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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #557 (Vol. 11, No. 48). This edition is for the week of November 22--28, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"127 Hours"  by Mike Smith
"Tangled" by Mike Smith
Show Review: Renninger's Antique Extravaganza 2010  by ED Tucker
November's Album of the Month: Smashing Pumpkins Teargarden By Kaliedyscope V.2  by Terence Nuzum
Yukio Mishima  by Jason Fetters
Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Walt Disney Pictures     
Starring the voices of: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy
Directed by: Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 40 mins

Before the opening credits we are informed that “Tangled” is the 50th Animated Feature produced by the Walt Disney Company. From the beginning, with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinnochio,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo” and “Bambi” the company maintained a quality not to be matched in motion pictures. After the release of “The Aristocats,” the company’s 20th feature, in 1970, the quality of the films began to fade.

Then came “The Little Mermaid” and the second age of classic Disney animation began. “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and other cemented the company’s reputation as not only being the first, but the best. And film number 50 only confirms that fact.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Rapunzel. Locked in a tower, her hair grows to outrageous lengths and whoever can get her attention can climb up it to visit her. OK, maybe I’m not as familiar with the story as others. But you get the general idea. In “Tangled,” Rapunzel is a young child whose hair has a healing power whenever she sings. This power comes from a special flower that helped keep her mother alive during childbirth. One night the child is kidnapped by Mother Gothel (Murphy), who uses the power in Rapunzel’s hair to battle the effects of old age. A few moments wrapped in her tresses and she is once again young and beautiful. Fast forward to a special day. Rapunzel (Moore) is 18 and she longs to leave the tower she has known as home and see the outside world. Of course, Mother Gothel forbids this. But she doesn’t count on a handsome rogue named Flynn Rider (Levi) to come along and take Rapunzel on the adventure she so desires. Like all great animated films, “Tangled” contains the perfect mixture of story, characters and music. The tale has been altered somewhat to include a strong male character (thus, I’m sure, ensuring that boys will want to see the film as well as girls) as well as a collection of memorable characters. Among them are Pasqual the chameleon and Maximus the horse, both certain to join the pantheon of Disney scene stealers like Abu the Monkey and Timon and Pumba. On the music side, it doesn’t get any better than Alan Menken, who has won an astonishing EIGHT Academy Awards, and seventeen nominations, for his work on Disney films. Working here with lyricist Glenn Slater, who helped adapt “The Little Mermaid” for Broadway after original lyricist Howard Ashman died, the pair have delivered a set of memorable tunes, including “Mother Knows Best,” which Broadway veteran Murphy belts like a showstopper. And speaking of Broadway, mark my words that it won’t be long before “Tangled” is on the Great White Way!

The voice talent is perfectly cast. As Rapunzel, Moore finds a sense of wonderment in every new discovery, while her singing voice is bright and clear. Levi, probably best known as televisions “Chuck,” has a false sense of bravado that quickly dissolves. Think of him as “Beauty and the Beast” character Gaston...only you can’t help but like him. The star here is Murphy, a two-time Tony award winner, who brings a sense of theatre and grandness to the role. Toss in some guest voices like Brad Garrett, Richard Kiel, M.C. Gainey and Jeffrey Tambor and you have the makings of a film that is sure to be remembered 50 animated films from now.

An instant classic, on a scale of zero to four, I give “Tangled”  

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. This week's movie review of "Tangled" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.