Release Date: November 14th, 2010 (released nationwide November 24th)
Inspiration: “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm
Budget: $260 million
Domestic Gross: $200 million
Worldwide Gross: $592.4 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
IMDB Score: 7.7/10
Storyline (per IMDB): After receiving the healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel knows that the flower’s magical powers are now growing within the golden hair of Rapunzel, and to stay young, she must lock Rapunzel in her hidden tower. Rapunzel is now a teenager and her hair has grown to a length of 70-feet. The beautiful Rapunzel has been in the tower her entire life, and she is curious of the outside world. One day, the bandit Flynn Ryder scales the tower and is taken captive by Rapunzel. Rapunzel strikes a deal with the charming thief to act as her guide to travel to the place where the floating lights come from that she has seen every year on her birthday. Rapunzel is about to have the most exciting and magnificent journey of her life.
Pre-Watching Thoughts: We continue on through the canon as we kick off a brand new decade with this film, and it is a pretty historic one too as it is the 50th film in the canon which is amazing to think that they pumped out 50 films in nearly 70 years. After how poorly the last decade fared, there was a lot of expectations for this film to get this decade off on the right foot and I feel like with how well-received some of the films from this decade are, this film gets a bit lost in the shuffle. It is also one of the only films from this decade that I haven’t see before so I’m interested to see how well it actually ends up being.
Voice Cast: After having some pretty large casts over the last few films, we have a relative small cast with this film and in addition, this is the first film in quite a while to not have any returning actors as the entire cast was new. So we jump right into the fray as we have singer Mandy Moore who voices Rapunzel in one of her biggest and most memorable film roles with Delaney Rose Stein voicing Rapunzel as a child, and then we have Zachary Levi who voices Flynn Rider as he was starting to hit his stride with his career. Next, we have Donna Murphy who voices Mother Gothel in arguably the biggest film role of her career, and then we have Ron Perlman who voices one of the Stabbington Brothers in a minor role. We then have Richard Kiel who voices Vlad in a minor role and in what would be his final role as well, and then we have M.C. Gainey who voices the Captain of the Guard and finally we have Brad Garrett, Jeffery Tambor, and Paul F. Tompkins who voice the thugs in minor roles. Obviously, most of the focus was on the three main characters so they got some fairly big names while also having some other big names fill out the minor roles, and it will be interesting to see if these small casts remain a constant.
Hero/Prince: We have a very interesting hero to talk about here in that he doesn’t seem like one at first glance, and that is of course the thief Eugene Fitzherbert or as he is known for most of the film Flynn Rider. He works with the Stabbington Brothers to steal a tiara from the castle and they flee into the forest with Flynn taking the tiara for himself, and after being chased he finds Rapunzel’s tower and hides in there only to be captured by Rapunzel. She offers to give him back his satchel in exchange for him taking her to see the floating lanterns which he begrudgingly accepts, and he tries to scare Rapunzel into going back by taking her to a pub frequented by other criminals though she wins them over. When the palace guards arrive, the thugs help Flynn and Rapunzel escape though they are chased into a cavern and nearly drown before escaping, and Flynn starts to fall in love with Rapunzel as they reach the kingdom. They see the lanterns and Rapunzel gives him back the satchel as he tries to give the tiara to the brothers, but they betray him and send him to the kingdom where he is captured. The thugs and Maximus save him as he rushes back to the tower only to be stabbed by Mother Gothel, and Rapunzel tries to save him though he sacrifices himself by cutting off her hair leading to Gothel’s demise. He dies in Rapunzel’s arms though one of Rapunzel’s tears lands on his cheek and he is healed, and he returns her to the King and Queen as he is accepted by them and he finally proposes to Rapunzel who accepts. Flynn is a guy who had a rough upbringing and has had to resort to stealing though he dreams of living a better life, and he is initially cold to Rapunzel though eventually warms to her to the point that he tells her his real name. He is willing to give up his old life when he attempts to give the tiara to the Stabbington Brothers, and he is even willing to sacrifice himself and cut Rapunzel’s hair to prevent her from leaving with Gothel. It is always good to see someone who appears to be bad eventually redeem himself and we get that here with Flynn, and he is a good hero for the film though it will be interesting to see how he ranks amongst the other heroes.
Princess: We have our second straight big princess to talk about and she would be the first of the modern princesses for the canon, and that is of course the legendary Rapunzel who is famous for her long hair though there is much more to her than that. She is the princess of Corona and her hair is blessed with healing powers from a magical flower, and Mother Gothel steals her so she can use Rapunzel’s hair to keep her young as she raises her as her own daughter and she scares Rapunzel into staying in the tower. On the eve of her 18th birthday, Rapunzel desires to see the mysterious “lights” in person though Gothel refuses and when Flynn Rider shows up at the tower, Rapunzel captures him and takes his satchel which contains a stolen tiara. She tells him she will return the satchel if he takes her to see the lanterns and he reluctantly accepts, and she enjoys her first day out of the tower though is conflicted with disobeying her mother. He takes her to a pub frequented by thugs to scare her though she wins them over and they help them escape from the palace guards, and they escape from a flooded cavern and she starts to show feelings for Flynn. Gothel arrives and gives Rapunzel the satchel to show that Flynn doesn’t care about her which she doesn’t believe, and they reach the kingdom and Rapunzel takes part in the festivities before seeing the lanterns with Flynn giving her a lantern of her own to release. After Flynn leaves, she sees him going back to the kingdom on a boat unaware that he is knocked out and tied up, and she returns to Gothel’s side as she believes Flynn left her and Gothel takes her back to the tower. After seeing her paintings along with a piece of cloth with the sun on it, Rapunzel realizes that she is the missing princess and confronts Gothel about it with Gothel tying her up, and Flynn arrives to the tower only for Gothel to stab him and she says she will take Rapunzel somewhere no one will find her. Rapunzel says she will go with Gothel if she is allowed to heal Flynn only for Flynn to cut her hair off and that leads to Gothel’s demise, and Flynn dies in Rapunzel’s arms though one of Rapunzel’s tears ends up healing Flynn. He takes her back to the kingdom where she reunites with her parents and takes her rightful place as Princess of Corona, and after time Flynn proposes to her and she ultimately accepts. Rapunzel is a very interesting character in that she is raised to believe that the outside world is cruel and scary thanks to Gothel, but she has a strong desire to leave and see the lanterns which she does thanks to Flynn. She is extremely independent and isn’t afraid to fight though she still feels a certain loyalty to Gothel until she learns the truth, and she is one of the better princesses in quite awhile though it will also be interesting to see how she stacks up against the more well-known princesses.
Villain: We have another pretty memorable villain to talk about here and she is another one of those villains that you either hate to love or love to hate, and that is Mother Gothel who we see using a magical flower to maintain her life and keep her looking youthful. After the flower is used to heal the Queen of Corona and she gives birth to Rapunzel, Gothel discovers that the flower’s power exists in Rapunzel’s hair though it fades when the hair is cut. Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel and takes her to a tower where she raises her as her own daughter, and she keeps Rapunzel scared of the outside world while using her hair to keep her youth. When Rapunzel asks for Gothel to take her to see the mysterious “lights”, Gothel refuses and instead Rapunzel asks her to retrieve some plants which Gothel does, but after she encounters Maximus she returns to the tower and finds Rapunzel has left though she finds the satchel with the tiara. She meets up with the Stabbington Brothers and offers to let them have Flynn if they help her, and she confronts Rapunzel and gives her the satchel as she claims Flynn will abandon her at the first chance he gets. After the brothers send Flynn back to the kingdom, they stalk Rapunzel until Gothel saves her and she returns to her side when she sees Flynn sailing to the kingdom unaware that he is knocked out, and after Rapunzel learns the truth she attempts to leave only for Gothel to chain her up. When Flynn arrives at the tower, Gothel stabs him and leaves him to die as she says she will take Rapunzel somewhere no one will find them, and Rapunzel claims she will fight constantly unless she is allowed to save Flynn which Gothel agrees to. However, Flynn sacrifices himself and cuts Rapunzel’s hair which drains the magic and Gothel ages rapidly, and she stumbles around the tower until Pascal causes her to trip out the window and she falls to her death. Gothel is an interesting character in that her only desire in life is to stay young and sees Rapunzel as a way to achieve this, but despite her devious undertones she does appear at times to genuinely care for Rapunzel even though she exaggerates her claims about the outside world to keep Rapunzel in the tower. Ultimately, Rapunzel’s wanting to leave and her eventually realization of the truth causes Gothel to reveal her true self when she stabs Flynn, but this leads to her demise as Flynn cuts the hair and Gothel in essence crumbles to dust. Gothel is a surprisingly fun villain and one that you don’t think about at first thought but she is pretty memorable, and it will be interesting to see how she ranks up especially against the more memorable villains before her.
Other Characters: As I had mentioned earlier in the review, the majority of the film was focused on the main three characters of Rapunzel, Flynn, and Gothel, and while there were a few other characters that played a decent role in the film there weren’t that many to speak of. But we do have some with the first being Pascal the chameleon who is Rapunzel’s best friend and he assists her when she captures Flynn, and he accompanies them when they head to the kingdom and watch the lights though he goes with her when she returns to the tower with Gothel. When Rapunzel rebels and Gothel chains her up, Pascal tries to help only to be kicked away though he gets the last word when he causes Gothel to trip on the hair and fall out of the tower as he goes with Rapunzel when she returns to the kingdom. We then have Maximus the horse who leads the charge in attempting to capture Flynn and at one point he finally catches him, but Rapunzel begs him to let Flynn go so that he can take her to see the lights and Maximus agrees as he starts to warm up to Flynn. After Flynn is captured by the guards, Maximus rounds up the thugs and they free Flynn who rides Maximus back to the tower, and in the end Maximus maintains his role of captain as he is credited with ending crime in the kingdom. Next, we have the Stabbington Brothers who work with Flynn to steal the tiara though he ends up leaving them, and they plot to take revenge as Gothel meets them and they plan to capture Flynn. Flynn meets with them to give them the tiara though they knock him out and tie him to a boat which they send to the kingdom, and then they go after Rapunzel only for Gothel to betray them and they end up in prison. We then have the thugs who hang out at the Snuggly Duckling and they attempt to take Flynn so they can claim the reward money, but Rapunzel wins them over as they tell her about the dreams they had and they help Rapunzel and Flynn escape from the guards. Later after Flynn is imprisoned, Maximus rallies the thugs as they help Flynn escape from prison and then they end up fulfilling their own dreams after Rapunzel returns to the kingdom. Finally, we have the various people that live in the kingdom including the King and Queen of Corona who release the lanterns every year in hopes that Rapunzel will return to them, and then there are the other inhabitants that Rapunzel and Flynn interact with during the festival. This is one of those films where it is fine that there aren’t many characters to worry about as most of the focus needs to be on the main characters, and we will see going forward if this keeps up or if it goes back to how previous films have been.
Songs: We continue on with the trend of having the films be more like musicals though this film does not have nearly as many songs as the last film did, and sometimes that can be a benefit or a hindrance depending on how well the film is. The first song in this film is “When Will My Life Begin?” sung by Rapunzel as she laments on where she is in her life, and it is a good song for her to understand her plight and set the tone for the film. We then have “Mother Knows Best” sung by Mother Gothel as she tries to keep Rapunzel scared of the outside world, and it is I think a pretty underrated song sung by a villain and is arguably one of the best songs from a villain. Next, we have “I’ve Got a Dream” which is sung by Rapunzel and the thugs at the pub as they sing about their dreams, and it is a fun song in the middle of the film and keeps things moving along very well. We then have the centerpiece song of the film which is “I See the Light” sung by Rapunzel and Flynn as they in essence reveal their love for each other, and it is a solid ballad and I believe holds up well against many of the classics of the past. Finally, we have the song played during the credits which is “Something That I Want” which is a solid song, and I will also mention the incantation that Rapunzel sings so she can use her hair though it is not an official song to include. This was a solid collection of songs for the film and showed that the musical film format could still work very well, and we will see if this continues on or if they switch back to the format of the 2000s.
Plot: Much like the last film, I’m pretty sure that everyone going into this film with some knowledge of the story of Rapunzel and her long hair, but I wonder how many knew the full story of Rapunzel and were only familiar with the phrase “Rapunzel, let down your hair”. Obviously, this was going to be fairly different from the original fairy tale and the film begins with Mother Gothel using a magic flower to keep herself young, and the kingdom of Corona guards take the flower to heal the Queen who gives birth to Rapunzel who has the magic of the flower in her hair. Gothel steals Rapunzel and raises her as her own daughter while using her hair to keep her young and she keeps Rapunzel oblivious of the outside world, and on the eve of her 18th birthday she wishes to see the mysterious floating “lights” that appear on her birthday every year though Gothel refuses. At the same time, Flynn Rider steals a tiara from the castle and escapes into the forest where he finds the tower and hides, but Rapunzel ties him up and demands that he take her to see the lights in exchange for the satchel containing the tiara. Flynn accepts and takes Rapunzel to the kingdom as they avoid the guards and are nearly attacked by thugs in a pub, and they finally reach the kingdom and see the floating lanterns as Rapunzel and Flynn start to fall in love with each other. Flynn is attacked by his former partners and sent to the kingdom to be arrested as Rapunzel returns with Gothel, but Rapunzel learns that she is the missing princess and tries to leave only for Gothel to capture her. Flynn is broken out of prison and he returns to the tower though he is stabbed by Gothel who tries to leave with Rapunzel, but she first asks to save Flynn who instead sacrifices himself and cuts Rapunzel’s hair which drains it of his power and Gothel ages rapidly which leads to her death. Rapunzel mourns Flynn though one of her tears ultimately heals him and they return to the kingdom where Rapunzel reunites with her parents, and she becomes the Princess of Corona as Flynn proposes to her and she accepts. You can tell that they kept some of the same aspects of the original fairy tale in this film while also making it feel original hence a lot of focus on Flynn, and as a film it was a solid story and holds up well even against some of the classics of the past.
Random Watching Thoughts: I like how they updated the logo to emphasize that this is the historic 50th film for the studio; It was interesting to hear Flynn narrate the beginning of the film; Having a drop from the sun land on the ground and create a magic flower reminds me of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” where you could shoot an arrow into the sun and get the Fire Arrows; The flower shows up and Gothel just happens to be there at the same time; That island went from being uninhabited to a thriving kingdom in what seemed like no time at all; Gothel in that hooded robe when she is wrinkled looks a lot like Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars”; Gothel has no one to blame but herself because she knocked the bush off the flower in her haste; So they started releasing the lanterns before Rapunzel was kidnapped; That is a nice touch that the hair loses its power when it is cut off; Gothel starts to look younger until she cuts the hair and she becomes old again; I have a feeling Gothel has been staying in that tower long before she took Rapunzel; It is interesting that Rapunzel’s hair grows longer than the rest of her body; Playing hide-and-seek with a chameleon; 23 out of 45; Pascal really likes it in that tower; She’s certainly got her daily routine down to perfection; Is she really going to eat all those cookies by herself?; Pascal looks thrilled to be modeling her dress; She definitely has a lot of hair to brush; Flynn would rather admire the view than actually do what he intended to do; Second straight film with a “Mission: Impossible” reference; How many other things have they done before this?; How can Rapunzel not feel any pain when pulling up Gothel with her hair?; Gothel certainly has an inflated opinion about herself; Rapunzel couldn’t wait to get through that incantation so she could ask Gothel about seeing the lanterns; Rapunzel has had so much time that she actually charted the stars to prove that the “lights” she wants to see are different from the stars; The way Gothel sings “Mother Knows Best” makes it seem like she is caring and concerned about Rapunzel, but she also scares her to death with her twisted view of the outside world; In Flynn’s defense, they did botch the nose in the drawing pretty badly; Clearly, the brothers have been burned by Flynn plenty of times before; The captain relays his orders to the guards and then Maximus does the same thing with the other horses; Flynn takes the captain’s place on Maximus yet Maximus refuses to move for Flynn; Probably wasn’t a good idea for Maximus to follow Flynn onto the branch; So apparently Maximus has a bit of bloodhound in him with how he tries to sniff out Flynn; The frying pan becomes the ultimate weapon of this film at this moment when Rapunzel knocks out Flynn the first time; Flynn has to have a concussion by now; Flynn is knocked out good if he can’t feel his hand being crushed in the doors of the closet; Somehow Pascal knows where Rapunzel is supposed to wear the tiara; Rapunzel was quick on her feet to throw out the suggestion for the paint that will get Gothel away for a while; Again, Flynn must have a serious concussion if he was out for as long as he was; Pascal’s version of a wet willie; Flynn trying to turn on the charm unaware that Rapunzel has never seen a man in her life to this point; Rapunzel was so confident that Flynn wouldn’t find the satchel yet he guessed it right off the bat leading to him taking another shot from the frying pan; Rapunzel has been there for so long that she can carry out a full conversation with Pascal; He really doesn’t want to do this, so his last resort is to really pour on the charm yet again it fails miserably; Flynn could’ve waited and let Rapunzel carry him down by her hair so he wouldn’t have to climb down with those arrows; Rapunzel is going from happy to scared to overjoyed to guilty in a matter of seconds; Flynn is trying everything he can to get Rapunzel to go back to the tower; Again, the poster gets the nose wrong as they give Flynn a pig nose; Maximus hides behind a rock and uses a branch to conceal himself as it looks exactly like a horse; Gothel has gotten so used to Rapunzel pulling her up the tower with her hair that she has to use the barricaded entrance for the first time in years; Of all the places to hide the satchel, Rapunzel put it under one of the steps; The Snuggly Duckling; It’s part man-smell and part really bad man-smell; Now the poster has his nose exceeding large; They may seem like brutish thugs and criminals, but deep down they are extremely sensitive and have dreams of their own; We never officially know when this film takes place, but considering the thug mentions Mozart it had to have come after his time; Having an extra toe just seems uncomfortable; Of course, the biggest thug would be into collection tiny items; Flynn doesn’t want to sing until he is threatened with all those knives; If only that one guy had not left to find the guards; 10,000 gold pieces for Flynn, that’s quite a large reward for a simple thief; It wasn’t too smart to leave one guard with the brothers; The guards caught up to them fairly quickly; At least Flynn is honest in saying that everyone doesn’t like him; A frying pan outduels a sword; Somehow Maximus is fully trained in sword fighting; Maximus should’ve realized what he was doing in kicking that post down to create a bridge because it could cause some damage; Flynn had to make sure that he grabbed the frying pan; Of all the times to tell someone you’re real name, you do it when you think you are about to die; Rapunzel waits until they nearly drown to reveal that her hair can glow and they can use it to find a way out; They just skirted death and all Flynn cares about is that Rapunzel’s hair can glow; How many hidden passages does the Snuggly Duckling have?; Something worth 1,000 crowns, Gothel really drives a hard bargain; Flynn wants to freak out so badly though he promised Rapunzel he wouldn’t; Interesting that Gothel would tell Rapunzel that the power in her hair goes away when it gets cut; I’m amazed that Rapunzel has been able to travel so far completely barefoot and not feeling any discomfort; Flynn really cares about his reputation though at least he is honest about it being fake; Gothel is pretty harsh on Rapunzel in making her think Flynn isn’t interested in her; Gothel certainly has a way of spinning things to make Rapunzel think that this is her fault; Why would Flynn think that since Rapunzel’s hair healed his hand that it could now give it super strength?; Maximus looks like he wants to tear Flynn apart and all Flynn can say is that Maximus is there to apologize; Even Pascal tries to help Rapunzel get Maximus to calm down; Maximus is hesitant to make amends with Flynn until Rapunzel mentions that it’s her birthday; Maximus had to get that last shot in; Those girls looked so excited to be able to braid Rapunzel’s hair; Kudos to those girls for the job they did; They did a lot of stuff during the day in between all the dancing they did; I’m surprised that this big dance sequence didn’t have any singing attached to it because that’s something you would’ve expected; They definitely have a good view; If only the King and Queen knew that their daughter was out on the water watching the lanterns; I will say that this scene with the lanterns flying up is one of the more beautiful scenes in Disney history; How did Flynn keep those lanterns hidden all that time?; I feel like “I See the Light” is one of the more underrated songs in Disney history; Gothel starting to show her true colors as she convinces the brothers to take out Flynn only to sell them out when they go after Rapunzel; They did a decent job making it seem like Flynn is sailing away without giving away that he is knocked out and tied up; Such a kick in the gut when Rapunzel believes that Flynn has left her and she goes back to Gothel; Pascal turns blue to match Rapunzel’s mood; That moment of realization that she had incorporated the sun in all her paintings without knowing it which leads her to discover she is the princess; How bad were Flynn’s crimes that he is sentenced to be hanged?; And now the switch flips and Gothel shows her true self; The mini ceramic unicorn is a sign that help is coming for Flynn; The frying pan has been the most effective weapon in the Disney canon to this point; That was quite a good shot for Flynn to land on Maximus perfectly; Flynn tries to have this heartfelt moment with Maximus and Maximus looks at him like “Let’s just get going”; Flynn should’ve realized something was up when Rapunzel’s hair was let down; Gothel now makes a fatal mistake by trusting Rapunzel in her words and letting her try to heal Flynn; I wonder how many gasps went out in the audience when Flynn cut Rapunzel’s hair; That was interesting that Rapunzel reached out briefly to maybe save Gothel from falling out of the window; Shrewd move by having Gothel turn to dust in midair and only the cloak lands on the ground; You think that Rapunzel has lost all her healing powers, yet somehow one tear has just enough to bring Flynn back to life; He just came back to life and all Flynn can say is that he has a thing for brunettes; I find it weird that they kept the King and Queen as silent characters; It is funny that they recognized her after not seeing her for 17 years and that she lost her long, blonde hair; That was quite the party to last a week; The army has traded in their swords for frying pans; The map actually says “got shot here” and “avoid this” with an arrow pointed at Maximus; In one final fun fact, this is still to this date the most expensive animated film ever with a production budget of $260 million.
Overall Thoughts: Overall, this was a tremendous film and honestly could be considered one of the more underrated films in Disney history, and I say that because I feel that this film does not get talked about enough for how great it was. Coming off what in total was a pretty dismal decade in the 2000s, this film was head and shoulders better than anything from that decade and really harkened back to the glory days of the Disney Renaissance. This would kick off what ends up being one of the most successful and prosperous decades for Disney as they would rebound with their animated films while also gathering up a vast library which would pay off at the end of the decade. As for this film, it is a great film and might be one of the best films of all time that deserves its spot amongst the best.
Final Grade: 9/10