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As a kid who grew up on a staple of Disney movies, it was quite heartbreaking when the animation studio decided to move on to 3D after a bunch of rather forgettable 2D features. I was born into a time when Disney had a number of memorable movies to its credit: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast followed by Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules and Mulan.

Beauty and the Beast

After those movies, the last few years of Disney’s 2D animation included features such as Tarzan, Atlantis, Lilo and Stitch and Treasure Planet – which were good, but fell short of Disney greatness. I can’t say the same for The Emperor’s New Groove (because I actually liked it) and Brother Bear (because I haven’t been able to watch it yet).

Disney’s collaboration with Pixar proved to be very profitable artistically as well as financially – and of course I’m a big Pixar fan so I love the 3D movies that have been made by Pixar. I wouldn’t say the same for only Disney 3D movies like Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons though. Bolt however, was a big improvement and it was actually quite good.

Just a few years ago, Disney said it would be making 2D features every 2-3 years. Then came the highly anticipated The Princess and the Frog, which had stunning animation and a good storyline – however it did not exactly bring the magic of Disney back to the screen. The music needed to be catchier – the characters needed more time to fall in love and the climax of the story seemed absolutely rushed. It was a good effort though.

After a string of disappointments, you do not really expect that a 3D movie will ever bring you a step closer to your childhood. I watched the trailer for Tangled and was excited, but the new Disney Channel-ish music put me off and I thought the film would end up being another disaster. I’m so glad I was wrong when the second trailer was released.

I went to watch Tangled in the theatre with my sister, who had even fewer hopes than me regarding this film. We sat and really enjoyed the film. Though the animation was not 2D, it definitely left us with the magical feeling that previous Disney films always left you with.

For starters I think this is one of the funniest Disney princess films ever. Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) is a great character that you grow to love (yeah and her hair is awesome too). A petty thief who ends up in Rapunzel’s secluded tower of a home named Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) is another very lovable (and might I say handsome) character. The chemistry between the lead pair is great.

The other characters such as Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), the thugs, Rapunzel’s sidekick chameleon Pascal, and Maximus the palace horse are great additions. Firstly the story itself, though quite different from the original Grimm brothers’ fairytale, is quite well thought out.

Rapunzel, the daughter of the king and queen of the land, is gifted with magical hair after her sick mother drinks the contents of a magical healing flower. Mother Gothel, a witch, who used to sing incantation to the flower to keep herself youthful discovers that the same properties lie in Rapunzel’s hair. She goes into the palace chamber and tries to cut part of Rapunzel’s hair to take with her, but once that happens, the cut hair loses its magical properties. Therefore Mother Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel when she is only a baby. Raising her as her own daughter in a tower far away, Mother Gothel uses Rapunzel’s hair to keep her forever young.

Rapunzel thinks of Mother Gothel as her own parent and asks her if she can go see the ‘floating lights’ on her birthday, which is day after she makes the request. She is refused from doing that. However, her plans are changed when a dashing young…erm…thief ends up in her tower trying to escape palace guards. She ties him up and makes a deal with him. She tells him that she will give him his satchel (which contains her own crown that Flynn stole from the palace) once he takes her to see the floating lights the next day and brings her back safely home.

What follows is a compelling and entertaining tale filled with humour, lovely characters, gorgeous (really gorgeous) animation and some very memorable songs. If you look closely, many scenes will be reminiscent of previous Disney films. The way Rapunzel does her chores in the tower remind you of the work song in Cinderella. The scene with Rapunzel and Flynn singing on a boat with a beautiful backdrop is very similar to The Little Mermaid’s ‘Kiss the Girl’. Also, the ending reminds me of Beauty and the Beast in many ways. More than being a rip off of those amazing films, Tangled pays homage to some of Disney’s best movies.

The animation is truly spectacular. It is a 3D movie but it does not fully feel like one as Disney made the artistic choice of having a paintbrush-like look. Some sequences are absolutely breathtaking.

It was great to see Alan Menken back and composing the awesome music for this film. I felt so nice to hear all the signature Disney-ish songs that were there in the film – my favourite being the ‘Healing Incantation’ and ‘I See the Light’. Menken has composed the scores and songs for so many Disney films and it would have been a shame if he hadn’t come back for Tangled.

Great direction by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and I think the voice artists were very good choices. I like Mandy Moore’s singing voice so I think I couldn’t have thought of a better person to ‘play’ Rapunzel.

I was also glad that somehow our hero did not turn out to be a swashbuckling lad who kills the villain in the end. I’m tired of seeing female characters that can’t defend themselves.

Enough said – if you are a big Disney fan – then please go and watch this movie if you already haven’t. I can surely say I wasn’t disappointed. In fact this is the happiest I’ve been with a Disney film in years!

Disney redeemed? For now – definitely.