Disney's latest animated film, Tangled, a take on the Rapunzel story, hits theatres today. It's the Mouse House's 50th animated feature and the last fairy tale in its foreseeable future, the company says. While last year's The Princess and the Frog garnered critical acclaim, analysts say its relatively small box-office return reflected an overly narrow audience: Little girls. In response, Disney altered its tack with the new film, changing the title from Rapunzel to Tangled and aggressively marketing the movie, and its "swashbuckling male costar," Flynn Rider, to boys, despite its princess-fairy-tale roots. Will multiplex audiences respond? (Watch the trailer for Tangled)
Definitely — it has something for everyone: Tangled is "an action-adventure story that will appeal equally to boys and girls" says Sean P. Means in The Salt Lake Tribune. With "fast-paced action" and songs from Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), Tangled is Disney's "first great cross-generational, cross-gender film... a princess story that will enthrall the girls, an adventure tale to entertain the boys, all with enough good humor to make anybody laugh."
"Hair apparent: Tangled carries on Disney tradition"
I'm not so sure: In Tangled, Rapunzel takes the male lead, Flynn, prisoner and insists he help her escape. "This snappy role reversal may or may not appeal to young men," says Tom Charity at CNN. "Getting repeatedly clunked on the head with a kitchen utensil isn't every boy's fantasy." But it does make for "some classic knockabout screwball comedy and an exciting, vertiginous escape sequence." And the film's most romantic sequence is tempered by the "single most effective use of 3-D since Avatar."
"Tangled is old, yet new"
There's more for boys than girls: Disney may have overcompensated to appeal to boys, says K.J. Dell'Antonia at Slate. "Why can't Rapunzel tell her own story?" Tangled's narrator is the male lead, and every important character is male, save for Rapunzel and the evil witch. Still, the film is "funny," "clever," and "a really good story."
"Disney's Tangled: Fun, but not feminist"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- Hey, grammar nerds! Stop freaking out about 'alot.'
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- The keys to succeeding with a job recruiter
Subscribe to the Week