Betsy Speicher

Tangled (2010)

Rate this movie   2 votes

  1. 1. Artistic Merit

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  2. 2. Sense of Life or Personal Value

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4 posts in this topic

An amazing sense-of-life, fantastic songs (still stuck in my head after a week :D) and awesome characters. The things I loved most about this movie were the small thoughful details and perfect expressions that you'd only expect from Disney as well as the fact that, although the movie had very simple characters, it lacked the Naturalistic there's-some-bad-in-all-of-us attitude completely with very strong, assertive, deeply-feeling and alive characters.

Definitely worth a third watch :)

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I second MRZ. Seeing Tangled was a wonderful experience. I would not mind seeing it a second time – if it were not for the fact that I am short on money and my wife does not want me to spend the little that we have on movies.

WARNING! MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS FOLLOW!

I saw many parallels between Tangled and Disney´s previous feature length animated movie, The Princess and the Frog (TPF hereafter), which I also reviewed here, roughly a year ago.

In my opinion, TPF was *slightly* better than Tangled. At least I enjoyed the former a wee bit more than the latter. The reason is that TPF was a more original story and work of art. Tangled was slightly conventional. Incidentally, I did not enjoy that Disney animated film from 1991, The Beauty and the Beast, nearly as much as I enjoyed either TPF or Tangled. Many Objectivists have said that The Beauty and The Beast was Disney´s very best animated movie in “modern” times (i.e. the last few decades). But I felt that the universe of The Beauty and the Beast was rather “dark”, and even a bit malevolent. It was not until the very end that its story became really “happy”, i.e. really benevolent. I think that the reason that I liked the two most recent Disney animated features more is that they portray more thoroughly benevolent universes.

Here a few of the major similarities between Tangled and TPF. Both have a young *woman* as the main protagonist. These two heroines are in a really bad situation at the outset of both of the movies. But both of them are real “troopers”, who fight for their own happiness. And this is the best thing about these two most recent Disney movies – they both come close at least, to openly praising the virtue of selfishness!

Tangled comes closest to doing this explicitly (it is however, not fully *explicit*). The central conflict in the heroine´s soul is this – should she sacrifice her own happiness for her alleged mother (who is not really her mother, and who is deceiving and using her, although the heroine does not discover that until the very end of the movie), or should she give higher priority to the pursuit of her own personal happiness? The movie does very clearly *imply* that the proper thing for her to do would be to refuse to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her alleged mother. And this is made clear even before the heroine discovers her alleged mother´s deception.

However – the climax of the movie, where the hero commits an heroic act, *could* be taken to be an act of altruism. So the climax might possibly contradict and weaken the movie´s main thesis – that “selfishness is good”. The hero´s action in the climax was, however, actually an act of heroic integrity. But since this movie was made by Disney, it is conceivable that the people responsible for that element of the plot had *intended* the action to be taken to be an example of “heroic self-sacrifice”. I will not tell you exactly what happened, but the act which the hero committed would in any normal course of events have led to a life of suffering for the heroine, for whose sake he commits it. (It was nevertheless a selfish act of heroic integrity. But most non-Objectivists would probably not understand that.) But, it turns out that a literal miracle happens and due to that miracle, the hero and the heroine get to live happily ever after as husband and wife nevertheless. Well, the idea that self-sacrifice will in a “normal” universe lead to suffering - but that a miracle (i.e. something supernatural) will somehow make it lead to happiness – is, of course, sheer Christianity. Nevertheless, any intelligent viewer of Tangled will see that the main message is – “you should go for your own personal happiness”. So I think that both Tangled and TPF are signs that the culture is moving in the right direction.

Another similarity in both of Tangled and TPF is that in both of them the main *male* protagonist is a morally flawed, albeit not evil, person at the beginning of the movie – but that he “goes good” towards the end, thanks to the beneficial influence of the heroine, with whom he falls deeply in love. And, of course, both Tangled and TPF have *really* happy endings!

Here are a few differences between the two movies. In TPF, the male protagonist is, at the outset of the film, morally flawed merely because he is an indolent playboy. But he learns to love work from the heroine, who loves to do productive work right from the beginning. In Tangled, the male protagonist is, at the outset of the film, morally flawed because he is a literal criminal. However, he is “merely” a thief. He does not physically assault and injure *people*. And the reason that he has become a thief is (of course) that he was born into poverty and he saw no other way out. Although he does also to be sure, like the “glamour” of living the life of a criminal. For - “It is so exciting!”- is his attitude.

Another difference is the nature of the heroines. In TPF, the heroine is a woman who is *not* in fact a princess, but the male protagonist thinks that she is. In Tangled, it is the other way around. The heroine is the “lost princess” of the kingdom, but neither she nor the male protagonist knows it. In TPF the happy ending of the movie consists of the heroine and the hero getting to marry each other and spend the rest of their days running the restaurant which the heroine had been dreaming of establishing for years. The happy ending of Tangled is more conventional. It is discovered, at the end of the movie, that the heroine is in fact the “lost princess” of the kingdom, whom everyone has been trying to find. And so when the hero marries her, the upshot is that they live happily ever after, as the good king and queen of a happy and grateful kingdom. After all, this is a Disney movie!

TPF stresses the virtues of independence, productivity, selfishness and justice - in that order. While Tangled stresses the virtues of selfishness, independence and integrity - in that order. Although many non-Objectivists may not “get” the last of the virtues in Tangled, since they may think that the hero is being “unselfish” when he commits his heroic deed at the climax. I am glad that *Disney* is making movies nowadays which stress these kinds of virtues. It is a good sign.

Incidentally, I also agree with MRZ that Tangled was very well-done, technically. The animation was very dramatic and skillful.

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WARNING: PLOT SPOILERS FOLLOW

One minor drawback with Tangled is that it contains an implied criticism of private property. For the evil false mother of Rapunzel discovers, in the beginning of the story, a starfall (I guess that iw what it is called) with magic properties - it heals diseases and confers eternal youth on any person who comes into contact with it. But this woman keeps the starfall "for herself", instead of "sharing it" with the entire kingdom. And that makes her immoral, is the clear implication.

I say that this is a *minor* drawback, however, because this anti-private property message is not stressed. And the message that you should go for your own personal happiness, which is the primary message of this movie, is more fundamental.

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