Tangled ★★★★½

Disney’s fiftieth animated feature film is surprisingly engrossing, funny, occasionally moving, and delightfully satisfying. I had a stupid smile on my face for most of the movie’s 100-minute running time.

The two protagonists of the story, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, are genuinely likable. Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse do what any good animal sidekick should do: they support their friends and provide plenty of laughs for the viewer. Interestingly, Mother Gothel turns out to be a more complex character than expected by virtue of not being defined only by her villainous qualities. Last but not least, the colorful characters at the Snuggly Duckling pub are hilarious.

"Tangled" features striking visuals (I haven’t seen the 3D version), beautifully exemplified by a spine-tinglingly great and memorably touching scene in which numerous lanterns float into the air. The characters’ body language and facial expressions are almost perfectly captured, effectively conveying meaning without using words. Thankfully, the songs are naturally integrated into the narrative instead of coming across as forced.

After the climax, I briefly wondered whether directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and screenwriter Dan Fogelman would have the audacity to not give the proceedings a happy ending. It didn’t seem out of the question, at least not at that time. However, it is understandable that the filmmakers choose not to go down that road, and the movie certainly earns the right to end on a high note.

As is generally the case with movies from Disney, the first-rate voice acting in "Tangled" plays an important role in making the film a success. Molly Sandén and Måns Zelmerlöw enthusiastically provide the Swedish voices of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, respectively; I don’t doubt that Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do an equally excellent job in the original-language version.