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'Tangled' shines as golden family fun

In the somewhat confusing world of Disney animated movies these days, a movie based on the classic tale Rapunzel is called "Tangled."

That's where the muddled presentation ends, though.  This goldie locks yarn packs computer-generated vim, vocal vigor and spirited animal characters to go along with the familiar story of a beautiful girl with magical hair that measures 70-feet in length.

"Tangled," available in 3-D and traditional 2-D, is a robust comedy with romance the entire family can enjoy together.

Snatched by Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy), an evil women hoping to keep the secret of eternal youth all to herself, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) grows up in a tower in a secluded area of the forest.

Her parents, the king and queen, release floating lanterns in a desperate attempt to reach their kidnapped daughter each year on her birthday.   As that special day approaches to signal the start of her 18th year, Rapunzel lets down her hair and runs off with Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), a thief with a heart of gold as bright as Rapunzel's rather extended hair.

Co-directors Nathan Greno (getting his feature-film shot) and Byron Howard ("Bolt") take full advantage of Dan Fogelman's ("Bolt") briskly paced script.  There's more than a little of something for everyone.  Girls will love the fairy tale romance.  Boys are likely to delight in the action sequences, and parents can breathe easy knowing that Disney -- and more specifically these days, co-executive producer John Lasseter -- is going to keep everything in the family film arena.

Moore, who's been toiling in TV lately ("How I Met Your Mother," "Grey's Anatomy"), brings effervescence mixed with a teeny bit of rebellion to Rapunzel, which should have been the title character.

Animation film-makers must agonize over whether their vocal co-stars will generate the needed on-screen chemistry using only their vocal chords.  In this case, the directing duo had nothing to worry about.  Levi (as Flynn Rider), the title character of "Chuck" on TV, matches Moore syllable by syllable as the career thief who might just not be so bad after all.

Animated flicks often overdo their computer-generated animal sidekicks.  While that is the case somewhat with Rapunzel's overly cautious pet chameleon Pascal, Maximus, the duty-bound palace guard horse Maximus is a hoot.  

Actually, Maximus only looks like a horse.  He sniffs around for clues like a police dog.  It may sound like it would get overly tedious, but Maximus works to the maximum.

And so does "Tangled," despite its title change and rather one-dimensional story tone.

Gather up the family and treat yourself to the newest animated film delight.  I'm betting you'll be glad you did.


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