I finally started to see the series a couple of months ago. I had seen the first special and the first episode a long time ago but hadn’t been able to see the rest of the show yet. Now that I’ve seen pretty much all of it, I’ll give my opinion on it. I’ll divide my opinions into two different category’s. Pros and Cons. At the end, I’ll let you know whether or not I love it, like it, indifferent to it, or hate it. I’m sure you’ll be able to guess how I feel before then though. 😉 Here it goes:
THE OVERLYING PLOT/WRITING
I applaud Shane Prigmore and Chris Sonnenburg for the fore thought and planning they have done for this show. Most of the time, when Disney gives a movie its own TV show, the series tends to be lacking. To fair, it is usually meant for a very young audience. But it’s still nice to see a lot of forward thinking, foreshadowing, and planning involved with this.
If it is true that the series was completely planned out from the get-go, you can really tell. The main overall plot of the show involves the Black Rocks and it’s introduced from the beginning. Not every episode revolves around or even speaks about the Black Rocks. This a good thing. It slowly builds up complexity and intrigue up until the Season 2 Finale. In fact, there’s still a ton of questions since the characters are still in the dark about certain things and thus so are we. When the show isn’t revealing more on the Black Rocks, we get character development for Rapunzel, Eugene and Cassandra. And, more importantly, their relationship with each other.
*MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILER* Straining Cassandra and Rapunzel’s relationship a few episodes before Destinies Collide – the Season 2 Finale – was another great move. The friendship was understandably strained. There wasn’t anything stupid about it even though I hold unto the fact that Cass was more in the right then Rapunzel.
CASSANDRA AND EUGENE’S PLATONIC RELATIONSHIP
One of my favorite things about the show is the relationship between Cass and Eugene. There are characteristics about each other they find annoying but in the end they do love each other. They do argue and insult one another but it’s not over the top and usually it’s fun. It feels much like a realistic older brother-younger sister type of relationship. Frenemies, really.
It’s well-written, well-performed and funny.
THE VOICE ACTORS
Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Zachary Levi (Eugene), Eden Espinosa (Cassandra) and Jeremy Jordan (Varian) do absolutely amazing jobs. An honorable mention goes to James Monroe Iglehart (Lance).
Mandy Moore really elevates Rapunzel even though the writing can be lacking at times (more on that later). Jeremy Jordan also elevates Varian. When he was pleading for Rapunzel’s help for his dad, you couldn’t help but feel an overflow of sympathy. The acting pushed the emotions just right – not tamed but not overdone.
But a well-deserved, massive applause to Zachary Levi’s Eugene with a close second to Eden Espinosa’s Cassandra. Levi’s depiction of Eugene is unmatched. He adds energy and colors to his lines – even to the normal ones. Yes, Levi gets a lot of well-written material, but I just can’t imagine anyone else doing Eugene Fitzherbert.
Espinosa should get tons of credit too. She also gets well-written material but she performs the character with such heart and emotion. She does a superb job. This actress deserves more attention in her career.
Espinosa and Levi are especially fun to listen to when they are together. One of the best scenes they did was when Eugene was asking Cass questions to learn more about her when they were locked in a cell together. This was when Rapunzel locked them in there in hopes of forcing them to get along better (Cassandra vs. Eugene). Their performance of Eugene and Cassandra being frenemies really sells. The funniest moments often come when those two are bickering.
Can I just say the animation is so pleasing to watch? It’s very charming. The animators do a tremendous job. One of my favorite scenes – the voice acting and animation combined – came from Pascal’s Story. I’ll just post a link here. You’re welcome.
The animation of the show is just … amazing. The animation really brings the characters to life. Every expression matters and feels right according to each character.
RAPUNZEL’S PERSONALITY SUFFERS
Don’t get me wrong. I love Rapunzel. She has some great moments in the show. But I feel like she’s slightly different here then in the movie. The dialogue, not Mandy Moore, sometimes comes across a little Twilight Sparkle-y. In other words, she’s almost always telling everyone what they have learned or should learn. She’s a little too perfect at times.
Every now and then, Rapunzel feels a bit like a Mary Sue. She especially came across that way in Challenge of the Brave. There’s no way Rapunzel should’ve been able to compete with Cassandra or any of them for that matter. Sure, Rapunzel’s probably been getting some training but she wouldn’t have gotten far yet. It takes time to develop fighting instincts and hone your abilities. Cassandra had been training her whole life.
This is a minor one but I find this character’s existence annoying. I think he’s meant to be comedic relief but he’s not. That’s the only explanation I can think of for his supporting character role in Season 2. The constant drunk grates on my soul. I wish they’d punt him out of the series.
THE “I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF” THEME
I have no problem with Rapunzel having mad defensive skills – especially later on when she would’ve had more training. I have no problem with her being smart and leading an expedition. My problem is when she states, “I don’t need someone keep me safe.”
We see this again when her dad, who thinks he’s about slip out of Eugene’s hand and plummet to his death, tells Eugene to take care of Rapunzel. What does Eugene say?
“We are going to get you out of this! Besides … you should know by now Rapunzel doesn’t need anyone to take care of her.”
I have two major problems with this line.
1. *ahem* You don’t reprimand a FATHER who thinks he’s about to die when he voices concern for his daughter!
2. That’s not what he meant, you nitwit! He’s not asking you to pay her bills for her and to make sure she brushes her teeth every night. NO ONE MEANS THAT WHEN THEY ASK SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF SOMEBODY THEY LOVE. What he means … be there for her. Stand by her side when life gets tough. Comfort her when the sorrows of this life happens.
The “I’m totally and utterly independent” lesson is pushed too far. Every human being, male or female, needs someone to be there for them aka someone to take care of them. When you’re the princess, you will always need someone to keep you safe. That’s called a bodyguard, honey. There’s no need to be taking unnecessary risks. Like horse-jumping over a valley of Black Rocks.
What if Rapunzel is about to do something unwise? Someone needs to tell her. Someone who cares enough to inform her of the risks of her potential decision. What if, the writers forbid, Rapunzel’s parents die? Doesn’t she need someone to be there for her? To comfort her? Isn’t that another form of taking care of someone?
No human being should be completely independent. At times, it feels like this is what the show is pushing for. I don’t think the writers intended for their lesson to come across this way but I think they should be a bit more mindful of their tone.
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons. The show targets a younger audience but it doesn’t sell them short. Adults will like this show especially us nerds and geeks. The writing, the acting, and the animation all work together in harmony. I highly recommend it to any Disney or fantasy enthusiast.
I give this show 4.5 stars out of 5. I’m really looking forward to Season 3. I can’t wait!
I literally just made a Tangled Theory video so please be sure to check it out. Beware! There are MAJOR spoilers in it.