Our top 25 animated movies list heads down the final stretch, the five best films ever made. This quintet separated itself from the pack with a ton of support from multiple members of the panel. Tomorrow: #1.
2) Tangled (5 votes, 403 points)
Chris: Fans of the podcast have probably heard me talk about how I don’t go to the movies all that often. Although problems like overpriced tickets and concessions are a factor, the main reason is that it simply isn’t comfortable for me. We live in a small town with only one option for a theater, and if something new is showing, it’s frequently packed — which means cramped seating for 90, 120, 150 minutes at a time. It’s much easier for me to wait for something to hit Blu-ray and watch it from the comfort of my own couch. (The only exceptions are the huge titles I’m really excited about seeing, especially ones I don’t want to have spoiled…those are necessary evils.)
This elaborate story does actually serve a purpose. I haven’t seen many movies in theaters. I’ve seen very, VERY few a second time. But I watched Tangled on the big screen four times, because I loved it that much.
After shuffling through some truly dark times in the 2000s, Disney responded in a big way with Tangled. Nothing against stuff like Princess and the Frog and Brother Bear, but…well, they’re not very good. I also think that Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen don’t happen unless this movie takes off. For its 50th major animated release, Disney delivered a masterpiece.
The visuals are stunning. Having picked up a few tricks from Pixar over the years, Tangled manages to combine wonderful hand-drawn environments with lots of slick computer animation. Some of the backdrops, like the scene where Flynn first discovers Rapunzel’s tower, are gorgeous.
The soundtrack isn’t the best ever, but it has some notable winners. I See the Light is terrific, Mother Knows Best harkens back to Aladdin in the best ways possible, the opening number sets the stage perfectly, and even some instrumental tracks like Kingdom Dance are fantastic.
Most important of all is that the movie has heart. The first line of the film is Flynn saying it’s the story of how he dies, yet the moment when he does still hits you right in the feels. Free-spirited Rapunzel wants so badly to be independent, experiencing the world, that you can almost taste the disappointment when it’s taken away from her. And the scene right before the king and queen release the lanterns, with no words, just a father’s unrelenting sadness over his daughter being gone and his wife gently consoling him? God.
Tangled is not Disney’s best work. Something like Beauty and the Beast might be considered objectively better. I get that. But it’s my favorite, and I’ll always remember how special it was the first time I saw it.
Michaela: I adored Tangled when I first saw it in theaters. Rapunzel’s dream to see the lights is such a simple plot device, and yet her interactions with Eugene and the rest of the cast create such a memorable, well-paced film. Mother Gothel is a fantastic villain, reminiscent of the days where villains weren’t sympathetic and evil for the sake of it. The songs are great too – namely the duet between Rapunzel and Eugene because of what it symbolizes for them and their character development. I remember being disappointed with Disney’s transition from hand-drawn to 3D animation, but Tangled sold me on it and proved that 3D can be just as beautiful and lively. Put it all together, and this makes one of the best princess movies ever made.
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