Before Christmas, I had the extraordinary good fortune to be taken to the preview screening of Tangled, the newest addition to the Disney Princess collection. Tangled is a retelling of the classic Rapunzel fairy tale, complete with yards of flaxen locks, an indomitable tower and a beloved royal family, mourning the loss of their baby princess.

And it’s wonderful. Truly, completely wonderful. An immediate amend must be made to the Princess canon to include Tangled, where it will rest happily and compare beautifully to the likes of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.

The screening I went to was in 3D (I’m not really up on this stuff, but I assume it will appear in 2D, as well?) and I freely admit my groans on discovering this were unwarranted. I do still intend to launch half-arsed and poorly structured objurgation on the gratuitous nature of 3D, but in this case, it was used to stunning effect in places. This 3D felt much more like the pretty, floaty effects you got in the IMAX films about fish or space or whatever, rather than the violent bang and crash of flying debris and waving monsters (ahem, Dawn Treader).

And where style has slightly overwhelmed substance lately, Tangled delivers relationships, emotion and suspense, while all the while being genuinely funny and endearing.

Rapunzel herself is superb. She is funny, gawky, complex and an utterly credible character, and both relatable and aspirational in equal measure.

Set in an unnamed fairytale kingdom, we are spared the Shrek nonsense of incongruous pop culture references and school disco soundtrack choices, in favour of breeches, flower garlands and the gorgeous music of Alan Menken.

And just as the dodgy soundtrack is missing, so too is that horrible knowing tone that goes with it. Tangled has the magic of Sleeping Beauty, mixed with the richness of Beauty and the Beast, but feels completely relevant. Tangled does not rely on cameos and pastiches to get cheap laughs, rather it reverently borrows from Princess films past and creates something utterly magical.

Advertisements