Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Princess Makes the (Hair)Cut

As a Disney purist, I have believed since 3D animation became the norm of children’s movies that a 3D character could never become a true ‘Disney princess’. This phrase has been used for years to describe the collection of princesses that starred in acclaimed Disney movies such as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. This elite group had ended in my mind, as well as in my childhood, with Mulan. In 2009, Tiana from Princess and the Frog joined the group, but once all us 90’s kids realized Disney had no true intention in returning to the 2D animation we knew and loved any time soon, the criteria for princesshood became unobtainable. Or so I thought…

At the end of 2010, Disney released their first 3D animated princess movie Tangled, and I have to admit I was blown away. Not only was this movie Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time (The Lion King remains the first), but it reminded me why I wanted to be a Disney princess growing up. Disney princesses are strong, independent women who know what they want, and who get things done. Rapunzel is no exception. Instead of waiting for a man to save her, she takes charge of her own future and doesn't take no for an answer. In this new twist on the classic fairytale the evil witch needs Rapunzel’s magic hair, to keep her young, the “prince” (Flynn Ryder) is actually a thief, and Rapunzel has a pet chameleon who steals the show. Ryder runs across Rapunzel accidentally while trying to hide in her tower after robbing the castle and Rapunzel knocks him out. She takes what he stole, and agrees to give it back only if he takes her to the palace for the one celebration she’s always longed to see from outside her tower. Though their relationship initially stems from a mutual deal, the two grow to love each other more and more as they tackle each trial that confronts them and the movie ends in the typical happily ever after sap that makes Disney movies so great.

As cheesy as it sounds, I laughed, I cried, and I truly enjoyed this movie as much as any of the classics from my childhood. Tangled deserves every bit of recognition and success it attained. I am excited to add the first 3D princess to my collection, and I certainly hope Rapunzel won’t be the last.