For its 50th animated feature, Disney has finally taken up the story of Rapunzel, but it’s tossed out almost all the original elements of the tale. Instead, she’s become an odd hybrid of old- and new-style Disney heroines: This Rapunzel (Moore) is a princess who has been stolen from her crib by an evil witch, but she’s also a spunky girl who, like Pocahontas and Mulan, is ready to take on the wider world. Her rescuer isn’t some bland prince; he’s the roguish but good-hearted thief Flynn Rider (Levi). Adventures are had, an adorable chameleon sidekick mugs (a chameleon? They must be running out of cute little animals), songs are sung and there’s the occasional bit of slapstick so the tots don’t get too restless.
Composer Alan Mencken is working in his usual Broadway idiom (with adequate lyrics by Glenn Slater), but Moore’s delivery makes the numbers sound more like slick pop tracks than heartfelt show tunes. That jumbled feeling pervades the film. It’s as if screenwriter Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt) looked at what elements worked in previous hits and threw in a bit of each. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Tangled, but it’s a lite version of things Disney has done better.