Disney's 'Tangled' trailer: A princess movie for boys?

Yesterday, Disney released the trailer for Tangled, a long-in-the-works adaptation of the classic Rapunzel story. For way longer than I’ve been alive, Disney has been in the business of making archetypal princess movies, but this hairy fairy tale is coming at us with a (French?) twist. After disappointing results for The Princess And The Frog, Disney is targeting boys and using contemporary CG animation with Tangled in hopes that it will join the box office ranks of How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Watch the trailer below to see what I mean.

Different, right?  Gone is the serene, gentle feel of Disney’s hand-drawn classics, instead replaced with swashbuckling action and sly quips from Tangled‘s charming thief, Flynn Ryder (voiced by Zachary Levi). We don’t meet our hair-oin, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), until half-way through the clip, though it’s immediately clear upon her arrival that she’s meant to break the Disney mold. Rather than the subtle grace of poised princesses like Snow White and Belle, Rapunzel is a feisty teenager, proficient in tae-kwon-hair-do.  The fact that she only has one line in the trailer (“BEST. DAY. EVER!”) further underscores Disney’s desire to attract boys to Tangled.

The animation style also surprised me, as a fan of the old-school Disney flicks. Tangled‘s CG-watercolor visuals are gorgeous, and I understand the change — whether we like it or not, CG animation sells at the box office these days, and I can’t knock the Mouse House for wanting Tangled to be a financial success.

Right now, I’m intrigued. I’m sure I’ll climb the golden stair (by which I mean the lit staircase in the movie theater) come Nov. 24, if for no other reason than to listen to Alan Menken’s wonderful compositions, but will Tangled be able to attract larger audiences? Rapunzel certainly has the potential to join Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the ranks of Disney’s iconic princesses. But will boys really want to go see a princess movie? Will general audiences embrace a CG animated princess?

What do you think, Popwatchers? Do you think Tangled looks promising?

Comments (127 total) Add your comment
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  • Josie

    I can’t wait! It looks like a lot of fun.

    • mary q contrary

      I agree, it looks like fun. Also, I have an 8-year-old girl who can’t abide anything even remotely girly, and a 7-year-old boy who feels exactly the same way. They both loved The Princess and the Frog, but didn’t care enough to watch it more than once. If this one lives up to the obvious hype they’re going to unload on us, I could see it being one that kids want to watch over and over, regardless of age or gender.

  • nicoleg

    Wow – that looks like a lot of fun! We don’t have kids but we’re suckers for a good disney flick.

  • Josh

    Not sold on the whole 3D bit, it lost it’s novelty to me ages ago, but it made me laugh and it certainly is a fresh take on the story. Looks interesting. Might see if anybody I know is also interested and maybe even take them to see it if I have the money around then.

    • LibbyP

      Ditto about 3D.

    • Zazazing

      Yes, why does EVERYTHING have to be 3D now? It gives me a headache.

      • Cassandra Elise

        Blame the thousands of movie pirates out there. 3D technology makes it harder to pirate the video, thus preventing Disney and other companies from losing millions of dollars.

      • Kay

        @ Cassandra Elise

        It’s just as easy to pirate 3D films. The difference is that folks have to PAY MORE to watch the 3D version and the film industry is trying to take advantage of this. I can’t wait for this expensive and time consuming trend to hit the trails.

    • Celia

      I agree. It’s a very interesting take on the story. I thought the trailer was really funn and I think the male character is actually hot; which is weird, because I’m not usually attracted to cartoons.

      • Deb

        LOL! Makes you feel like a real perv, huh? I remember when “Beauty and the Beast came out – when the Beast transformed into the Prince at the end and my first thought was “DAAY-UM!” because he was so hot and my second thought was ” get a grip, girl- it’s a cartoon!”

        This looks good. And “The Princess and the Frog” was underrated.

    • SXiPPY

      Yeah, I thought Disney was going to go back to a hand drawn format for this which had me stoked. Now, I’m utterly disgusted with their desire to be like everybody else with CGI an 3D. Boo!!! You suck, sell outs!

      • Laura

        I agree completely. I was really excited for this movie, and now… I don’t even think I’ll be able to bring myself to watch it.

      • Anna C.

        Actually, Rapunzel is CGI BUT with a very old school style. The movement is different. The head animator is Glen Keane which did Tarzan. As modern as it looks, the feel is going to be very traditional.

      • forkshiner

        maybe if people actually went to see 2D animation, they would keep making those movies. it costs a lot of money to make a n animated film, and if you only make half your money back because people want cg animation…. you make cg animation. that’s all there is to it.

      • Melissa

        They’re doing both. Expect a 2D feature next year, 3D following that… They have two sides to their animation department and produce one film a year between them.

    • Andrew m

      Know what also lost its noveltiy a long time ago? Bashing 3D. Yes it is used to get more money, but when its done right (Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon) it looks good.

    • Mic

      The movie looks craptacular, and I hate when they tack on 3D- you pay more for 2 tickets than you would for the DVD.

  • Ceballos

    Well, two of the most popular Disney movies during that wildly successful run in the 90’s (“The Lion King” and “Aladdin”) had male protagonists, so this isn’t exactly a new concept.

    This looks like a pretty fun flick and though a part of me misses the hand-drawn stuff I grew up with, the animation in this movie looks terrific.

    • Lisa Simpson

      I immediately thought of Aladdin, too. Story-wise, this has a similar feel.

      • Stacy

        That was my first thought… the Prince reminds me of a more egotistical Aladdin. I’ll see the movie, (I see every Disney movie. Got suckered in by Beauty and the Beast when I was two.) but I have no idea what it’s actually about.
        P.S. nice use of the Pink song

    • Mary

      Great point! As a child of the 90s, the whole “Disney Princess” thing was not as big as it now. I felt each new movie was really based on story rather than who can be the next princess. Even with Snow White and Cinderella, there was also Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and even the Jungle Book to name a few.

  • Manx

    looks like kiddie shrek

    • T

      Isn’t Shrek for kids?

  • Molly

    I also miss the classic Disney animation style (I grew up in the time of Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), which I think may be why I enjoyed the Princess and the Frog so much. But the stills I’ve seen for Tangled look beautiful, so I’m going to wait to pass judgment until I’ve seen it in theaters.

  • myprettypony

    Is the prince supposed to be gay or something?

    • Kate

      Where did that come from? was it necessary…

    • pastafarian

      Prince? I thought he was a thief. Maybe a prince of thieves.. eh? eh?

    • Chris

      It would be great if Disney released a movie with a gay prince. It’s never too early to teach children that it ok to be gay and they can actually look up to gay characters.

      • Carolyn

        Lol! I concur. But I seriously doubt they’d go for such a controversial route. Monsters Inc. is about as gay as it gets. Those monsters and their closets.

      • Daniel

        Except that it’s not ok to be gay! I sincerely disagree with your comment. When I read a post like that, I ask myself, “What is this world coming to?”

  • Hope

    That was hilarious. I love Zach Levi. He plays a roguish rascal quite well. Might see it on DVD. Looks pretty cute. :)

    • mary q contrary

      Wait, you went from saying it was hilarious, and that you love Zachary Levi to “might see it on DVD”? Did I miss something?

    • Hope

      Exactly what I said. I love ZL and I thought the trailer was funny. But it’s not on my must see list for the theater, so I’m willing to wait for the DVD to watch. I hope that explains it better for you.

  • May

    I’m there, if only to hear Zac Levi sing! Plus the sidekicks look cute! Pascal the chameleon is adorable!

    • hazel

      Agreed! Alan Menkan’s music + Zac Levi’s musical theater voice = a movie I can’t WAIT to see/hear!

    • elena

      Oh my goodness…this is a musical. That just dawned on me (is there a disney film that ISN’T?). And Zach Levi AND Mandy Moore get to sing.

      That’s it. I’m in.

      • g

        It hadn’t occurred to me either that it was a musical, so now I’ll have to see it. But they totally stole Rapunzel’s hair falling into the guy’s face from the 10th Kingdom.

      • two cents

        lol g… That’s so true! I love 10th Kingdom. “Love of my life, let down your lustrous locks!”

  • ashley

    it looks like shrek…but less funny. if that’s at all possible. i suppose the golden days of the lion king, aladdin, and the little mermaid are forever gone. :(

    • Anna C.

      meh I never loved Shrek. I’ll watch Disney over Dreamworks anytime.

    • mary q contrary

      I would venture to say it’s more that you were a kid when those came out, and you’re an adult now, therefore harder to please. And saying you would still rather watch those films over Shrek doesn’t count, because they hold sentimental value that can’t be measured. I also prefer them, but recognize that it’s because my childhood happened 20 years before my kids’. Animated movies have been evolving since the genre started, and will continue to do so long after we’re gone. My kids love Shrek 1 and 2, and would prefer to watch them over The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, and that’s not because they have worse taste, or aren’t as smart, or any other excuse. It’s because they belong to a different generation, plain and simple.

      • mari

        My son, who is only 5, prefers “The Lion King,” “The Search for Christopher Robin,” and “Wall-E.” He doesn’t like “Shrek.” Oh and if he could he would watch “Star Wars” (the 1st one) over and over again.

      • Anna C.

        hmm I guess the girl in me just love the Disney Princess movies for the fairy tale aspect, but I also like the fact that it’s not as crass as Shrek. I’m not just talking bout the fart jokes. I feel like Shrek relies on celebrity characters personality rather than the actual animated character. but that’s just me. since most of their targeted audience don’t care who the voices belong to.

      • Jess

        Anna C. – I agree with you 100%. Everyone always jumps down my throat when I say I don’t love Shrek. I like it just fine. I just feel like it lacks the heart that most Disney movies carry.

  • Badger31201

    The write-up had me VERY skeptical. In fact, dreading it. But the clip looks GREAT! “Prepare for the smolder….” LOL

    • Zazazing

      The Smolder made me laugh. It so reminds me of the “suave” look my son used to do when he was younger. Too cute!

      • pastafarian

        reminded me of Blue Steel, maybe a lil bit of Le Tigre.

    • tjj50

      That was great. it seems like Every hot young actor has a pained look they call a “smolder” now. I think this looks fun and I’ll definitely add it to my matinee list.

  • Andrew

    “The Princess and the Frog” wasn’t a huge disappointment at the box office. It unfortunatley had to be moved from Christmas weekend to early December to avoid competition with “Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakel.” If “ATCTS” had been released in early 2010 like originally planned, “The Princess and the Frog” would have had better results.

    • aps

      you’re exactly right. somehow the Chipmunks were able to attract the big audience. ick. but that was the downfall of the princess and the frog.

    • mary q contrary

      Agreed, which is unfortunate, considering The Princess and the Frog was brilliant, and easily made it into my top 10 animated Disney films of all time. I thought it was magical, spirited, looked and sounded beautiful, and had more heart than Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules combined. It made me believe that the art of hand-drawn Disney films isn’t dead after all, and I really hope the so-so box office reception didn’t hammer the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.

  • MissM

    I wasn’t interested until I heard Zach Levi is voicing the lead. That might get my two boys interested, since they are both Chuck fans.

  • Megan

    Really annoyed by the fact that you say it’s a “Princess movie for boys”… completely skipping the fact that it’s a princess movie with some strength… so why does that make it “for boys”? Why not modern girls?

    Are you kidding me? This looks cute from the blip of a trailer I got. And I always liked “boy” movies growing up. Still do.

    Seriously. You knew this comment was coming. Are you really functioning on so few brain cells? That’s the best you could come up with?

    Why does something have to appeal to men to be taken seriously?

    • Rica

      Um, see the Ooooh Zach!!!! comments and you have your answer, I’m afraid.

    • Johanna

      Wow. Over powering feminist, much? Uhm, not that the trailer wasn’t centred around the guy character, basically how Aladdin was. . .

    • Anna C.

      by that i think he meant that it’s a Princess movie that can be enjoyed by boys as well as girls. As opposed to The Princess & the Frog where all the little boys chose to ignore it. Since there was so much emphasis on the Tiana when it should’ve been on the both character. Tangled as been called Rapunzel for a long time until after The Princess & the Frog didn’t do well as expected. All of a sudden they renamed it Tangled to draw the boys in as well as the girls.

    • mary q contrary

      *I meant he when I said she. Twice. Oops.

    • Dale

      Are you serious? Heaven forbid Disney do more to attract boys. Have you even been to The Magic Kingdom in the last 10 years? One can’t turn a corner without being inundated with girly princess stuff; everywhere you turn its Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Snow White, etc etc….

      For one so keen on gender equality you seen terribly anti male.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equal rights. As a minority I understand and agree with this.

      Disney promoting a Princess movie to attract the male population does not equate to putting women down.

      In fact, Disney has a film track record to prove just the opposite.

      • Blake

        The majority of Disney films, especially recently, feature male protagonists (Pixar’s FINALLY getting around to a female centered movie with “Brave”, but it’s – surprise, surprise – a princess story). I think women are upset that the male perspective is treated as the default, which is something that is so pervasive in our society that we hardly notice it, while films that feature someone from the other 50% of the population are much rarer and seen as “niche” films with such an astounding lack of variety. It marginalizes us, no matter how you try to explain/excuse it. The assumption is that girls will see films centered around men, but not the other way around – and when studios/advertisers treat “female” films in such a gendered, specific way, it’s not hard to see why that often proves true.

  • Madd

    Zachary Levi!!!!!!! Oh, how I love him. I’ve heard that Debra Winger also voices a character, so that’s awesome.

    • Madd

      He called her blondie! Oh, Sawyer and Juliet, I miss you so much.

      • Mary

        LOL! Your comment made my day!

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