Dazzling delight for young and old in classic Disney animation

2011-02-07 00:00

HOORAY for classic Disney! The studio’s animated take on an old favourite is a dazzling delight.

This is Disney doing what Disney does best: a swashbuckling tale with all the elements of great family entertainment: action, comedy, pathos, romance, a wonderful soundtrack, subtle adult humour and a strong moral message.

The starting point is the Brothers Grimm fairy tale that children all over the world are familiar with: the story of Rapunzel, the girl locked up in a tower by a wicked crone.

The witch-like cry: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” has echoed down generations of story telling, but that is where the association with the traditional fairy tale ends.

From that point the movie takes off on its own wacky and wonderful journey. On the run from palace guards and his cronies whom he has double-crossed, Flynn Rider, a bandit, seeks shelter in Rapunzel’s tower.

Although he thinks he is safe, and he is, from his pursuers at least, his troubles have only just begun.

Those troubles are wrapped up in the lithe form of green-eyed “Blondie” on the eve of her 18th birthday.

The pair set off on a quest for Rapunzel to fulfil her dream.

Their “road trip”, as Flynn calls it, is filled with all the ingredients of a great adventure: danger, slapstick comedy, fantastic stunts and plenty of entertaining action.

On the brink of living out her dream, Rapunzel muses: “What if my dream isn’t everything I hope it will be? But also, what if it is?”

This reflection may go over the heads of most children, but it’s the kind of profound insight we saw in Shrek III that keeps the adults engaged.

Like a medieval morality tale, great Disney classics play out the nuances of the battle between good and evil, teaching sound moral lessons in the process: promises are made to be kept, respect everyone’s dream, life is about taking risks, especially for things worth having, and love sacrifices itself for the higher good of the beloved.

The main characters are voiced by a talented cast — Zachary Levi as Flynn, Mandy Moore as Rapunzel and Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel, who is pure Cher — the show stealer for me was the Captain of the Guard’s horse, Maximus, followed by Rapunzel’s chameleon, Pascal. Max has to become one of the Disney greats.

Take yourselves, your children and the grand parents to see it. Despite its PG rating, this is suitable for the whole family.

I can’t wait to take my children and to see it again myself.

***

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