28 November 2010

My Thoughts on Tangeld

In the noblest tradtions of the internet, here's my unsolicited opinion of a recent major motion picture: I liked it. (I think the U.S. title and marketing effort is completely stupid, though.)

The movie is a completely unabashed princess musical, but it's well done, emotionally compelling, and the plot makes more sense than the Disney Studio's "Frog" effort.

Some of it's recycled: the stepmother-witch looks like Bernadette Peters' creation of the witch from the stage musical "Into the woods", the characters are very familiar looking Disney fairy-tale "types" (right down to "funny horse #2) and the lead girl is a trapped princess who dreams of the outside world.

But it works. (possible spoilers ahead)
Rapunzel's hair as a magic McGuffin adds a great co-dependency subtext to her relationship with her possessive mother who comes off more as a deeply creepy child-star mom, than simply "Witch type #2".

The sorrowful King and Queen are silent, which is possibly the best decision made on the movie.
They are sincere characters, but really not important to the main story except as plot devices. By having all their scenes in pantomime they're treated as "too important to talk", giving them gravitas and status at the same time saving the audience the trouble of sitting through unnecessary speaking roles.

To me this proves that genre doesn't denote quality. As I see it: genre(as far as marketing goes) is little more than a list of settings and situations. Castles mean "fairy tale". Six shooters mean "western". But the requirements of genre say nothing about the stuff that really matters in a story like compelling characters, a well-written scenario or if the audience cares.


  1. That's a good point about genre, and one which I sometimes have trouble keeping in mind. I admit that I sort of dismissed this movie as "looking like only a little girl would like it," and since I'm not a little girl, I haven't seen it. But then, I have been watch A LOT of Martha Speaks, so you can draw your own conclusions from that.

  2. Lets put it this way. I consider "This is Spinal Tap" to be a musical comedy: it has music and it has comedy.
    Also, I have difficulty deciding if "the Godfather" counts as a Gangster Movie or a Family Film.
    So when talking about excellence in story, genre is useless as an analytic tool.

  3. Now that I've finally seen it I can read this post and have an opinion. I liked it too. I think the story was well done, and the story being old and reused a bunch of times didn't bother me because they used it well and made it new. The comedy and animation were great I thought, but it also had heart (or as you say, it made the audience care). So yea, overall, I had fun.