Tangled last night with some friends, and it was a fun, cute movie. The characters were likable, the jokes were funny, and the horse may very well be the most awesome horse in all of cinema (take THAT, Mr. Ed!).
One thing that caught me off guard, however, was the singing. I know it's a Disney movie, but none of the previews I saw gave any hint of musical numbers, and I can't think of any 3D rendered movies I've seen that have been musicals. I would say I was fooled by my own prejudices, but based on the marketing strategies of this movie, I think they were deliberately trying to hide all traces of it being a musical.
Seriously, here are the trailers on YouTube (please note: I consider Trailer 2 to contain a few annoying spoilers):
Trailer 1 - Trailer 2
There are at least three things worth noting about the marketing: one, the focus is on the male lead. Two, there is no evidence of singing. Three, the movie was renamed in order to appeal to a wider demographic (it was originally called Rapunzel, after the true lead of the movie and the original fable).
Now, I actually prefer the title Tangled. It makes it sound more like a fractured fairy tale, which I think is more fun and truer in advertising than Rapunzel. It's inspired by Rapunzel and shares several elements, yes, but it's a different story. This is true of a lot of Disney movies, and there are more extreme cases of differing from the source material than this. As such, I'm all for shaking up the titles a bit.
The reasoning behind it, however, and the reason for the misleading marketing is because they were trying to bring in the young male demographic. The directors claim the name change was for a different reason, but is that sort of thing really up to the directors?
Actually, that's an interesting question. Who ultimately decides what to name these things?
Anyway, this is supposedly the result of The Princess and The Frog not doing as well as hoped, which was disappointing to hear. I admit that the film wasn't a masterpiece, but it was good and deserving of success, and I was hoping for more traditionally animated films. The visuals in Tangled are good and I'm fine with it being 3D rendered, but I fear the financial disappointment of The Princess and The Frog may be the final nail in the coffin of traditional movie animation.
Marketing and feeling lied to aside, the movie really was enjoyable, funny, and Rapunzel was very, very cute. And I don't mean "cute" in a "she's so fine" sort of way. I mean cute as in "fuzzy kitten playing with a ball of yarn". It's not forced, either. The character is just naturally adorable. I know some people won't care about or even notice that sort of thing, but I liked it.
Speaking of which, one of my friends who saw the movie with me, well, HATED this movie. He didn't think there was anything there for adults, and while I don't agree with that sentiment, I do concede that there is a lack of hidden adult humor. A lot of family movies and shows will have subtle jokes that go over the heads of children while making the adults laugh. I personally don't think it's a movie adults cannot enjoy, but I do see how some adults wouldn't care for it. If I may be slightly sexist for a moment, I suspect most of these adults will be male, further emphasizing the misleading marketing.
As for the musical aspect of this musical, it really wasn't that great. I remember a lot of the visuals and the words, but I'm honestly having a lot of difficulty recalling any of the melodies. I usually exit a movie with some of its music stuck in my head, musical or not, but I'm drawing a blank on this one. That's not a good sign when the movie is a musical.
The songs weren't terrible or anything, but I don't think they were to the film's benefit. They also lacked subtlety, somewhat beating the audience over the head with the point of the songs. I believe the film could have pulled off greater subtlety without confusing any (well, most) of the younglings in the audience.
In the end, I did really like this movie, and I'm bound to snag it on DVD when it comes out. The marketing of it was somewhat evil, however, and I think it would've been better without the songs.