A Tangled Mess
Walt Disney Animation Studios turns out a fairy-tale remake that carries a lot of baggage:
I recently went to see Disney’s newest animated film “Tangled.” A creative take on the fairy-tale Repunzel, this 3D movie was dazzling and a beautifully crafted 3D adventure. It also had a delightful musical score done by Disney veteran Alan Meinken, who has written songs and scores for many Disney movies and for Broadway. But the catch (as with most of the latest Disney films) came with the story itself.
The original fairy-tale told a story of a poor farmer who was caught stealing from a witch, who for restitution demanded that man give her his soon-to-be-born child. It’s a girl. The witch comes and takes the infant and locks her in a tower where she is held captive against her will (and apparently never has a hair-cut) until Prince Charming shows up to rescue her from the witch.
That is not the story of “Tangled.”
In this version of the story there is no poor farmer, there is no witch and there is no Prince Charming. Instead we are given a very different story with dramatically different conclusions. Why all this fuss over a fairy-tale spin-off? Just wait, you’ll see. In the opening scene of the movie, we see that a king and queen are expecting a child. But the queen is fragile, sick and may die before the birth. So the king sends for a magical flower to be brought and fed to the queen. This flower has a special power to keep people alive. It works, and the queen gives birth to a baby girl, whose hair has taken on the magic properties of the flower. The kingdom rejoices until a sinister woman, Mother Gothel, comes and steals the child so that she can stay young and immortal. The king, (and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men,) search and search but cannot find her, because the woman has hidden her in a tower that no one but she can find. And so she raises Repunzel, trying to keep her thoughts away from the outside world. Apart form the fact that we know the woman to be “wicked”, she and Repunzel are, for all intents and purposes, mother and daughter. Repunzel longs to leave home, and to be free to do whatever she wants – to discover who she really is (because of course “self-discovery” is what gives meaning to life, right?) But her “mother” urges her to stay home where it’s safe. The world, she says, is a dark and evil place, and after all, she sings, “mother knows best”. With the help of a self-absorbed thief, who somehow finds the tower that no one else could find, Repunzel escapes from the captivity of home and soon discovers all that she was missing. The world is not so bad. Even a den of thieves, law-breakers and crooks turns out to be a great place for a show-stopping musical number about dreams. These guys aren’t bad, their circumstances drove them to where they are, the only difference between these guys and Mother Gothel and her thugs are that the former are holding Repunzel back from her dreams and the others are facilitating them. In the end, Repunzel’s dreams are only made possible by standing up to her manipulating surrogate mother and defying her will. Only after she gets away from her “parent” is a happily ever after possible. Sure, you might say, but Mother Gothel was evil! Well, yes but what are the implications of the story? What the film depicts, even if it’s in a distorted way, is a mother-daughter relationship. From now on whenever a parent is doing something that a child doesn’t like (even if it is for their own good) the child will think back to the parent/child interactions they’ve seen in the “family-friendly” realm of Disney. “Does Mother really know best – should honor her – or do I follow my dreams?” That seed of doubt is easily planted in impressionable children. Defiance and rebellion against parents and authority, radical feminism, the Marxist idea of leaving home for a more exciting life (a clever ploy to break down the family unit) and the sentimental exhortation to “follow your heart”, are all common refrains for Disney. We see it in “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dam”, “Aladdin”, “Pocahontas” “Mulan”, “Enchanted” to name only a few. Humanism and Marxism are the paradigm and mantra of Disney today, juxtaposed to the traditional, historic-American, family values of Disney long past.
This movie, which could have been a funny and enjoyable story, suffers from a misconstrued idea of the nature of man, and a subtle (but ever-present) hatred of the family, ailments that have plagued Disney films since the ‘08s. Please, if you do take your children to see this film, don’t let them be indoctrinated by the sugarcoated poison of Disney’s present worldview. (Even the older films are often inconsistent when it comes to worldview.) Parents play a crucial role in protecting and preparing their children for life. The Marxist flood pouring out of Hollywood is aimed straight for the family. We must not let them wash it away!
For all these reasons, and more, you may find “Tangled” a bit of a mess.
Reviewed by: Isaac R. Arthur, filmmaker and student at Blue Banner Media
Click here to go back to “Movie Reviews”.