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Ten Word or Less Review: $250 million of average

Did the U.S Government make this movie?   One would figure that a decade of development and a quarter of a billion dollars could produce something worth while, but Disney is apparently now in the business of mimicking a federal government agency.  All that time and money have produced a run of the mill princess exercise that non-Pixar Disney animation has absolutely been terrified of drifting away from for decades.   Because when they do drift away from it the results tend to stink.   Disney has been trying to reassert itself as an animation house beyond the Pixar brand, but why?  If you’ve got the Pixar in your corner let the rest of them play catch up.  Why look inferior in your own house?  I suppose Disney needed some new princesses to put on the merchandise, to reassure stock holders they could still sell the soap, and since Pixar doesn’t seem anxious to stoop into this creeky genre, we have Tangled.  And much like 2009’s princess product The Princess and the Frog, we don’t really need it.

I’m not going to bother regurgitating Tangled’s plot because unlike the title implies it isn’t complicated. If you’ve seen an animated princess feature from the mouse house, ever, then you’ve seen them all, including this one.   Except this time the princess is Rapunzel.  How many millions did that decision cost?   Tangled tries a different bit of window dressing here and there but nothing comes from out of bounds to surprise us.   The songs in particular are horribly mundane and unimaginative.  They feel distinctly like an after thought to the whole process.   The music from Disney’s early 90’s heyday, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, has been thoroughly picked over and redressed in painfully familiar lyrical and tempo clothing.

The only thing that really escalates Tangled a notch above the rest of the pack is it’s luminous animation.  Unquestionably the central reason for it’s inflated budget and endless development, it’s in this aspect that Tangled excels.  People simply wishing to gawk at Disney’s new shiny can do so happily.   While in style it’s pretty much in line with what we’ve come to expect from CGI kiddie flicks, all round angles, the animation has a fluidity and aura to it that’s hard not to appreciate.   All that CGI R&D money practically glows on the screen.  Calling it groundbreaking would be too much, but it’s certainly some notches above your average, undistinguished Dreamwork’s vehicle.

If you have some kiddies driving you nuts and you want to put on a movie which should keep them glued in place for 100 minutes then Tangled will work.  There’s a cute horse and a zen chameleon as sidekicks which they’ll love.   Adults won’t have much to grab onto but it’s grade A animation helps the boring pass in a painless way.

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