Disney's Tangled

This post was originally published on 5 April, 2011 - share your thoughts!

Sad to say, I'm not making much progress on A Tale of Two cities. But we did rent a movie last night that I'd like to talk about...

"Frying pans! Who knew, right?!"

One thing I really liked about this film was how the creators drew upon a lot of the classic clichés of Disney and fairytale culture, while still keeping it modern.

I'm going to focus most of my comments on Mother Gothel. Classic "bad guy" woman. Dark hair, dark eyes, red lips, and constantly portraying evil as good and vice versa. But, rather than a bad person seeking for riches or glory, she only wants to stay young. She seems to have no other aspirations (though she is very extravagant and showy), and yet the character has great depth. She is, in my opinion, one of the creepiest villains I've ever seen. When I think of wicked women, my thoughts go straight to Maleficent of Disney's Sleeping Beauty. But they made Mother Gothel a bit more crazy. You can see it in her eyes when she sings the refrain "Rapunzel Knows Best". She is constantly insulting and demeaning her 'daughter', which any parent knows that even if you're joking, those words hurt. (Read This Post to see what I mean.)

The creators took all the things that make a bad guy bad, and threw in an intensely disturbing element of Gothel's ability to manipulate Rapunzel's emotions to a degree that I've never really noticed in a Disney movie before. I would imagine that this was easy to insert because of the relationship these two have. Rapunzel believes that Gothel is her mother, and because she (Rapunzel) has never known anything else, she accepts and trusts her "Mother" completely, making the manipulation all the more easy. Obviously, Gothel doesn't really care about Rapunzel as a person at all. She only wants to harness and hoard the power from the magic flower. And after having typed it out a few times, I think her name is very applicable. It's root word is 'Gothic' which means: noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay (Dictionary.com). Yep, that's Mother Gothel. 

And another thing: her utter insanity (as well as her vanity, conceit, and selfishness) is represented in it's true form at the end of the film when the magic hair is cut. All those years of cheating death come back to her, and she is lost. I also thought it was appropriate that as Gothel trips and begins to fall out the window, Rapunzel reaches for her -- perhaps out of instinct, or maybe she truly is concerned for her former 'mother' -- with a look of sadness on her face. Gothel was the only family that Rapunzel had ever really known, so it's not hard to believe that even after all the hurt, and deceit, and blatant cruelty, this pure young girl would be concerned, even for the villain of the story.

The other characters are treated the same in their individual respects. Rapunzel is a rock-and-roll heroine, Flynn (Eugene) is a hero in his own right, but mostly an attractive, guy who doesn't know what he wants in life until it's seemingly too late.

The supporting characters are great too. The horse, Maximus, made us laugh hysterically, and the chameleon, Pascal, was cute and smart.

And may I just say, that it wasn't until the third time I watched it that I remembered how the original version ended (with the tears healing the prince), and how they incorporated that into this story. Genius! I've seen and heard a few interpretations of Rapunzel, each dealing differently with the "witch's" motives, how the prince (or in this case the thief) finds the princess and what his motivation is, as well as whether or not Rapunzel actually leaves the tower, and what type of person she is. 

Personally, I loved the back story on this one. The magic flower that grew from a drop of sunlight is such a beautiful idea. It represents life, health, love, and joy -- all the things that, regardless of how sheltered she was growing up and how cruel her 'mother' was, Rapunzel has inherent in her personality. Mother Gothel wouldn't have been able to keep the flower hidden for long anyway. She said she was 'protecting' the flower, and Rapunzel, but truly, she was being selfish. A gift like that needs to be shared, not hoarded.

Overall, I felt that the main moral of this story was that if one has a dream, it should be pursued. And if one has a gift, it should be used for the betterment of those around them. 

From a religious standpoint, this is what we are taught by Christ in the Parable of the Talents. God (nature, the universe, whatever your label) has blessed us each with individual strengths, and it is only when we apply them that He showers us with more. That's what I am attempting with this here little blog of mine. I've always enjoyed writing and reading, but never felt like I was great at it. Hopefully, by doing it more and sharing my work with the world, that talent will start to develop.

What are your talents? What are you good at? What do you want to do better? I'd like to challenge you to find something that you want to improve in your life. It might be a talent, it might be a hobby, or maybe you'll help your spouse with their gifts. Whatever it might be, having something specific to work on, a project of sorts, is a healthy thing for anyone. Even you. 

Rapunzel had a dream, what's yours?

Movies are fun.

Darci - The Page Traveler

What did you think of this movie? I really only focused on the villain, what do you think of the other characters? What do you think of the original fairytale? Share a talent you'd like to develop, or one you're currently working on. Thanks for being here!


  1. Oh Darci, I LOVE this post!!! Rapunzel is my new favorite Disney Princess and not just because she's "new."

    I totally agree that there are so many parallels you can draw from this story and I remember the original tale including her healing tears.

    Oh and talents? The one I'm eager to develop is designing the interior of my own place.
    The parts that get to me the most have to do with Ella. The first is when the king starts to cry after the queen straightens the medallion he wears; just before sending off the lantern. His moment of grief is so tender and real to me that I can't hold back my own tears. The other part is when Rapunzel is finally reunited with her family and she and her mother gaze at one another for the first time. I feel like I will have the same moment of joyous reunion with my own daughter in the next life.

    ...plus I love that Rapunzel has green eyes and (at one point) blond hair. Like me :). And the love of her life has brown hair and brown eyes just like Bret.

  2. @Amy

    Amy! You are beautiful, I can't wait to see how your interior designing turns out!

    I agree, those moments are so beautiful. I will freely admit to crying myself. I can't say I understand your perspective completely, but just imagining losing my son, I can completely understand the father's tears, and the joy they felt in having her back.

    You'll have a reunion with your Ella just as sweet. Love you!

  3. Great post! I loved that movie for all the reasons you mentioned and more. I loved the theme of light and dark and how Mother Gothel is constantly trying to distinguish Rapunzel's light (all so symbolic in "Mother knows best"). I also loved the visual dynamic of Rapunzel looking young and innocent with the blond hair and more mature with the dark, short hair (visual evidence of her having finished her journey in growing up!)

    I'm personally always working at not letting my fear of mediocrity crush my talents! Not as deep as Amy's, but there you go!


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