It has been 6 years now since the release of Tangled, the 50th film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. It was an astounding technological success and overall hit at the box office despite tough competition from How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3. But now, the titular character and all of her friends will return in a big way, an animated television series. This will be the first Disney animated series based on one of their film for an all-ages market since The Emperor’s New School in 2006 and certainly not the last since we will also be getting Big Hero 6 The Animated Series later this year.
But for now, we will be reviewing the pilot film for the series entitled Tangled: Before Ever After ( great nod to the 2011 Tangled Ever After short), it aired on March 10 2017 as the latest Disney Channel Original Movie ( The fourth animated one as well) and the series will premiere on March 24. Canada will not be getting the movie until March 24 unfortunately.
The movie starts off with a recap of the events from the original film to get people into the lore before the proper start of the film, soon after, Rapunzel and Flynn are getting chased by the royal guards in a training exercise as the titular character ( voiced again by Mandy Moore) reaches the kingdom walls as she yearns to discover what is out there instead of being cooped up in the castle.
She is then taken away by Cassandra, her assistant as they walk through the kingdom of Corona as we can see Rapunzel is having a hard time behaving like a proper princess, not knowing how to curtsey and still walking around bare foot as they prepare for the coronation, her father, meanwhile assigns guards to protect her at all times during the coronation in case something bad happens as it did 18 years earlier.
We also see that Eugene has adjusted well to the royal life compared to Rapunzel, getting a new wardrobe, putting on cologne as he has a bigger goal in mind. He plans on proposing Rapunzel in holy matrimony at the big coronation dinner. He plans on getting comfy in the castle walls while Rapunzel wants to go out of the walls, wanting to see the outside world having been locked away most of her life.
But not all is well in the kingdom of Corona as some of the shadier residents get their hands on one of the flyers for the coronation celebration as a mysterious female villain begins her plans to disrupt the ceremony. We then cut back to the morning of the celebration as some of the other royals from outside kingdoms begin arriving but Rapunzel’s more laid-back personality soon gets noticed by them, losing their respect after she gave one too many bear hugs.
Eugene finds Rapunzel, moping in one of the boats where they had their first romantic moment in the film. Eugene tells her everything will be okay since she has the kingdom and her friends rooting for her. Cassandra then interrupts the date to get Rapunzel home. The next morning, she goes on a walk around her town, however, she is surrounded by guards watching her every move, disrupting her usual personality by slapping people, braiding hair for her and destroying cute cupcakes.
The big dinner soon comes,Eugene interrupts the dinner to propose to Rapunzel, but the way he worded it makes Rapunzel decline his offer as her dream of going outside the kingdom is too strong to stay cooped up with her love in the castle forever. She then runs off needing time to think things over, she wants to marry him but she wants to do more with life as well.
She and Cassandra soon sneak out of the castle as they go explore outside the kingdom walls as Cassandra decides to show Rapunzel the spot where the magical golden flower once was. Since then, strange indestructible spiked rocks have taken residence with a small plaque with the flower inscribed on it. Rapunzel touches the rock and is thrown away by the force contained within. When she recovers, she notices something strange with her hair.
The curse is back in full force as the rocks starts attacking them as the girls run back to the kingdom to try to figure all of this out. They find out that like the rocks, her hair is now indestructible as Eugene enters the room in pure shock. Rapunzel swears him to secrecy as she needs to figure out how to hide this from her parents. She soon finds an old wig and hides her hair while she has tea with her parents.
Meanwhile, throughout town, various thieves start attacking the town to keep the guards busy as the coronation soon begins. One of the royal guests soon wanders off into the dungeons revealing herself to be Lady Caine, a villain whose father was locked away at the start of the King’s search for his missing daughter having arrested many of the town’s crooks in his search.
How will she disrupt the coronation with her mooks ? Will Rapunzel get what she yearns for AND marry Eugene ? Will Eugene ever get his nose drawn right? You will have to watch the rest of Tangled Before Ever After to find out.
Tangled Before Ever After is a worthy successor to the original film with the help of its cast reprising their roles for the pilot and television series. Another big factor is the return of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater to provide the musical charm of the original into the series.
There may not be a lot of songs but the two presented here are very charming and well written, they might even be better than some of the songs of the original. It really shows off Mandy Moore’s vocal range have not changed in the seven years since she recorded her lines for the original film.
The animation is pretty visually pleasing, going for a storybook feel thanks to visual designer Claire Keane ( related to the original designer of Rapunzel, Glen Keane). The animation was provided by Mercury Filmworks in Ottawa, Canada who are also handling Duck Tales later this year. The 2D animation is very fluid and full of visual flare during action scenes and its lighting.
If you were a fan of the original film or have daughters who are into the Disney Princess merchandise line, this movie is right for you. Some fans will have to get used to this new animation style compared to the CG in the original film. The movie will also be released on DVD later this month if you missed the television airing. It is also available on the Disney Channel app for those on the go.