the rest of the kingdom. Will she get there? Come on, this is a Disney flick. Enjoy the journey.
What you really want to know is, where does it rank against the Disney greats? It’s not “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” or “Lion King” quality. Nor is it on the level of Walt Disney’s original masterpieces. Like “Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” feels like a slight imitation of the aforementioned movies. Think of it as Michael Jordan when he returned to basketball. Disney is trying to find it’s movie musical jumpshot.
Luckily for us, it appears they’re getting close. Right now, they’re hitting layups.