TANGLED (Nathan Greno, Byron Howard). 101 minutes. Opens Wednesday (November 24). For venues, trailers and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
The story of Rapunzel doesn't exactly fly off the page. Girl's got long hair, lives in a tower; some guy comes by and she lets him climb up her hair to get with her. Not exactly empowering.
Obviously, the thing to do is turn it into a musical where Rapunzel (a princess born with magic healing hair thanks to her mother's exposure to a supernatural flower) gets snatched away as a baby by a conniving old woman bent on keeping her gift for herself and sealed up in a tower, hidden from her birth parents. But then handsome young rogue Flynn Ryder discovers the tower... whereupon Rapunzel whacks him with a frying pan.
It's that kind of movie. More specifically, it's a fleet, fun and splendidly realized digital fantasy designed to look like a Disneyland attraction come to life. Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard amp up that plastinated CG sheen, an effect that plays strangely well in 3-D.
Mandy Moore and Chuck's Zachary Levi contribute sprightly performances as the voices of Rapunzel and her would-be suitor, with Donna Murphy channelling Patti LuPone as Rapunzel's supremely passive-aggressive captor.
But the best performance is a silent one delivered by the animators of Flynn's nemesis, Maximus, a guardsman's horse clearly modelled on Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive - but funnier, obviously, because he's a horse. Pity they couldn't figure out a way to give him a song.