Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Pascal and all their friends have returned in Tangled: The Series, which debuted with a Disney Channel Original Movie on March 10th. That premiere special is being released on DVD on April 11th and if you didn’t know better, you might think Tangled: Before Ever After was a direct-to-video sequel. The packaging hides the fact that this is a 60-minute TV special unless you read the fine print on the back.
However, let’s be clear that Tangled: The Series and this debut movie are quality productions. Tangled fans might be a little taken aback at first by the Flash animation, but if you pay attention you will soon discover that it’s in the style of Rapunzel’s paintings from the film. It’s an impressive result and I really appreciate what the creative team did.
The best part of the special is the two new songs written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. “Wind in My Hair” is Rapunzel’s big ballad, which gets a reprise at the end and becomes the series theme song. The story begins with “Life After Happily Ever After,” which is sung by Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, and Rapunzel’s father King Frederic.
Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi have returned to voice Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, who now goes by his real name, Eugene Fitzherbert. The special and the series that follows takes place immediately after the original animated film, but before the short Tangled Ever After. As part of the plot, Rapunzel accidentally regains her long flowing locks, which feels a little forced and is counterproductive to the message of the original film, but it works for this TV adventure.
Without Mother Gothel as a villain, the series introduces a host of new baddies, lead by the mysterious Lady Kane. These new criminals were locked up in the wake of Rapunzels abduction when her father cracked down a little too hard on crime. Now freed, they are all ready to enact their revenge. And her father becomes somewhat of an antagonist himself as his overbearing need to protect his daughter makes her feel trapped and gives her a need to escape into the world to have adventures, almost parallel to the way she felt under Gothel’s care.
Disney has done a fantastic job adapting Tangled to the small screen and it reminds me of my childhood when The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King all had animated series on the Disney Afternoon. I’m thrilled to see Disney Channel return to this type of storytelling and it makes me excited to see what they do with Big Hero 6, which is being adapted for television as well.
4 Tangled Short Cuts
- Checkmate (2:32) – Pascal has to work very hard to get Maximus to play chess with him.
- Prison Bake (2:22) – Attila recounts how his passion for breaking occurred when he needed to break his buddies out of jail.
- Make Me Smile (2:32) – When Rapunzel discovers a villager who never smiles, she is determined to bring her joy.
- Hare Peace (2:27) – Rapunzel offers to care for a villager’s bunny, but the two don’t get along very well.
There’s also a physical bonus, described as an “Exclusive replica of Rapunzel’s Journal.” It’s made to look like leather and features Rapunzel’s artwork on the outside, plus the first few pages have been completed by her with words and images relevant to Tangled: Before Ever After. The rest of the journal is blank so kids can fill in their own adventures. There is a charm on a string which needs to be tied on, but instructions are included.
Packaging & Design
Tangled: Before Ever After comes in a standard black DVD case, housed inside a holofoil embossed slipcover. Inserts include a code worth 100 points from Disney Movie Rewards, a flier for Disney Movie Club, and the aforementioned journal, which is sealed in cellophane and affixed to a sturdy card to keep it safe.
This disc uses Disney FastPlay, which can be bypassed via the menu button. If you let it run its course, it starts with an ad for Disneynature Born in China before the feature and shorts play. After that, it plays additional ads for Disney Movie Rewards, Elena of Avalor, and Descendants 2.
Tangled: Before Ever After returns viewers to Rapunzel’s world for a fun new adventure, told in the style of her wall art. With memorable new music by Alan Menken, the star voices from the film reprising their roles, and fun new adventures, this TV special does a great job setting the tone for the series that follows. I’m excited to follow Rapunzel on all of her adventures, and now you can appreciate the series’ launch again and again on Disney DVD.