Even if you’re not a huge Disney fan, there is one Disney movie that’s your guilty pleasure. Come on, it’s impossible to not like at least one of them. For me, Tangled has always been this movie.
Tangled came out in 2010, when I was seven years old, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Seriously, I’ve watched it an unhealthy amount of times. For so long I wasn’t quite sure what drew me to it so much. No Disney Princess movie, besides maybe Beauty and the Beast, has ever come close in comparison for me.
I conducted a survey to see if others shared my enthusiasm for Tangled. Out of the 15 people who responded, 60% rated it 5/5, 33% rated it 4/5, and 7% rated it 3/5, confirming that I’m not the only one who loves it this much. Phew!
Continuing on, here is why Tangled is the best Disney Princess movie, maybe even best Disney movie in general. Hopefully by the end, you’ll agree with me!
I could just say it is a “cinematic masterpiece” and “magical experience”, as Erika Pacheco perfectly puts it, but I’ll provide some evidence to convince you.
With Disney movies, especially the princess ones, the soundtrack is an extremely important component. The Tangled soundtrack is exceptional. Few other Disney movies have such memorable soundtracks.
The movie starts off with one of my favorite Disney songs ever: “When Will My Life Begin”. This song encapsulates 17-year-old Rapunzel’s frustration and boredom with being locked up in her tower for her whole life as well as her fascination with the world outside.
Pacheco mentioned how much more impactful this song is because she is “literally waiting for [her] life to begin because [we] can’t really go anywhere at the moment.”
It is extremely upbeat and catchy, as many other classic Disney songs. It is relatable, not just because of its teen angst, but also because it almost too closely resembles how we all have felt throughout the multiple quarantines and stay-at-home orders of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rapunzel has nothing to do while she’s by herself in the tower, so she does a bunch of random activities while singing. Does that not sound like exactly what’ve we’ve been doing for the past 11 months? Not to mention the fact that Rapunzel’s kingdom is called Corona…Maybe The Simpsons isn’t the only accurate future-predictor out there.
The “When Will My Life Begin” reprises are short but catchy and enjoyable.
“Mother Knows Best” is another memorable Tangled song. I mean, how could you not like that song? It’s the perfect villain-disguised-as-a-good-person anthem. On the outside it seems like Mother Gothel is a good person, but the closer you look at the lyrics, the more apparent her evil heart becomes.
“I’ve Got a Dream” would be higher up on my list if Mandy Moore (Rapunzel) sang it in more. Overall, it is quite funny and has a good rhythm. ERHS student Ella Ferreira notes that she likes how “Rapunzel was inspiring others to live their dreams while she goes to fulfill hers.”
“I’ve Got a Dream” does a great job of capturing this welcoming, loving, and perhaps a bit naïve nature of Rapunzel. She always sees the good in people, including all of these scary-looking men, and makes the best out of her situation.
And finally, the most well-known Tangled song: “I See the Light”. Okay, seriously, there is no way you didn’t find this scene from the movie magical. This song is playing while Rapunzel and Eugene are out on the boat watching the lanterns being lifted in honor of the lost princess, which is ironic because Rapunzel is the lost princess.
Sure, everything goes wrong after that moment, but it’s nice while it lasts. It is cinematographically beautiful and is a great turning point in Eugene and Rapunzel’s relationship. The song perfectly captures how much of an impact they have had on each other’s lives.
In the survey I previously mentioned, I asked people what their favorite song from the movie was, out of the four songs. Unsurprisingly, “I See the Light” received the most votes; 53%. “Mother Knows Best” received 27% of the votes, “When Will My Life Begin” received 13%, and finally “I’ve Got a Dream” received 7% of the votes.
I listen to the soundtrack all the time, and I truly believe it is one of Disney’s best. Even if you don’t want to watch the entire movie, you should listen to the soundtrack. Click here to listen on Youtube!
Besides the soundtrack, another reason I love Tangled is because of the internal conflict that both Rapunzel and Eugene have, and how they ultimately talk about it together and end up finding comfort.
Rapunzel is torn between her love and loyalty to her “mother” and her desire to follow her dreams and become independent after being locked away for her whole life. She clearly truly cared about Mother Gothel. She ignored or perhaps did not notice her manipulative tendencies and lack of reciprocated love. Mother Gothel was all she knew, and she had no other familial relationships to compare it to, so she did not realize how much she was being mistreated.
One detail I’ve seen brought up countless times is how Gothel only shows affection towards Rapunzel’s hair. She is always touching Rapunzel’s hair and looking at it rather than Rapunzel’s face, highlighting that her hair was all she ever cared about.
This is a stark contrast to how Eugene acts towards her hair. Anytime he is touching her, he always brushes her hair out of the way to touch her face. If you’ve never noticed this, you should watch it again and look closely, you’ll see what I’m talking about!
Of course, there’s the fact that Eugene cut off Rapunzel’s hair at the end of the movie, both dooming himself and saving Rapunzel from a lifetime of imprisonment by Gothel.
Both of them were prepared to give up everything so the other could be happy, but neither of them had to because this is Disney of course, not Shakespeare. Things end happily. I’m not complaining. Sometimes you need those fairytale endings, however unrealistic they might be. The movie is already unrealistic anyway: Rapunzel has magical glowing hair.
Back to the idea of internal conflict, Eugene is constantly battling between his true identity as Eugene Fitzherbert that he left behind, and his false persona Flynn Rider. He had never felt good enough, so he created this idea of a better version of himself, Flynn Rider, to cope with it. However, Flynn Rider isn’t truly who he is. Rapunzel recognizes this, and is the first one he reveals his true identity to.
One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Rapunzel tells Eugene that she likes Eugene a lot better than Flynn, and he says that she would be the first. It shows how she understands who he truly is and still loves him for that exact reason.
Rapunzel and Eugene’s relationship is one of the best-developed Disney relationships, possibly partially accounted for by the detail put into Eugene’s character. In some Disney Princess movies, the princes can be overlooked in favor of the princesses. The only other one that provides such a detailed background for the prince is Beauty and the Beast (If you can’t tell, Beauty and the Beast is another of my all-time favorites).
The complexity of the villain, Mother Gothel, is another reason why Tangled is so good. Rather than being evil simply for the sake of being evil, she is morally corrupt in order to achieve her goal of looking young forever. As Ferreira states, “she’s willing to do anything to get what she wants or in this case keep what she has.”
She is so afraid of losing her youth and dying that she even goes to the lengths of kidnapping a princess with magical youth-restoring and healing hair, raising her, hiding her in a tower, and insisting that the outside world is too dangerous for her to go out into. The real irony is that the most dangerous thing to Rapunzel was the person who warned her of all this supposed danger.
Even though Rapunzel’s feelings towards Gothel change once she learns the truth, and especially when Gothel is a threat to Euegene’s life, it cannot be denied that she did harbor affection for Gothel, which makes it so heartbreaking. Rapunzel was living a lie for so much of her life, and was hurt and betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust.
I think it would be really interesting for Disney to expound upon how Rapunzel deals with the trauma of this once she returns to where her true home is, with the king and queen in Corona.
One last reason why Tangled is the best Disney Princess movie is because of Rapunzel’s animal companions.
Of course, every Disney princess has at least one animal companion at some point. However, both Maximus and Pascal have such great personalities.
The animosity between Eugene and Maximus that turns into mutual affection due to their shared love for Rapunzel is a pretty complicated concept for a frenemies relationship between a horse and a man.
Pascal is simply adorable and also somehow provides comedic relief despite only being a chameleon.
Of course, there are so many more reasons why Tangled is such a great movie, but writing all of it out would take thousands upon thousands of words. These are simply the reasons that stand out the most to me.
If you have never seen Tangled, or even if you have, I highly suggest you watch it with a new perspective after reading this article. There really are so many aspects to this movie, and other Disney movies, that can be easily overlooked if you aren’t paying attention.