Review: Tangled (PG)

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BLONDES certainly have more fun in Disney’s glorious animated reworking of the Rapunzel fairytale that marries a hilarious script with dazzling and colourful visuals.

The traditional recipe of rousing love ballads and a boo-hiss villain is stirred to perfection by directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, who draw heavily from The Little Mermaid as their plucky heroine abandons her tower and explores a world that was previously out of reach.

Crucially, screenwriter Dan Fogelman manages to appeal to both children and adults, peppering his fantasy world with cuddly critters and underscoring the tomfoolery with a romance that tugs the heartstrings without ever becoming cloying.

The 3D format isn’t too obtrusive, employed most effectively in a wonderful sequence involving hundreds of fire lanterns, the camera swirling through the sky as the flickering flames dance before our eyes.

Once upon a time ... princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is abducted from the castle by the scheming Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who covets the girl’s magical hair.

The golden locks shimmer with the secret of eternal youth, but must never be cut – or else the hair will lose its power and turn brown. Gothel confines the girl to a tower and convinces the child that she must never leave the high-rise fortress for fear that she will fall victim to the evils of man.

“Skip the drama, stay with mama!” she trills in the song Mother Knows Best.

As years pass, Rapunzel longs to explore the world below, but must be content with a cheeky chameleon called Pascal as her solitary friend.

Then as Rapunzel celebrates her 18th birthday, swaggering outlaw Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) happens upon the tower in the secluded clearing and climbs into Rapunzel’s bedroom.

At first, the young woman is wary of the intruder, but he eventually convinces the fair maiden to disobey Gothel and travel to the castle to witness the annual display of fire lanterns.

“A little rebellion – it’s all part of growing up”, he grins.

Once Gothel discovers her prize asset has escaped her clutches, she gives chase, aided by a pair of dim-witted thugs.

Meanwhile, a tenacious sniffer horse from the palace called Maximus is on Flynn’s trail, determined to bring the thief to justice.

Tangled is a delight, carrying us along on Rapunzel and Flynn’s haphazard adventure, which includes a rousing song and dance number, I’ve Got A Dream, in The Snuggly Duckling tavern with the drunken and tattooed regulars.

Vocal performances are almost as lively as the animation and Pascal and Maximus shamelessly scene-steal from the human characters, to whoops and giggles from younger viewers.

Alan Menken and Glenn Slater’s soundtrack hits all the right notes, ensuring that we leave the cinema with a smile and a joyful tear in the eye.