Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

23 November 2010

Movie Review: Tangled (with a note on Megamind)

This review is for parents worried about what messages this movie may send to our daughters and sons. As a feminist parent, I wish I could pre-screen every movie and TV show before my daughter views it, but I just can't. Thus this review is more for that purpose as opposed to whether or not it is a good movie. In otherwords, if you kid is begging you to see this movie, but scream at the thought of another princess movie, this is for you. AKA THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!


Disclaimer: I was given a sneak preview pass through Klout because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Plot: Rapunzel's mom (the Queen) is dying in child birth, saved by magic flower that Mother Gothel was hiding. The flower kept Gothel youngish for centuries. Without it she turned old. Flower was turned into a drink that saved Mom. Rapunzel was born with the power of the flower - in her hair. Gothel tried to clip some hair for the power. Alas the power only works when attached to Rapunzel AND can't be cut. Magic blond hair turns brunette after being cut. Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel. On the eve of Rapunzel's birthday, she wants to travel to see the "magic lights" that go up each year on her birthday. Gothel tells her she's too fragile & weak to be outside the tower. Selfish evil people would want to use her for her magic hair. Thief Flynn Ryder has just stolen something from the King (Rapunzel's dad) decides to hide in the tower. Rapunzel blackmails Flynn into taking her to the kingdom to see the lights. On their journey they have to keep Flynn from being caught, fall in love and all sorts of adventure.

Feminist parent analysis:
  • Earlier this year word got out that Disney changed the title of the movie to "Tangled" to attract boys. I don't think that the movie was overly boy'd out. The adventure (boy parts) were similar to the chase scenes in "Aladdin." There was a lot of discussion about what this meant...I think those criticisms are fair and totally valid.
  • I don't think Rapunzel is saved. She wanted to get out of that tower despite her love for Gothel. Flynn was merely her guide to freedom. Rapunzel knew nothing of the outside world. Had no idea where to go. Plus she swings a mean cast iron skillet.
  • Yes, they fall in love, get married & live happily ever after. Can't get away from this ending. Although Flynn, who narrates the movie, does make it clear that they don't get married right away. 
  • Flynn narrates the movie. Her story is told through his voice. 
  • The mother-daughter conflict is crystal clear. Her "mom" kidnaps her and keeps her 'safe' in a tower. *gag*
  • Flynn is transformed by Rapunzel's love. *gag*
  • There's a throw-a-way line about Rapunzel being physically strong since she pulls up Gothel. This is proven over and over by the way Rapunzel slings her hair around like a whip, saving Flynn and herself. Not to mention her mean swinging of the cast iron skillet.     
  • Can't believe I forgot this one!  Flynn dies for Rapunzel! But since I told you that they live happily ever after, Rapunzel does save him. Flynn goes to save Rapunzel from Gothel, but Gothel stabs him in the gut. As he lays dying Rapunzel goes to save him with her hair. Instead he cuts it all off, thus cutting off Gothel from her reason to want to take Rapunzel away. Rapunzel heals him with her tears. Gothel dies in a great scene.
I didn't like the songs. My favorite Disney movie is "The Little Mermaid." I felt a few of the songs were trying to be too much like TLM.

Overall is was a good movie. I cringed move over the bad songs than any gender issues. Maybe someone without love of a good Disney song can help point out issues I missed. I liked Rapunzel's Revenge better.

Apparently this is going to be Disney's last princess movie for some time. They are going to go hard after the boy market. Hopefully this means our girls can be girls again and not perpetual princesses. But parents with boys...be warned! When Disney sets its aim at a population it doesn't let go until it's been bleed dry. And while it might look cute, there's a dark underbelly.

Edited to add: We also saw "Megamind" last weekend. If I had to choose between "Tangled" and "Megamind" I would have to say "Tangled" hands down. Megamind is a total "boy" movie with super hero, villains and a damsel in distress. But the take home message in this movie is directed towards boys. On one hand, Megamind learns that he can change his evil ways and be good (good message)...in order to get the girl, Roxanne (bad message!). This is of course after Megamind's creation Titan turns bad due to greed AND being dissed by a girl. Of course it's the same woman since these types of movies only have one woman. After getting dissed, Titan kidnaps Roxanne and tries to kill her. SUPER BAD MESSAGE! While we laughed a lot at this movie, but the violence against Roxanne based on her not reciprocating Hal/Titan's love puts this movie in the "HELL NO" pile.

By the way, when showing 3D movies, the theater should make sure the glasses are clean. The kid spent almost half the movie with smudged glasses. We never go to 3D movies cause I think it's unnecessary. 2D is just fine.

Questions?

4 comments:

Smudged 3d glasses? We always have to pay the extra service fee, but we get new in packaged ones. They even have kids sizes available now. I cringe to think of wearing re-used glasses!

Thanks for the review! It does help to know some of this in advance.

Just stumbled across your blog - happy to find another feminist mom blogger! I felt like the movie was such a slam on mommyhood (helicopter mom goes hogwild - locks adopted daughter in giant chastity belt... er, tower...), maybe even a backlash on the cougar phenom (ie. mommy's gotta die for daughter to come into her own and get her cartoon groove on...)... would love to know what you think of my take!
http://storiesaregoodmedicine.blogspot.com/2010/12/cartoons-and-cougar-backlash-disneys.html

"but the violence against Roxanne based on her not reciprocating Hal/Tighten's love puts this movie in the "HELL NO" pile. "

I actually thought the point of that was to show how bad the character was home- and drive home the message that "niceguys" don't inherently deserve the girl.

Candice...hmmm, but once he steals, he goes from good guy to bad guy. But I get your point.