Film #103: Tangled (2010)

360_tangled_1123directors: Nathan Greno & Brian Howard
length: 100 minutes
language: English
watched on: 20 November 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve watched any Disney. I saw photos and gifs from this movie floating around on places like Tumblr and realized that I’d missed it entirely and should maybe catch up. I actually watched it the same day as Hot Fuzz, but that just shows how slow I’ve been with updating this blog!

Tangled follows the story of Rapunzel, one of the traditional fairy tale princesses from the likes of the Grimm Brothers that Disney somehow managed to miss out. I can’t remember the details of the traditional Rapunzel story, apart from the long hair, to be honest, but in this particular version she’s stolen away from the king and queen by a witch, because her hair is imbued with the power of a magic flower the witch had been using to keep herself permanently young (which also means it can never be cut lest it lose that power), and then a lovable rogue character (I’ve forgotten his name) comes and climbs into her bedroom thinking it’d be a sweet hiding place, and she knocks him out and then convinces him to take her to the city.

The hair is Rapunzel’s defining feature, and it was very interesting to finally see it portrayed on film at the length it would be. I was surprised she manages to keep it in such good shape with comparatively little maintenance, seeing as my own hair tangles so easily after just one night in bed and I’m always having to comb it in the morning. Rapunzel seems to be able to tie things up and trail it around her tower room without tangling it up, which is ironic considering the title.

The movie plays very much like an early Disney movie, with musical numbers (none of which were memorable enough for me), snarky animal characters (the horse is great), and magical kingdoms. The only difference is that it’s computer animation instead of painted cells. It makes a change from Pixar, in any case, which is also computer animation but doesn’t tend to go for the most Disney of the Disney aspects. This one is true to its roots and a return to form for Disney.

I was surprised by the ending, which had a kind of twist right before the end – it gave the film a kind of finality which I wasn’t expecting out of it, as up until that point it had been very predictable. I also liked the fact that Rapunzel’s boyfriend wasn’t actually a prince. It’s difficult for me to compare these aspects to other Disney movies, since I haven’t watched most of them since I was a child (and I’m only assuming that I watched some of them fully because I can’t actually remember), but I do remember the princes in some of the movies being quite single-purpose and one-dimensional. The other thing I liked was the bar full of warriors who all turn out to have girly hobbies.

The plot felt a bit strung-together sometimes, especially the episodic nature of the journey – in particular, the bar full of warriors seemed to come out of nowhere. I’d have a hard time now telling what happened in what order (the standard problem with road movies). Also I thought the little green thing that sits on Rapunzel’s shoulder was perhaps unnecessary, although he fulfills a Disney archetype. I don’t know what he is or why he is.

I would recommend it overall, as it’s a good Disney movie and fulfills the expectations therein very well. However, I felt like it didn’t cover any new ground, just added another story to their repertoire.

Film #102: Hot Fuzz (2007)

hotfuzz2director: Edgar Wright
language: English
length: 116 minutes
watched on: 20 November

I thought I would have already reviewed this film on this blog, but it turns out the last time I watched it was just over three years ago, longer than I thought. But when I watched it that time I was actually half-asleep, and I last properly, fully watched it when it came out six years ago. I remember laughing more when I saw it then than now – perhaps it was the atmosphere, being in a cinema versus being in my room, or perhaps it was the freshness of the jokes.

In any case, it was really good to get a refresher of the movie, which has a lot of little gags and references throughout. Compared to the previous times I’ve watched it, I noticed a lot more of the character development that goes on in the two characters – basically Simon Pegg and Nick Frost gradually get more and more like each other during the course of the movie, with Pegg’s character starting to use more cheesy clichés, and Frost’s character starting to use the correct police vocabulary.

I think it’s the high point of the “Cornetto Trilogy” – a fact I mentioned in the previous review of “The World’s End” (which spurred me into rewatching this one). I guess I should now complete my rewatching of the whole series and do “Shaun of the Dead”, which I can remember even less well. It also focuses on small-town England and involves a creepy conspiracy, but does it more effectively than its successor.

One of my favourite things about this movie is how every little plot point and detail comes back at the climax to form one kind of gag or device that the characters use. I think it just shows that the writing and the direction are really strong.

I don’t have much bad to say about this film, to be honest. I can’t honestly think of anything right now. I’m sure I will later, though: that’s how it always happens. Therefore I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.