“Tangled”

 
“Tangled” is the animated adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale “Rapunzel.”  It’s a really strong production, with great singing voices, a credible plot, a big helping of humor, and a romance to root for, besides.
Mandy Moore is the voice of Rapunzel, whose incredibly long, lustrous golden locks have a magical quality to them:  a kind of fountain of youth for whoever touches them.  The old hag Gothel (the voice of Donna Murphy) steals the princess Rapunzel from her crib in the palace, hides her away in a stair-less tower in the forest, and pretends to be her Mother.  Then, all during her childhood years, vain Mother Gothel, desperate to retain her borrowed beauty, solemnly warns Rapunzel about the dangers of the outside world, and that she must never go out there.  Only Mother Gothel goes out for provisions, let down by Rapunzel’s very long hair, and then, when she returns, calls for Rapunzel to let down her hair again so she can climb back up.  That’s it.  That’s Rapunzel’s life.  She seems to have a sweet disposition, considering that she’s been locked up all her life and does nothing all day but clean and scrub the inside of the living quarters atop the tower.  (Yes, this part sounds a little like Cinderella under the thumb of her cruel stepmother.)  But Rapunzel is now turning 18, and starting to get insistently curious about “the outside world,” even if the only Mom she has ever known does insist it’s too dangerous for her.
Now we sort of shift over to “Sleeping Beauty,” where the hidden-away princess needs only a kiss from the handsome prince to rescue her.  Enter Flynn Ryder (the voice of Zachary Levi), a charming thief (think “Aladdin”) who stumbles upon the tower in the forest, and provides Rapunzel with the first person she’s ever encountered in her life other than the selfish and mean-spirited Mother Gothel.
Naturally, at first, they dislike and mistrust each other.  But he does help her escape from her tower-prison, and they have many adventures together before they finally approach the castle which feels to her strangely like home.  And, of course, along the way, they fall in love.  She makes him want to turn his life around, and he gives her the courage to declare her independence, where, of course, she will discover her true identity.
It’s a heart-warming tale, alternately dramatic and humorous, and suitable for any age.  This one is a winner.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas