Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I came across this poster image earlier today for the upcoming Disney release, Tangled. Now, having seen both this and the recent theatrical trailer for the film, I have to say that I am not too impressed with what it's shaping up to be. As most of you know, Tangled is the new title for the film formerly known as Rapunzel. Why the silly title change? Well, it seems that the Disney brass are nervous about putting out another animated film with a girl's name as the title out of fear that it will turn off the boys in their targeted demographic. Personally, I think their decision is ill-advised.

When the trailer came out about a month or so ago, I was not very happy with what I saw (and heard). Overall, there seems to be a jokiness to the film - particularly a "cool and hip" sarcastic quality to the dialogue and expressions of the hero, Flynn Rider. Also, the trailer includes an inane pop/rock song playing over the action, which really has me worried about the mindset of this film. Interestingly, in the comments I've read on sites like Cartoon Brew and The Animation Guild blog, several commenters who claim to have worked on the film are doing their utmost to assure us all that the pop/rock song is not in the soundtrack, and that all of the music score is provided by Disney stalwart, Alan Menken. They also claim that the scene where Rapunzel traps Flynn limb by limb in her long golden locks is not actually in the film either, just animated for this "teaser" trailer. Fair enough, I suppose, although I wonder why they would spend all that time and effort to animate something exclusively for the trailer when I'm sure all of the artists are working long hours just to get the film completed on schedule. Doesn't make much sense to me, I'm afraid.

They go on to say that Tangled will be sincere in its storytelling, just as previous Disney fairy tales have been. If what these commenters say is true, then why is Disney's Marketing department so hell-bent on promoting this film as what it is not, instead of what it is? Because judging from both the trailer and this poster, the film seems more cynical than sincere, with all of the hip attitude that many of us have come to loathe in today's "entertainment". I'd like to believe that the film will be more in keeping with its classic hand-drawn predecessors in tone rather than emulating the schlocky Shrek saga. But frankly, I'm not convinced, and I suspect many others aren't either. And that's a real problem that the Studio is going to have to address head on.

I make no claim to know anything about the pecking order at Disney, but I'd assumed that, as head of Disney Animation, John Lasseter was the man in charge, answering only to Disney CEO, Bob Iger. If this is so, then John needs to get tough with Disney's merry Marketeers because, due to their misguided marketing they are undermining the integrity of this film and putting at risk all of the hard work of the animation staff in trying to create something of worth. John should be fighting them tooth and nail, using whatever professional clout he has (and I have to believe that's a formidable amount). And Bob Iger needs to support him on that, and not just go along with Marketing's efforts to promote this like a stupid teen comedy. Honestly, I really wonder about Disney these days.

"They just can't get my 'tude right!"