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Walt Disney released their first animated classic over seventy years ago, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves hitting the screen in 1937. Released at the end of January, Tangled is quite possibly going to be Disney’s last fairytale film. Ed Catmull, Pixar Animation Studios Chief who oversees much of the animation at Disney, believes that the genre has run its course and stated that Disney have no plans to release a fairytale or musical for the foreseeable future.
Disney’s last fairytale, Tangled, takes its place 50th animated classic, and it certainly deserves the title. Based loosely around the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Tangled tells the story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a young princess who has been locked away in a tower by the wicked woman, Gothel. The elderly woman, Gothel, finds a magical flower which can cure the sick and injured, thus having the ability to make her young again. When the queen of the nearby kingdom becomes ill during labour, the palace guards find the flower and make it into a broth which heals her. The queen gives birth to a girl, Rapunzel, whose hair possesses the healing abilities of the mysterious flower until it is cut. Gothel learns of this and kidnaps the child, locking her away in a tower and raising Rapunzel as her own.
Every year, on Rapunzel’s birthday, the King and Queen release lanterns in the sky in hope that she will see them and return. Entirely unaware of this, Rapunzel yearns to discover the mystery of the magical “floating lights” that she witnesses from her window every year on her birthday. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she desires to leave her tower, something that she has never done before. When her wish is refused by Gothel, Rapunzel escapes with the help of wanted man, Flynn Rider, who is wonderfully voiced by Chuck’s Zachery Levi.
Tangled is an enjoyable, heart warming and visually stunning animated film. Ranking at the second most expensive film ever made, and the most expensive animated film, you wouldn’t expect any less; especially since the film was produced by the wonderful John Lasseter. Whilst the songs are a little disappointing, more Miley Cyrus than classic Disney, they’re held up by the wonderfully animated characters. With no surprise, the non-speaking animal characters of Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the palace horse steal every scene. These lovable creatures provide genuine laugh-out-loud moments, something that’s perhaps been missing from recent Disney flicks such as The Princess and the Frog.
With Tangled taking the place of the 50th animated classic in the Disney canon, this has caused much debate over the ranking of films, which has been published by many websites and magazines. Total Film rank 1991’s Beauty and the Beast at number one with older classics such as The Jungle Book (1967), Bambi (1942) and Snow White (1937) close behind. My personal favourite Disney flick will always be The Lion King. Released in 1994, it’s odd to think that I was only five years old at the time and that my close second, The Little Mermaid (1989), was only released the year I was born. In fact, most Disney films in the classics canon hit the screens way before many of us here at Lancaster University were even born. As a film student, I’m trained to despise Disney and everything that it stands for, but as hard as I try, I can’t fall out of love with it. So, whatever Disney’s next move is, I can’t wait.