Introduced as Disney's 50th animated feature film, this reimagining of Rapunzel is just familiar enough to draw us in and just new enough to surprise us. Of course they can't call it "Rapunzel" because maybe boys wouldn't buy tickets. In keeping with this new spin, the main character is a bandit named Flynn Ryder, who is also the narrator.

Here are some of the capable voices:
  • Mandy Moore ("American Dreamz"), is our cast-iron skillet-wielding heroine. I almost said she does a great job of acting, but it's animated, remember? The animation is very, very good, with subtle displays of emotion: a flash of guilt, a glint of defiance, great double takes, authentic reactions and all with a faint dusting of freckles on her nose.
  • Zachary Levi ("Chuck") is the bandit: clever, not too honest, and certainly NOT looking for someone to hinder his flight from justice (he stole a tiara from the palace). Levi's handsome animated character looks just like his real-life headshots!
  • Donna Murphy ("The Nanny Diaries") is the witch; she has told Rapunzel that she is her mother and that the outside world is a dangerous place. Murphy sings beautifully, but her animated character looks like a cross between Bebe Neuwirth and Cher.
Rapunzel is fascinated by a mysterious display of paper lanterns that float heavenward each year on her birthday; she sees them in the distance from her tower window and longs to experience them from "outside." Her trusty pal, a loyal chameleon, hangs on for dear life as she lowers herself from her tower; other than her "mother," this lizard has been her only living companion. Rapunzel's first encounter with cool green grass beneath her bare feet is exquisite, as are the lights when she finally views those lanterns from a rowboat.

It's fun to watch attraction slowly build between the two leads; they are both appealing to us from the start, but they are too busy to notice each other for quite awhile...

Some of the songs are entirely unnecessary, but Mother Knows Best, sung by the witch, is clever. There is absolutely no need to pay the premium price tag for 3D, this film depends on story and character- ization, not visual razzmatazz. I liked this one very much.