and sometimes poetry

Tangled (2010) | Review by Mark Leidner


I told Hannah during the previews that if it leaned toward Enchanted we should stay, but if it leaned toward Shrek we should leave; it leaned toward Shrek. It was depressing to pay that much money for a movie, popcorn, beverage, and then be flanked in the theater by a hundred four  to eleven year old girls who were having the time of their lives. When I walked out of the bathroom before the movie began, a parade of blonde children in pink dresses and barrettes swept past me and almost whooshed me twirling into the theater, as if reality itself were a Mephistophelean parody of a Disney musical. The movie opens with Rapunzel trapped in her tower, singing about how she’ll never be able to live life outside, in the real world, full of adventure, and I commented to Hannah that I felt like that too, but the movie was my tower. I suppose I didn’t think then—but wonder now, grasping for some hope to hold back the tide of ennui at what my life has become—that poetry is my hair.

There were some clever and interesting moments in Tangled. It actually wasn’t bad for what it was intended to be. My favorite parts were when the animals acted like humans. There was one scene where an evil sheriff-of-Nottingham-type guy is riding his glorious white horse, and he issues orders to his men who are behind him on their own horses, then the camera pans down to meet the face of the sheriff’s horse, and that horse whinnies unintelligibly to the faces of the other horses, as if passing on the same orders, as if superior horses issue orders to subordinate horses. Maybe I’m not explaining the charm of this effectively. There is another scene in which the same horse is searching for something in the forest, and he bends down and sniffs with his nose to the ground, nostrils leaping, like a bloodhound. I giggled. Brief moments of imagination like this were welcome reprieves from the futility of the narrative’s fairy tale flatness in other scenes, scenes which caused to nestle into my heart a despair that melodramatically nadired in my asking Hannah politely if we could leave. Outside walking through the mall, even though everything around me was glib and glaring and artificial and deep-fried and overpriced, I felt surprisingly alive. Detangle yourself from the desire to see this movie.


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