Who's In It: The voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett
The Basics: Rapunzel is a princess kidnapped at birth by an old witch and locked up in a tall tower. The witch took her because Rapunzel's magical glow-in-the-dark hair has the power to heal illness and provide a major anti-aging boost to anyone who touches it. To activate the magic hair abilities, Rapunzel must first be singing her special hair song. It's complicated.
What's The Deal: You'd think that for their 50th animated feature, Disney would have hauled out the big guns. Something spectacular. Instead they've given us yet another princess story calculated to revive the public's cash-dispensing interest in that kneaded-to-death formula. It takes forever to pick up steam and, if you're still with it by the time it does, you'll wonder why you just spent money to see the same old tale retold in exactly the same way it was sold to you before.
Cue The Dishonest Marketing: The Princess and the Frog--a much better movie, by the way--didn't make hundreds of millions of dollars. In the Disney universe that's failure and a lot of dead stock merch unsold. That's why this one isn't called Rapunzel anymore and why the trailer features Rapunzel's male romantic interest and his horse instead. But guess who's not the star? And guess who doesn't sing the "I wish I could see the world/get out of this stupid tower/be something special" song? That's right, NOT THE GUY CHARACTER. Apparently little girls will willingly go see movies aimed at little boys, but little boys won't go see a princess movie. So it was only girls who made The Little Mermaid and Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast hits? Can someone explain this to me?
Most Memorable Cliché: The cute animals--you can't really have an animated Disney feature that's not already about animals without some comic relief critters--are better than the movie deserves. The prince/thief's is a disgruntled horse and Rapunzel's is a happily color-changing chameleon (quick, someone write a thesis on gender-typing about this), they're both mute and they both steal scene after scene from the Cream of Wheat-like main characters. In fact, I kept wishing I was watching a movie about just them. That's a problem.
Pointless Ticket-Raising-Feature: 3-D, of course. 3-D with no good reason to exist, nothing memorable about it, just an added glasses-wearing hassle, something to put on your face and take an extra three bucks from your wallet.