The Nerd Queen Rewatch: Tangled

For the first time in a really long time, my dreams are coming true.

I have a new wonderful boyfriend who was my valentine this year, the Farpoint Convention was spectacular, my all time favorite band Fall Out Boy is back together with their kickass new song, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark“, and I’m on the precipice of getting a new job that pays well.

Now things would get better if Zachary Levi of “Chuck” was at the convention this past weekend. Then again, we got the next best thing: General Beckman from the same show, a.k.a. Bonita Friedericy along with her hilarious husband John Billingsley from Enterprise.

Still, next time I’m going to write a fan letter to Zach Levi telling him how much of a nerd I am and how I desperately want him to come to next year’s convention so I could ask him a few things on being the sexiest celebrity nerd alive and some other nerdy things too.

Also, I want to talk a little about Thor: The Dark World and the Disney movie I just re-viewed, Tangled.

Tangled... the revamped version of Rapunzel.

Tangled… the revamped version of Rapunzel.

The first time I saw it was in the $3 movie theatre near home a few years ago, long before I had ever seen and fell in love with “Chuck”. I thought Tangled was adorable, with the exception of a couple songs. “I’ve Got a Dream” was very flat and the visuals from the dam were pretty cutting edge, but I would have loved to see more. And Mother Gothel should have been a powerful, magical witch.

Everything else was pretty good, though. Then I saw it again last week. Man, was I wrong.

It wasn’t Levi’s finest performance and I knew from her first single “Candy” that Mandy Moore could sing, but couldn’t do much else other than be a nasty (rhymes with witch) in The Princess Diaries. But when I saw the part where Flynn Rider and Rapunzel sang “I See the Light”, I was a goner.

The king of the nerds can SING. Really well. I had to watch that scene over again earlier this afternoon because it was stuck in my head.

Addtitionally, he was perfect for the role because he was still doing “Chuck” while recording his voice for the Disney flick. Flynn (Levi)- real name Eugene Fitzherbert- is an orphan who wants to be a swashbuckling, do-gooder Errol Flynn type of guy, but ends up being a wanted thief. On the run from some palace guards after a big castle heist, Flynn stumbles upon a tall tower that he hides in… until a missing princess, our Rapunzel (Moore), clocks him on the head with a frying pan.

That’s when the story gets good, and it took about eight minutes to get there because there was quite a bit of back story behind it.

Yeah, Mother Gothel is supposed to be the evil witch hoarding Rapunzel for her hair’s anti-aging and healing powers that once saved her real mother’s life. Still the music and animation made Mother Gothel look like a great villain as nasty as Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Especially with a chillingly creepy song, “Mother Knows Best”, even my father thought it was great.

Yes, Alan Menken is a music writing genius. Academy Award nominations for Beauty and the Beast and don’t get me started on the Oscar winning song for Disney’s Enchanted. “Be Our Guest” and “So Close” were all him.

Throughout the film, I couldn’t help pointing out some funny points in each scene as I watched it over and over: the spinning wheel from Sleeping Beauty is in Rapunzel’s tower when she’s asking Mother Gothel to go outside.

Flynn’s picture in The Snuggly Duckling tavern has a big nose like Disney’s Pinocchio.

The thug with the hook singing in “I’ve Got a Dream”- Peter Pan

One of Mother Gothel’s lines, “Oh, stop it, you big lug!” is actually derived from Meg’s line “Get out of there, you big lug, while you still can.” from Hercules.

The boat scene where Flynn and Rapunzel sing “I See the Light” is the “Kiss the Girl” scene from The Little Mermaid.

You get the idea. There’s a bunch more.

The one thing I was really impressed with was the storyline. The writers took the Grimm fairytale seriously, taking the main ideas and leaving out the rest.

The original Rapunzel is taken from Grimms' Fairy Tales. This is a crappy copy I have at home.

The original Rapunzel is taken from Grimms’ Fairy Tales. This is a crappy copy I have at home.

“Rapunzel”, the original title for the movie before Disney changed it, starts with Rapunzel’s mother being extremely greedy, claiming she must have a particular plant called rampion or she’ll die. So her husband makes a bargain with the witch to trade their child-to-be for as much rampion as they’d like. Long after Rapunzel (German for rampion) is born, a prince comes to her tower after hearing her sing.

The prince and Rapunzel conspire to elope until the witch finds out and abandons Rapunzel to live in poverty after cutting her hair. Hearing about this, the prince flings onto a patch of thorns and scratches his eyes out rather than dying, before he finds his love again and she heals his eyes with her tears.

Now that story is just crap. Personally, I love the Disney version better where the prince is not as dramatic or royal and righteous. Still, it has all the main points of the original telling, only Flynn gets into a lot of trouble and ends up just like he said at the very beginning of the film:

“This is the story of how I died.” (but only for a moment, because it’s Disney!)

What really drew me to it was the role reversal through the picture. At last, Disney made an animated feature where the swashbuckler is in distress and the fair maiden is the hero! How cool is that?

Even with its flaws, I can’t help watching it over and over again, laughing, smiling, and noticing how there are a lot of areas that make up for those flaws. Plus, there’s a freaking awesome rock song playing at the end credits, written and performed by my favorite rocker chick, Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

So for Disney’s 50th animated movie, Tangled is an instant classic. Extra kisses and love to Zachary Levi, Alan Menken, the screenwriters and directors for this film… and I’ll be damned if this flick doesn’t steal your heart and soul.


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