Last week I finally went and saw Tangled in 3D. I was expecting a cute, entertaining animated movie with hopefully a few laughs, but what I got was one of the best movies I've seen all year. It wasn't just because this precious gem of a movie brought me back to childhood (when I repeatedly watched Disney films--especially those with princesses involved and would pretend I was one of them) though it did, but it was mostly because everything about Tangled was just plain wonderful! From the hilarious moments (especially those involving a horse which you'll learn when you see the film) to the touching ones where I actually cried, this movie grabbed me and never let go till the very end. After it was over I felt so warm and satisfied. It was worth every penny of that pricey 3D ticket. My friends, I promise you that you don't have to be a youngster to see this film and truly enjoy it. That's what's so great about it. You can bring along your little daughter or niece and get just as much out of it as they do. As embarrassing it is for me to admit, I actually got a little crush on Eugene, the attractive love interest of Rapunzel's ; )
What this movie also made me realize after thinking about the deeper message behind it is that the theme of vanity is incredibly prevalent in many Disney films through the years, especially with the villain characters. In Snow White the evil queen asks her magic mirror on a regular basis for reassurance that she is the fairest in the land. In Beauty and the Beast the prideful prince has a spell cast on him turning him into a Beast till he can find someone who loves and accepts him for who he is. In Sleeping Beauty the evil witch Maleficent puts a coma-like spell on Princess Aurora after her 16th birthday because she feels threatened by her beauty, and because she didn't receive an invitation to her christening. In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (originally an epic Victor Hugo novel) the hunchback is cooped up in the cathedral tower after being deemed too ugly to look at by his evil master and later finds love and acceptance from the beautiful Esmerelda. And in Tangled (an updated version of the classic Rapunzel story, in case you haven't figured that out yet) Rapunzel is kidnapped by an evil vanity obsessed elderly women who knows that Rapunzel possesses magic hair that will keep you young and beautiful when you sing to it. She keeps Rapunzel locked up in a tower and visits her whenever she needs her youth fix. What can we take from all these cases of vanity gone too far? In almost every one of these stories, the beautiful princess or future princess doesn't take her beauty too seriously and doesn't even realize the full extent of it. She is so full of love of her family, or creature or fairy friends and wants to please them that her own beauty seems to be one of the last things on her mind. Looks don't matter to her and in the end, I think that is what makes her most beautiful and something we women, young and old, can all learn from.
Mandy Moore does an excellent job voicing Rapunzel in Tangled and I love what she recently said about dieting and body image at the Tangled press event in Disneyland:
"I'm not obsessive about dieting. If I want to have a burger and fries like I did the other night in the park, then I'm going to do that because that's okay. [There have been times] when it's the first thing on my mind all the time. I'm so affected and driven by that diet and what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising. I've just realized in time that if it's a constant thread in the background of my life, that's when I'm the happiest and that's when I feel the best about myself."
This is the healthy mindset I hope to develop one day and in my opinion, Mandy Moore has never looked better.
Lesson to take from the lovely animated Disney characters and the voice behind one of them? Vanity should be the last thing on our mind and when it is, that is when we are our most happiest and the most beautiful. Let's practice that starting today!