Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tangled's hidden messages: good or bad?

The children’s movie I chose to watch was Tangled. Tangled is a spin-off from the fairytale Rapunzel, and the main difference in the two plots is Tangled in cooperates a male as a protagonist alongside Rapunzel. The movie starts off telling the story of the kingdoms King and Queen who gave birth to a beautiful princess, Rapunzel. The Queen becomes sick right before birth and so the knights of the castle seek out to find a magic flower that belongs to a Witch. They steal the flower and heal the queen, giving Rapunzel magic hair once she is born. The Witch is enraged and kidnaps Rapunzel one night to use her magic hair to keep her young, telling the little girl she is her real mother. She traps Rapunzel in a tower that is far, far away, and tells her she is never allowed to leave. The male protagonist, Flynn, comes across the tower in a chase away from the Knights because he stole the princess’s crown. Rapunzel tells him he must take her to see the floating lights that are set off each year on her birthday, and she will return the crown. The movie shows the plot of getting to the floating lights and being reunited with her family, all while having to battle off the Witch.

There are both negative and positive aspects of this movie. Disney princess movies are sought to target young girls and teach good values and lessons while doing so. Rapunzel and the Witch share an abusive relationship that is not destructive in the classic way: The Witch is abusive verbally and clearly has belittled Rapunzel to serve only as her source of youth. It is important for Disney movies to start in cooperating negative relationships so little kids can recognize what is wrong with these situations.  Tangled accurately displays the abusive relationship between Rapunzel and her kidnapper, and this is something that should be done in more movies. Referring to the inserted picture below, when Rapunzel asks the Witch to leave the tower, she instantly becomes angry and breaks out into song about how "mother knows best." In the song she tries to make Rapunzel fear the outside world by saying things such as "cannibals and snakes, the plague, also large bugs, men with pointy teeth" and then begins to pick apart Rapunzel's appearance by telling her she is "gullible, naive, positively grubby, ditzy and a bit vague, plus, I believe gettin' kinda chubby." She belittles Rapunzel which is a verbally abusive way to insert her power and knowledge over her. I think if little kids can recognize this abusive behavior and be able to associate it negatively with the Witch, they won't perform this behavior. 
A negative aspect of this film is the gender-role stereotypes and almost all male cast. Flynn, the guy who finds Rapunzel's tower, fits the gender role of having to save the damsel in distress, Rapunzel, and then predictably falls in love with her in the end. Rapunzel fits the stereotype of a house wife, who depends on a man and who stays inside all day, baking and cleaning. Rapunzel really couldn't find a way out of the tower by herself??? She was locked in there for 18 years, with the Witch gone all day, and not once figured out a way to escape until Flynn came around. And even once she does finally leave, almost all the characters she encounters are all male. For example, in the second picture inserted below, Rapunzel and Flynn come across a pub filled with male vikings, who help Rapunzel on her journey in hiding from the Knights and the Witch. Its shocking to me how all the Knights, all the vikings, and the characters, such as the lizard, are all played by male roles. This only further lowers female importance in both the world and in film. 
I think overall this movie has a positive message for the young targeted audience. Rapunzel may need the help of a male to jump start her escape, but she pretty much forces him to help her, and in the end is able to fight the Witch and reunite with her family. The movie teaches more positive values than negative ones, other including friendship, ambition, and family. Rapunzel is able to win over any character she comes across because of her ambition to see the floating lights and her soft, loving personality. Plus the movie's in cooperation of a display of an abusive relationship gives more reality to it and issues that should be talked about. 
Image result for tangled tower scene with witchImage result for tangled pub scene

1 comment:

  1. Tangled is one of my favorite movies! It came out when I was a teen, and I noticed the negative messages right off the bat because I was older at that point. Sometimes you just have to look past the negative side and just think like a child would. I agree with you that the positive message stands out more and has more meaning.