After delighting audiences at the box office, Disney’s “Tangled” comes home on March 29, 2011 on Blu-ray, DVD, and even in 3D, but while the film itself is dazzling and wildly entertaining, the home release leaves more to be desired.
This review of the “Tangled” home release will serve as a template of sorts for future Blu-ray/DVD reviews, with each separated into the same categories: Film Overview, Packaging, Video, Audio, and Bonus Features. These home release reviews will not contain full film reviews, as they are reviews of the products, not the movies. In this case, I have already previously reviewed “Tangled” when it was released to theaters in October 2010.
(Full Disclosure: Before I get to the review of the home version of “Tangled”, I must mention that Inside the Magic has recently been added to Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s review copy distribution list, so we’ll be featuring many more Blu-ray and DVD written reviews in the future, with “Tangled” as our first. Of course, I’ve been reviewing Disney releases for nearly 6 years now on our Inside the Magic podcast, and will continue to do so, including “Tangled” on Sunday’s show. But more frequent review copies will now allow me the chance to review even more of Disney’s home entertainment offerings, both here and on the podcast. And don’t worry, receiving these free copies will not influence my opinions of the releases.)
With all that out of the way, let’s get on with the review…
“Tangled” – Film Overview
“Tangled” is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 50th feature-length film and worthy of that significant milestone. The story is based on the classic Rapunzel fairy tale but modernized, presented with guitar music and sassy characters. It’s a true Disney fairy tale film for today’s audiences that successfully bridges the 2D hand-animated classic Disney films with today’s all-too-common computer-generated movies. But careful and vibrant color choices along with strong art direction and memorable songs not only make “Tangled” a successful film, but also allow it to translate wonderfully to be enjoyed at home for generations to come.
“Tangled” is available in a Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy combo pack, Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and on DVD. Packaging is similar for all three home release variations, featuring the movie’s main characters Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Maximus, and Pascal on the cover, but the 3D version offers the best box art with a lenticular 3D image on the sleeve.
Of course, you can’t tell it’s 3D from this picture, but the removable lenticular card shows off an impressive amount of depth, reaching “in” at least 5 layers deep. Big fans of “Tangled” may want to spend the additional $10 for this release even without owning a 3D Blu-ray player or TV, as the lenticular card would make an impressive framed collectible.
As with most computer-generated films, the “Tangled” home release features a stunning all-digital transfer. On both the Blu-ray and DVD versions, there are no flaws to be seen and with limited bonus features filling the discs (see below), the movie is presented with low compression, offering no noticeable artifacts. Colors pop, though some bright outdoor scenes seemed to suffer (to my eyes) from being slightly washed out. No blur is present in fast-moving scenes, offering a crisp view of the “Tangled” world throughout the film. Especially vibrant are Rapunzel’s pink dress and the glowing lanterns during the movie’s touching “I See the Light” scene.
I generally opt for 2D movies in theaters, especially for computer-generated films like “Tangled,” as I feel that the necessary polarized glasses used in 3D presentations severely darken the movie, muting the vibrant colors. When it comes to viewing 3D at home, “active shutter” glasses are generally used in place of polarized lenses, providing an overall sharper picture. Unfortunately, in the case of “Tangled,” the Blu-ray 3D does not totally deliver an adequate 3D experience at home. Watching on a 42″ 3D flat panel TV, I found the same familiar overall picture darkening, ruining a lot of the “pop” that “Tangled” has in its bright colors. Worse, the film oddly suffers from some visual noise suspended in 3D space as well as fairly severe ghosting during fast panning/motion shots (and even a few slower ones). For a computer-generated movie, I would have thought the 3D presentation would be nothing but crisp and clear, but found quite the contrary. The 2D Blu-ray presentation of the film, to my eyes, is superior.
On Blu-ray, “Tangled” is presented with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound and it takes advantage of the technology. Action scenes featuring Flynn Ryder running from galloping horses through the forest offer a perfect mix of exciting orchestration and numerous sound effects emerging from each speaker. The pounding of hooves rumble through the subwoofer as trees and shouts emerge from all directions. But even in quieter scenes, such as Rapunzel’s opening song “When Will My Life Begin,” offer an enjoyable surround mix, using subtle ambient sounds and reverberations to immerse viewers inside the film. Vocals are well balanced, placed squarely in the center channel, while music and sound effects dance around. For a film that relies heavily on stylized computer-generated visuals, the sound mix isn’t forgotten and backs up what’s on screen beautifully.
With “Tangled” featuring an Oscar-nominated song and receiving much critical acclaim at the box office, I expected more out of the home release’s bonus features. They’re quite few and far between, with the majority placed on the Blu-ray disc and only one on the DVD (which duplicates one of the Blu-ray extras).
The best feature is a brief look back at all of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 50 feature films, showing clips from each in a montage. It’s a short bonus feature that allows the audience to appreciate the scope of what Disney has accomplished through animation over more than 8 decades of moviemaking.
Beyond that one feature, the rest are fairly unmemorable and occasionally dull. Deleted scenes presented by the film’s directors are presented somewhat interestingly through story boards and computer-generated images in various stages of completion (wireframe, unlit, etc.), but ultimately the scenes drag on far too long and quickly become clear why they were indeed removed from the final cut of the film. The actual “making-of” bonus feature doesn’t actually show anyone making the film. Instead, stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levy host an over-produced segment with trivia and extremely brief information about how the film was made. The feature feels like it belongs on the Disney Channel as a promotion for the film, rather than a true “making-of” bonus feature. And given that so many talented artists and musicians worked on “Tangled,” it’s a shame to have so little of their work acknowledged.
“Tangled” is an excellent film that deserves to find a place into any Disney fan’s home library. The Blu-ray release is particularly stunning (when viewed in 2D), offering a beautiful high-definition transfer of the film with a pitch-perfect soundtrack. 3D is not required here for the most enjoyment. But fans looking to pull back the curtain and discover how “Tangled” came to be will be disappointed, with the home release providing almost none of the story behind the movie. Fortunately “Tangled” is such a great film that lackluster bonus features can’t weigh it down.
“Tangled” will be released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 29, 2011. If you enjoyed this review, support us pre-ordering it now by using one of our Amazon links below: