Yesterday, Disney released the trailer for Tangled, a long-in-the-works adaptation of the classic Rapunzel story. For way longer than I’ve been alive, Disney has been in the business of making archetypal princess movies, but this hairy fairy tale is coming at us with a (French?) twist. After disappointing results for The Princess And The Frog, Disney is targeting boys and using contemporary CG animation with Tangled in hopes that it will join the box office ranks of How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Watch the trailer below to see what I mean.
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Different, right? Gone is the serene, gentle feel of Disney’s hand-drawn classics, instead replaced with swashbuckling action and sly quips from Tangled’s charming thief, Flynn Ryder (voiced by Zachary Levi). We don’t meet our hair-oin, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), until half-way through the clip, though it’s immediately clear upon her arrival that she’s meant to break the Disney mold. Rather than the subtle grace of poised princesses like Snow White and Belle, Rapunzel is a feisty teenager, proficient in tae-kwon-hair-do. The fact that she only has one line in the trailer (“BEST. DAY. EVER!”) further underscores Disney’s desire to attract boys to Tangled.
The animation style also surprised me, as a fan of the old-school Disney flicks. Tangled’s CG-watercolor visuals are gorgeous, and I understand the change – whether we like it or not, CG animation sells at the box office these days, and I can’t knock the Mouse House for wanting Tangled to be a financial success.
Right now, I’m intrigued. I’m sure I’ll climb the golden stair (by which I mean the lit staircase in the movie theater) come Nov. 24, if for no other reason than to listen to Alan Menken’s wonderful compositions, but will Tangled be able to attract larger audiences? Rapunzel certainly has the potential to join Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the ranks of Disney’s iconic princesses. But will boys really want to go see a princess movie? Will general audiences embrace a CG animated princess?
What do you think, Popwatchers? Do you think Tangled looks promising?