Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tangled Messages

            Tangled is unlike most Disney films that have been produced in the past and presents a more modern version of the classic fairytale. Although the film does have several cliché messages that most of the Disney films hold, the way they are presented is done in an effective way where the viewers of the movie, adults and children included, take away moral messages. A few potentially problematic messages are implied, but the good messages outweigh these by far.
            The most apparent cliché message in this film is that a girl has to be saved by a boy, particularly from a castle in this case. Flynn Rider, a thief, finds himself in this castle when he is trying to escape from people chasing him because he has stolen the princess’ crown. Rapunzel then gives him the proposition that if he takes her to see the floating lanterns that appear every year on her birthday, she will give him the crown back. This is unlike most Disney films where the prince willingly comes into the castle to save the princess. Rapunzel, the female lead, has full power and control, which remains throughout the entire film. It teaches girls that they are strong and are able to do whatever they want to in life. This leads to the next cliché message that one should follow their dreams.
            The entire journey that is shown in Tangled is Rapunzel trying to get to the castle so she can see the floating lanterns. On her journey, there is a time when she is trying to convince people not to take Flynn Rider away because he is helping her follow her dreams. The other characters that are depicted as mean sympathize with her and all share the stories of their dreams. A message is taught in this scene that everyone has a dream and people should be accepting of other peoples dreams and help them to achieve these dreams. This appeals to the argument of pathos because everyone in life has a passion for something that they want to pursue. While watching this movie, one may think of their dreams and be encouraged to follow them.
            The last major cliché message is that true love conquers all. In the last scene, Rapunzel starts to cry because Eugene is dying. Once her teardrop falls on his face, he gains consciousness and pronounces how he wants to be with her. Although this sends the false message to children that true love can save anything, it does teach the message that love will lead you to happiness. In the beginning of the film, Eugene is a thief and is only concerned about becoming wealthy and having a castle. By the end of the film however, he realizes that money cannot make you happy, only love can.
            Other moral messages that Tangled teaches its audience include finding courage within oneself, accepting yourself, and self-sacrifice/selflessness. Rapunzel has been locked in a tower for 18 years and does not know what to expect beyond those walls. She has to find courage within herself to step outside of her comfort zone and do what her heart tells her to do. Eugene teaches the audience to accept yourself for who you are. It is not until him and Rapunzel are about to die that he reveals his real name to Rapunzel and his background story of being adopted. Up until this point he has pretended that he is a very tough guy who only has the concern of becoming rich, not caring about other people’s feelings. When Eugene is dying at the end of the movie and believes that the only way he can be healed is through Rapunzel’s hair, he sacrifices his own life by cutting off Rapunzel’s hair so that she will not have to stay in the tower forever keeping the woman who raised her young. This teaches to put yourself before others and again emphasizes the fact that true love is what is important in life.
            “Good looks and sex appeal are compelling traits, predisposing us in favor of a given character”
(Giannetti 406). Rapunzel and Eugene, the good characters, are both attractive. Rapunzel has a tiny waist, big green eyes, and long blonde hair. Eugene is tall, dark, and handsome. The bad characters in the film “are played by actors who are made to look unattractive” (Giannetti 406). For example, the two thieves and thugs are depicted with unattractive features, including big noses, eye patches, missing teeth and hair, and being overweight. This could send a problematic message to children, appealing to the argument of logos, that attractive people are kind and will have their dreams come true, while unattractive people are mean and associated with bad behaviors.
            Overall, Tangled teaches several good messages while only having a few possibly problematic messages. Even though there are some cliché messages, the way that they are done is not in the typical fashion. They do not simply imply that just because you are pretty or have a dream you will get everything handed to you. It teaches that in order to be happy, achieve your dreams, and find love, you have to have courage, be selfless, and accept yourself for who you are. I rate Tangled with four slurpees because it teaches children major life lessons in a more realistic way than most movies do, but at the same time still having the fictional aspects that make it especially enjoyable and entertaining to watch.

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