If you happened to be reading this blog about a year ago, you’ll know that I was watching every single Disney movie in chronological order and really loved Tangled. As you can imagine, the prospect of a Disney television show centered around Rapunzel and the gang sounded pretty darn awesome! I was on board from the first releases of the music and the artwork. Tangled: Before Ever After bridges the gap between the movie and the show and does so while introducing lots of drama, mystery and new characters. It also makes the leap from 3D to 2D. So what did I think of Rapunzel’s first foray into learning to be royalty? Let’s take a look!
Tangled: Before Ever After picks up fairly close to where the film left off. Rapunzel, who escaped the grip of an evil old woman who locked her in a tower, has found herself locked into another life as princess. And while she loves her parents and her boyfriend Eugene, she’s finding it hard to adjust to being locked inside after discovering how amazing outside is. This becomes the main focus on the show. Everyone wants Rapunzel to be happy where she is, but all she wants is an adventure on her own. As her coronation as princess approaches, she gets even more stir crazy and eventually, her friend and personal guard, Cassandra offers to sneak her out of the castle for the night. This is where things really take off.
The film does a great job of getting us back to a new status quo for Rapunzel. Obviously, her golden hair comes back as it’s a big part of her character, but it’s done in a very smart way which actually adds a whole heap of mystery to the upcoming show. I really loved that Eugene didn’t go back to being Flynn and while we knew a lot of characters here, Cassandra was a welcome addition, adding a nice middle person for Rapunzel to lean on when everyone else seems to misunderstand her. Her father, the King, and mother, the Queen also play a big role in the show, and I was glad to find that they had their own worries, wants and imperfections that added to a cast of surprisingly deep characters.
In fact, at times, Before Every After might be too deep. Rapunzel, along with her friends and family, are dealing with some very adult issues. Rapunzel is feuding with her parents but also has this very interesting relationship with Eugene, who wants to marry her. I actually really love that she tells him she’s not ready. In fact, in all of the Disney films and movies I’ve seen, this might be one of the most realistic, adult relationships I’ve seen. These two clearly care for each other, but they still have a lot to learn from each other. Unlike many shows, this doesn’t cause them to break up. It causes them to step back, to talk, to relearn why honesty is important, and to promise each other to keep trying and being patient with each other. In a strange way, it’s a great lesson for young girls that you don’t have to say “Yes,” because the right guy will understand, and Eugene really plays as a super nice guy who just wants to be happy with this woman he loves. The whole thing is very VERY refreshing.
If there’s a miss in the episode, it’s the villain, Lady Kane, who just doesn’t seem all that threatening or imposing, especially when compared to the manipulative Mother Gothel. If anything, the fact that Lady Kane was able to break into the castle just goes to show the incompetence of the guards. Honestly, I think Rapunzel might be safer outside the city walls at this point. Despite this, I’m happy to see that not all is well in the city. The King is far from perfect and it’s interesting to see how his emotion driven leadership leads to unrest in the Kingdom. I really hope we get more of that as the show continues.
The music in the show, from Alan Menken, is fantastic and really one of the highlights, but the thing that stuck out to me more than anything were the mysteries that it sets up for the coming series. Before Ever After doesn’t really end. There isn’t this neatly wrapped up story line. In fact, it leaves a lot open for a continuing story. Why is Rapunzel’s hair so strong now? Why did it grow back? How will she get out of the castle again with her father breathing down her neck? Will she a Eugene survive her learning about who she is? What are the mysterious spikes all about? And the best part of these questions is that they really left me wanting more of the show. I can’t wait to dive into this mystery and learn about the very subtle magic in the world of Tangled.
Tangled: Before Ever After is a great start for this new series. It’s fully engaging with fantastic art, wonderful music and a story that will leave even adults wondering what will happen next. It’s exciting to see animation of such a high quality coming out of Disney and it’s great to see these fantastic characters brought back to life. If you haven’t yet watched Tangled: Before Ever After, I fully recommend you give it a shot!
Let me know what you guys thought of the show in the comments and if you have a prediction for what brought Rapunzel’s hair back in full force!