Did anyone see the movie Tangled? If you didn’t, I can’t entirely blame you. I felt fairly ambivalent about it while it was in theaters. Then, after hearing some positive word-of-mouth, I decided to give it a chance on DVD. And I was very pleasantly surprised!
Why did I — a self-proclaimed animation nerd — skip this movie in the first place? It all started with hearing the words Disney and CGI in the same film. I grew up loving Disney, but their first attempts at computer animation have looked a little pathetic. (Yes, I know, Pixar is a part of Disney now, blah blah blah, but I still think of them as separate entities.) There is nothing worse than bad CGI, y’know?
Then there was the brouhaha over the title. Originally the project was called Rapunzel, in the tradition of other fairy tale films. When the title was changed to Tangled, there was speculation that the studio was trying to distance the project from other “princess films” in hopes of attracting more boys to the theater. This was followed by a trailer that featured Flynn Rider, the mischievous male lead, more than Rapunzel herself, clearly trying to sell the film as an adventure story. Entertainment Weekly did an interview with the directors in which they denied those reasons for changing the title. Still, I was skeptical of their motives. All my favorite Disney movies have strong heroines, and most of the films are (gasp!) named after their heroine. Plus the title Tangled just had sub-par Disney knockoff written all over it.
Okay, so obviously the debate over the title hit a feminist nerve that turned me off from seeing the movie. This was the pre-Netflix era, so I had to be picky. But now it’s a brand new day of movie open-mindedness. My mom also wanted to see it, so we popped it in on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I think both of us had only moderate expectations, so we were surprised by how much we enjoyed it. Having seen the movie, I understand the directors’ reasons for changing the title. The story really does hinge on the duo of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, rather than a hero who pops in and out at convenient times. And despite being computer animated, the quality felt comparable to the Disney films of my childhood.
This post should explain why I’m very excited for the next Pixar movie Brave. It features Pixar’s first female protagonist (squeal!), and it’s set in mythical Scotland (double squeal!). Pixar and girl power, a perfect blend of things I love. If you want to geek out with me about Brave, check out this article or this teaser trailer from the always informative folks at Entertainment Weekly. Where would I be without them?