Review in a Hurry: A thoroughly delightful, fast-paced tale about a young lady finding adventure and love. In fact, Tangled handles the themes of female independence and l'amour better than most romantic comedies—animated or otherwise.
The Bigger Picture: There's nothing here that hasn't been in the Disney playbook for years: Fairy-tale inspiration, bad-boy love interest, adorable animal sidekick, and evil stepmother.
By now, with every storyline pretty much taken, it's not the source material that allows a movie to shine—it's the execution. And Tangled is one of the best-executed animated films in years.
The story is exceedingly simple: Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) has been locked up for 18 years by Mother Gothel (the full-throated, pitch-perfect Donna Murphy), who uses Rapunzel's magic hair to keep her young—Botox without all those nasty injections, if you will.
A chance encounter with most-wanted rogue Flynn (Chuck's Zachary Levi) leads to her first steps outside her tall, tower prison—and despite what has to be a raging Vitamin–D deficiency, our girl slips between one tight spot and rock-and-a-hard-place after another with the pro of an action hero.
Action is what Tangled does best—the chase scenes are outstanding. Taking full advantage of the creative freedom of animation, the action sequences are their own stand-alone set pieces, with freely swooping cameras and dynamic choreography. So well done, in fact, you tend to forget you're not watching real performers.
Rapunzel's journey to find freedom seems even more real—her sense of self evolves organically, with enlightening, exciting obstacles along the way. No forced "You Go Girl" mantras, or "too busy for love" nonsense—ironic, isn't it, that a fairy tale sings more to a modern young woman's heart than the clumsy attempts by live-action cinema.
The 180—a Second Opinion: The 3-D offers some oohs and aahs, but overall seems completely unnecessary. And while this may just be a complaint for the nearsighted, it's no fun wearing those clunky shades over your glasses all for just one or two cool shots.