on 15 April 2011
Immediately, it was obvious to me that it wasn't going to be an exact take on the Rapunzel story as is told in my son Harry's Grimm's Fairy Tales book but luckily he didn't seem to notice. It starts with a sick queen, who needs a special golden flower to heal her, only its being hidden by the evil witch, who later becomes Mother Gothel. Straight away, Harry was drawn in by the story, worrying about the Queen and being pleased when she was healed, and then as the story became more like the Rapuzel he has read about, he was pointing it out such as Rapunzel being locked in the tower, and Mother Gothel shouting "Rapunzel, let down your hair!" when she wants to come into the tower.
The animation is absolutely stunning and exactly what you expect from a Disney movie. It actually reminded me very much of what I call the Disney classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, films which will always have a special place in my heart and that you can enjoy over and over again. The animation is crystal clear, it has a real magical air to it and Rapunzel is the perfect Disney princess that all little girls will love. Harry was rather taken with her purple dress and her long hair actually, saying she looked beautiful, what a charmer my son is! As with all Disney movies, it is also filled with song, with some great numbers between the characters throughout that really filled the film with happiness!
The characters were all perfectly done. Rapunzel was the perfect heroine, she transformed from a quiet and shy young teenager into a confident and fun young woman and that was wonderful to see. It sounds silly but I was so taken with the way the animators handled her hair, there was such a huge amount of it yet it appeared perfectly in every scene and was a real major player, almost as if it deserved a character name of its very own. It was amazing when it took on the magical powers, Harry's chin literally dropped and it did add a special magic to what was already a fantastic movie. She is a very pretty character, as I say a perfect Disney princess and with Mandy Moore's speaking and singing voice, she sounds like one too. Moore does a superb job, sings the songs with real gusto and has that special angelic tone all Disney female characters have when they sing.
Flynn Rider is a great hero. I wasn't too sure about him at first, wondering how his heroic qualities would shine through but they certainly did. He is absolutely hilarious, delivering a lot of the comedic lines as well as his "smouldering" pose which had the audience, in particular us mums in stitches. Some of this humour goes over the little one's heads but even so it is really funny and I loved it. Zachary Levi voices Flynn and I think he does a great job, and lends himself well to Flynn's few musical numbers too. I was really impressed with Donna Murphy who voices Mother Gothel as well, I did expect it to be someone slightly older to be honest but Murphy's voice has a real quality to it which powers through the film, and she delivers the musical numbers of Mother Gothel with such ease, she certainly draws you in and does a great job with her character.
The songs featured are what I would call typical Disney music but they are brilliant. The movie starts almost immediately with a song by Rapunzel entitled 'When Will My life Begin', an uptempo number with Rapunzel trying to see the best in her sheltered life. The musical numbers carry on through the film, some with just Mandy Moore singing, and other ensemble numbers such as "I've Got A Dream". "I See the Light" is the love song of the movie sung between Rapunzel and Fynn towards the end of the movie and is very touching, but I have to say my favourite musical song has to be "Healing Incantation", a short song of only around a minute but it seems to capture the essence and magic of the movie in just that short few seconds, its perfect.
As you can tell, I probably cannot fault this movie at all, and I can't wait until its released on DVD so that Harry and I can enjoy it again. We left the cinema with Harry exclaiming it is new favourite movie (until we're forced to watch Wall-E again for the 1000th time I'm sure!) and he hasn't really stopped talking about it since, from Rapunzel's glowing hair to the evil witch who really captured his attention. I have to say the ending sequences were simply beautiful and there was't a dry eye in the house amongst us mums in the audience for one particular scene at the end, you can't help but shed a tear. There are no words spoken but the musical emotion and that on the animated characters faces speak it all. This film is simply beautiful, from its stunning animation, fun characters, beautiful scenery and wonderful musical numbers to the special message about taking a risk and getting everything you desire at the heart of it. Beautiful, and a must see.