Tangled, Part 3

This is the third and final entry in my series of rants about the animated movie, Tangled. I liked the movie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t better. I believe it could have rivaled anything out of Pixar’s studio. Check out parts one and two, and keep in mind that there are spoilers ahead.

The Horse

Maximus, from Tangled

Maximus. Stalwart steed. When his human master fails to catch the thief, he carries on, doing a much better job than the incompetent guards can manage.

Until he decides to act like a dog.

This character (and he is a character whose actions further the story) was clearly intended for comic relief. He does that pretty well. My absolute favorite moment in the movie, when Flynn gleefully yells, “This is the strangest thing I’ve ever done!” would have been impossible without Maximus.

Tone It Down, Dawg

No, my complaint regarding Maximus is that they tried too hard to make him funny. By making Maximus a hypercompetent sidekick, they created — and took advantage of — numerous opportunities for brilliance. However, adding in dog-like behaviors was unnecessary and detrimental to the impact of his character.

Here we have a super-intelligent horse who is doing the job the king’s guard should be doing, and doing it well. He tracks Flynn with such determination that he seems to be constantly angry. Maximus’s deadly serious attitude is made all the funnier by the fact that the guards consider him just a riding mount. And indeed, when he takes off across the countryside alone he’s still wearing his riding gear, paying it no attention whatsoever.

Which is why it just kills me that when he finds Flynn, Rapunzel uses SIT! and it’s SUPER EFFECTIVE. What happened to the determination that drove him alone across the countryside?

How it Hurts

I’ll tell you what happened. What happened is that they needed him to stop chasing Flynn and help instead, so they changed his character partway through the movie at the drop of a hat.

I would much rather have seen Rapunzel charm Maximus into ceasing his quest with her singing. That, at least, would have lent more merit to the idea that Rapunzel’s singing activates the power of her magical sun hair. It would also have prevented Maximus from becoming just another momentary plot advancement device like the gecko. They had a good thing in Maximus and they ruined it to meet shallow, momentary ends instead of exploring how he could have added more depth to everything.

The End

And that concludes this three-part series. There are other, smaller things in the movie they could have tweaked to improve it, but they don’t warrant their own posts.

My best friend chided me for writing these in the first place. I don’t remember his exact words. It was something along the lines of, “I don’t see why you’re complaining so much about what was really a very good movie.” And he’s right in that it is a good movie. I won’t deny that.

I am just very frustrated about all the ways they could have tweaked it to make it a great movie. In a nutshell, the movie was far shallower than it could have been. They added in — or didn’t remove, I don’t know how the create process went — unnecessary elements that kept the movie from flowing tightly. Had they fixed that problem, the musical problems would still have been a shame. However, given the audience Disney plays to these days and that interest in musicals is dying, I probably wouldn’t have felt it worth complaining about on its own.

Anyway, despite my complaints, I do recommend you watch the movie if you haven’t seen it already. It is, after all, very good.

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