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TANGLED
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Voices: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Audio: DTS 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Walt Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 100 Minutes
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Who's that?

They don't like me.

Who's that?

They don't like me, either.

And who's THAT?

Let's just assume for the moment that EVERYONE in here doesn't like me.

Film ***

Once upon a time, the Walt Disney Studio ruled the animated roost by bringing one classic fairy tale after another to the big screen. They did it better than anyone else, but you couldn't help but wonder if inevitably the string of stories would wither away and cut off the stream of ideas for motion pictures.

Thankfully, we haven't reached that ending yet. With Tangled, Disney took the tale of Rapunzel to imaginative heights with a mix of superior computer animation and an irreverent sense of slapstick fun. It may not invoke the classics like Snow White or Cinderella, but it still was one of the most fun times I've had at the movies in recent years.

I haven't personally succumbed to the recent trend of making nearly every big picture that rolls off the assembly line a 3D offering, but I will say that out of the small handful I've seen, Tangled was by far the best. It made the most inspired and clever use of the technology, and also was both the most beautiful looking and the most fun of the lot.

The problem is, when these movies eventually get shown on 2D home theatres, too much of the intended effect may be lost to the point of distraction. When watching a flat picture and seeing way too many things come close to the camera for no reason...you figure a studio was banking too much on a popular trend to rescue them from a lack of ideas. And frankly, I'm not convinced that 3D TV as it is will last. Frankly, I'm not willing to pay an extra grand for a television just so I have to wear a second pair of glasses over my own just to watch a movie.

I miss a lot of what was fun about Tangled in 3D, but the movie still delivers plenty of lively energy and comedy to remind me of other things I loved about it apart from the technology. Pixar may not have played a role in this computer animated offerings, but this ranks amongst the best that studio has offered. Not in terms of story, but in terms of sheer visual delight.

It's the story of Rapunzel (Moore), a princess who was seized from her royal family by the evil Mother Gothel (Murphy), who shuts her away from the world in a high tower with no way up or down, apart from Rapunzel's gloriously long locks. This hair is in fact the reason the old witch has kept her hidden from the world...it has the power to heal and restore, and keeps the wench looking eternally young.

But such a secret can't stay hidden forever, and when the roguish thief Flynn Ryder (Levi) stumbles upon the girl, he ends up over his head. He's used to girls falling for his charms, but a girl who's never seen the outside world is something else entirely.

He ends up her reluctant escort out of the tower and into the real world, where she can finally see the sights she's dreamed of and even learn the source of the amazing fluttering light display that seems to go off every night on her birthday. But with half the village after Flynn and Mother Gothel after Rapunzel, can it possibly be a happily ever after?

Oh, sure, but the ending isn't the point. The journey there is what makes Tangled so much fun. Filled with zany energy and physical comedy, it's hard not to laugh, and more than easy to forget the story is a bit thin to really try and drive a full-length movie.

In short, it's a true family movie in the sense that kids and parents alike will find plenty of amusement here. It might fall just short of a true Disney classic, but it's the kind of movie you won't mind just relaxing with and enjoying, and yes...letting your hair down.

Video ****

3D or not 3D may be the question, but there's no question about the stunning visual quality of this Blu-ray issue. Sure, I missed some of the amazing effects of the theatrical presentation, but this is still a bold, beautiful, and absolutely perfect high definition digital rendering. The colors are gorgeous, and the zany action and comedy makes the most of 1080p technology. This is a perfectly realized animated world that is very easy to lose yourself in...even in two dimensions.

Audio ****

Likewise, you get plenty of bang for your buck with this thrilling DTS HD audio track. As mentioned, plenty of slapstick comedy and amusing action pieces are here, and they give this uncompressed track plenty of dynamic range as well as near full-time employment for the rear stage. The music is beautifully orchestrated and presented, and the lively dialogue is well-balanced against all of it.

Features **

The extras include some deleted scenes and extended songs, plus some excised storybook openings, and a short making-of featurette hosted by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. There is also a brief look back at past Disney films, plus a bonus DVD disc of the movie.

Summary:

Tangled delivers delightful, lightweight entertainment no matter how many dimensions you see it in. It's also one of the most perfect looking and sounding Blu-rays of the year.

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