I’m usually content to leave these movie reviews up to my friend over at The Creative Juicer. I feel like I’m not qualified to do these since I’m more or less just sharing my opinion and how that’s meant to be useful to you, I don’t know. (I obviously feel completely different about book reviews. ;))
However, this film came out in the theaters before Timotheous had his blogging quill in hand, and as it’s a Disney fairy tale I feel I have some right to be giving my opinion on it.
or what should be known as
I want to start with the negative and move into the positive.
Let’s start with the most blatantly obvious thing; the title. I have mixed feelings about it because while it’s not called Rapunzel, there lives a little flicker of hope that someday they’ll make one in classic Disney style. However, the odds of that happening seem very slim, and as this is the only Disney animation of Rapunzel so far, they might as well call it what it is–Rapunzel. Besides, not once does her hair really get tangled in the movie. It gets caught, rolled up, tripped over, and purposefully wound on things, but never tangled. Makes the title kind of stupid.
My second issue; Mandy Moore. I have nothing against her voice for the role. It’s sweet and expressive and she did an excellent job. But I have a hard time separating her voice from her name and her face. As soon as I heard Rapunzel talk, I knew who was voicing her. And since A Walk To Remember was such a big part of my youth, I kept picturing scenes from that as I watched.
So to that I’d just say, I wish they picked some sweet voiced unknown for the role. Maybe if I watch it enough times I’ll forget what Mandy Moore looks like. :)
*Edit* I have now watched it for the third time and am completely reconciled to the fact that it’s Mandy Moore. In fact, I forgot about it being her. :) In a good way. So yay!
Next… The animation is not like your standard Disney fairy tale. I’m not the sort of person who learns all the technical terms for things, but suffice to say the graphics are more Toy Story than Cinderella. This bothered me a great deal at first, because even though I’d seen all the posters and art and knew it wasn’t the same, I still half-expected something like this:
And instead was met with this:
…which is quite shocking, believe me. And for a while it felt all wrong, like I stepped into an alternate dimension that pretended to be the world of Disney but wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong! It’s very pretty and looks like a painting come to life, and by the end of the first scene I was okay with it being different. It just takes some getting used to.
Another negative; Flynn is kind of a jerk. Yes, it’s funny that he’s trying to get rid of this long-haired nuisance and feeds on her guilt and takes her to horrible places to try to make her give up on the deal, but despite the outward laughter, I twitched a bit inside. A Disney prince (or even thief, as we have Aladdin for proof) never put a princess (or lady) in harm’s way. He was always getting her out of it. Always. I really wish they would have been more traditional with this. It’s sweet that he has a change of heart as they progress, but even Dimitri from Anastasia (which is not a Disney film, I realize) wasn’t dragging Anya into scary places just to make her be quiet. You may argue that such a thing risks a character that’s too perfect. But duh, this is Disney. The male love interests are supposed to be perfect, even if they’re rogues. This is making sense, right? It makes sense to me.
Now what I liked.
I loved the little hints of things from other Disney films. There’s the dandelion that blows in the wind when Rapunzel first comes out of her tower, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. Flynn and Rapunzel almost kiss in a boat, kind of like in The Little Mermaid, and a line in the song “I See The Light” goes “it’s crystal clear.” Aladdin, anyone? It makes you feel that despite the new designs they tried not to stray too far from their roots. (Haha! Roots, get it??)
I also thought Maximus the soldier’s horse was epic and grand. And Pascal was adorable. :) Approval on the animal sidekicks.
Now there are basically four scenes that absolutely made the movie for me. Despite all the little issues I had with the… newfangled… things, these four scenes (and one in particular) were right up there with ye ‘ole treasured Disney classics. (In my humble, unprofessional opinion.)
Firstly, when Rapunzel first leaves the tower. All that scene as well as the bit where she goes through some emotional turmoil. I think every girl can relate to that. And my dad laughed so hard he had to rewind it because he kept missing the next piece of dialogue. :P
As for the song that leads up to that bit, I’ll admit it isn’t long enough or possessing of that old fashioned charm like “Belle,” but Rapunzel’s exuberance from being free at last is catching, and since it’s a reprise the length can be forgiven. The colorful nature of the scene is breathtaking, and the flock of birds was a nice touch. Because it felt like… yes, we’re flying too. In our hearts.
Wow… what Disney films to do me. *coughs* Right… so, moving on.
The kingdom scene. When Rapunzel goes wandering through the kingdom wide-eyed, it reminds me of my favorite Little Mermaid scene, when she’s excitedly pointing everything out to the prince. And everything that follows creates a gem.
This one is so lovely that I must post the scene. :D You know all those little surveys that ask, “What’s your ideal date?” I always scoffed and said, “I couldn’t possibly pick an ideal.” Well… I lied. I picked one. It’s this scene. *happy sigh*
And it makes me feel like I’m not a crazy weirdo for dancing in the middle of Sam’s Club to a sample of Celtic music they had on the little test album button. Hey, my skirt was from Ireland and it was begging to be taken for a whirl!
I’m mixing things up chronologically now so I can save the best for last. I won’t put any spoilers, but I love how they did the end. Well… not the very end–I actually though the last scene could have been better–but the whole confrontation in the tower with the evil villainess. I was so frightened that it would be a let down, and I was thrilled to see what they did as far as the whole hair chopping and magical tears part went. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve never read the Grimm’s version. ;) But yes! It was grand! And wonderful! And I did not feel cheated.
Now to the best scene ever.
No matter what else bugged me, no matter what I thought the movie lacked, the lantern scene in the boat with the song made up for it all. I will admit to having grown teary-eyed. It gave me shivers. The fact that I’m not describing it well proves I feel I won’t do it justice. What I mean is, it’s too lovely for words.
If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t watch this. Because it’ll all be worth it once you get to this part. If you don’t ever plan on seeing the movie, maybe do watch this and you might change your mind. But still probably don’t because it won’t be as meaningful without the build up… and I don’t want dislikers watching my new favorite Disney scene! *sniffles*
I See The Light
Then I was sold. Best movie ever. Let’s buy it. Own it. REWIND SCENE!!
Oh, did you want a little sum up of thoughts? Maybe a rating for this movie?
I’m feeling devious tonight and will refuse. You can take my really long review or have nothing. :P
But one last thought. If anything needed adding, it’s a song for Flynn. Not one about thieving, because we already have Aladdin’s nice little ditty about robbing. But… I don’t know… something actiony and daring. He really should have had a solo. It could have been part of the scene where Maximus chases him, and then the music swells and ends right as he comes across the tower. It’s an idea. :)
Farewell! May your lanterns glow like the starlight!