|i find this image both hilarious and creepy...|
watched September 9, 2012
As much as it is tempting to write this as an ode to my current celebrity crush and the voice of this film's hero Flynn Rider, I've decided maybe that's not the best way to use my second to last (I know, right?) review. Plus, I can always do that in another post later this week. hehe. ;)
After several years of wandering, Disney animation has finally arrived back at their sweet spot. Though Princess and the Frog was successful in its own right, it's Rapunzel and her flowing locks of hair that has won our hearts over. Flynn Rider too, of course. And his flowing locks of hair. And his smoulder... And... oh! Ahem. Excuse me.
It's a similar story to the last one, actually: a girl with a dream who meets a guy with a perhaps less admirable dream. They take a journey and in the process not only fall in love but discover that they have a new dream. Been there, done that.
But this film features another element missing from the past several films: a captivating villain. Rapunzel's relationship with Mother Gothel is deliciously complex and fascinating. Never have we seen this kind of villain, undoubtedly evil but with the capacity to feign kindness and care in a disturbingly manipulative manner. Though the audience is aware of her schemes, Rapunzel remains in the dark until the last few scenes. It's heartbreaking to see our heroine repeatedly fall prey to Gothel's deception.
And yet, this relationship strikes a familiar chord. The villain in our Story does not wear black robes and saunter around casting spells in broad daylight. (coughJafarcough!) Instead, like Mother Gothel, he pretends to be our friend, our confidant, the only one who truly knows what's best for us. He makes us value comfort and safety, as if that's how we were meant to live. When things don't go the way we think they will, he drives us back to him, promising he has answers. He hides us from the reality of a world where we bear the image of our Parent, where we are not only loved but given a place of honor. But all along, these are complete lies.
Even when Rapunzel at last sees Mother Gothel for who she is, she cannot break free from her grasp alone. That's where the hero comes in. His sacrifice enables her to finally be released from Gothel's bondage. He destroys the enemy even in his own death.
Like Rapunzel we live entangled in deception, in a tower of falsehood. But we also yearn for truth. Deep inside stirs a longing for more. Just as Rapunzel knew that the light of floating lanterns would somehow show her the truth, we also need to be exposed to the light. When we see that light--in the one who gave his life for us--the villain's power over us is lost. We're finally free.
I guess this still ended up being an ode to the hero. The Hero.