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Tangled: Before Ever After DVD Review

Disney's Tangled Before Ever After DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Tangled: Before Ever After
Movie & DVD Details

Directors: Tom Caulfield, Stephen Sandoval / Writer: Jase Ricci

Voice Cast: Zachary Levi (Eugene Fitzherbert), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Eden Espinosa (Cassandra), Clancy Brown (King Frederic), Julie Bowen (Queen Arianna), Laura Benanti (Lady Caine), Jeffrey Tambor (Big Nose), MC Gainey (Captain of the Guard), Sean Hayes (Pete the Guard), Diedrich Bader (Stan the Guard), Jess Harnell (Pocket), Kevin Michael Richardson (Otter), Alan Dale (The Vicar)

Original Air Date: March 10, 2017 / Running Time: 57 Minutes / Rating: TV-Y7

Songs: "Life After Happily Ever After", "Wind in My Hair", "Wind in My Hair Reprise"

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled and Captioned
DVD Release Date: April 11, 2017 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

Buy Tangled: Before Ever After from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

Compared to the colossal numbers subsequently put up by Frozen and Zootopia, Tangled doesn't seem like a game changer for Walt Disney Animation Studios. But it kind of was. The 2010 film, released the same year as Pixar's Toy Story 3 and DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon, was Disney Animation's first real blockbuster since Lilo & Stitch eight years earlier. The studio had experienced some success in reviving their famous tradition of musical fairy tales
in the primarily live-action Enchanted (2007) and the traditionally animated The Princess and the Frog (2009).But Tangled married Disney's signature magic with picturesque computer animation, a medium that they had spent the previous five years trying to get the hang of to mixed results (Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt). Tangled seemed to crack the code for Disney: a short title free of princess name (so as not to scare off boys), an irreverent and misleading marketing campaign evoking Shrek, and Pixar-quality visuals but with heart, humor, music, and whimsy more akin to Disney's beloved Renaissance works like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

Tangled didn't even land a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination in the last year that category only supported three nominees. But it was well-liked by the public and its box office numbers ($200 million domestic, nearly $600 million worldwide) paved the way for Frozen, Moana, and, perhaps in some way, the behemothic live-action Beauty and the Beast remake that just joined the billion dollar club.

Were it released ten years earlier, Tangled would have spawned a direct-to-video sequel. As a product of John Lasseter's reign, though, the film has instead sparked a short film (Tangled Ever After), a Cruise Line musical, and, most recently, Disney Channel's "Tangled: The Series." To launch that new half-hour series, Disney broadcast Tangled: Before Ever After, a one-hour television movie of sorts functioning as a series pilot.

In "Tangled: Before Ever After", Rapunzel's long blonde hair returns and is once again impervious to scissors, though lady-in-waiting Cassandra tries them.

Set six months after she cut her hair, Before Ever After sees Rapunzel about to be coronated in the kingdom of Corona. Eugene Fitzherbert, whom you may remember better as Flynn Rider, proposes to the now short-haired, brunette princess. But to see the world, she sneaks off with her lady-in-waiting Cassandra, obviously set up to be a series regular, and encounters a rocky spire that restores Rapunzel's long, flowing magical blonde hair. Of course. Could you have anything Tangled without that?!

Before sees original voice actors Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprising their leading roles. It even serves up a few new songs from the film's original music team of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. The animation by Canada's Mercury Filmworks is 2D, although that doesn't quite mean "traditional" or "hand-drawn."
Resembling children's storybook illustrations, the visuals find a middle ground between the original film's somewhat photorealistic CG and the easygoing tone you expect of a Disney Channel series. This one carries a TV-Y7 rating, which puts it somewhere between Disney Junior fare and tween-oriented primetime 'toons like "Phineas and Ferb" and "Gravity Falls."

At 57 minutes with credits, Before is slight and does not feel like a full-fledged movie, let alone one that is given the branding of a Disney Channel Original Movie, a class that has largely vanished in the past couple of years. As such, this does really not invite comparison to the original film or even the direct-to-video sequels. Perhaps it's most comparable to those sequels that were essentially TV series pilots, like the forgotten Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins and Hercules: Zero to Hero that seem unlikely to come to Blu-ray (or in Zero to Hero's case, even DVD) soon, if ever. But Before Ever After is made with more love for and fidelity to the original Tangled than those Saturday morning cartoons were.

A month after airing, Tangled: Before Ever After hit DVD this week.

Rapunzel only sports the short brown hair with which we last saw her in the opening scenes of "Tangled: Before Ever After."

VIDEO and AUDIO

Not surprisingly, Disney didn't bother with a Blu-ray release, but the DVD's feature presentation is fine by that format's standards. Obviously a direct digital transfer, the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound leave nothing to be desired, other than the higher resolution of high definition. The picture is colorful, sharp, and free of any concerns. Though surprisingly devoid of dubs, the disc does include English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.

Pascal and Maximus play chess in the Tangled short cut "Checkmate." Rapunzel struggles to make Old Scowley Crowley smile in "Make Me Smile."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Before Ever After is joined by four Tangled Short Cuts shorts, that apparently will soon air on Disney Channel.
These are very short and animated in a style resembling the TV series and feature presentation.

"Checkmate" (2:33) sees Pascal and Maximus engaging in a spirited game of chess. "Prison Bake" (2:22) tells the story of how one of those pub drinking thugs used baked goods to bust his friends out of jail. "Make Me Smile" (2:32) finds Rapunzel trying to put a smile on the face of Old "Scowley" Cowley. "Hare Piece" (2:27) has Rapunzel trying to keep an eye on an elusive bunny. They're fun little bits you won't think long about. Seems kind of silly Disney didn't go ahead and also include Tangled Ever After, the theatrical short that preceded the 3D rerelease of the animated Beauty and the Beast in theaters. (There was more than enough disc space to accommodate it here.)

The disc opens with a trailer for Born in China. The Sneak Peeks menu runs promos for Disney Movie Rewards, "Elena of Avalor", and Descendants 2, before repeating the Born in China trailer.

Rapunzel blinks and thinks on the lightly animated Tangled: Before Ever After DVD main menu.

Rapunzel blinks and thinks on the scored, barely animated main menu. The disc is equipped with FastPlay for hands-free automatic playback of the feature,
the bonus shorts, and the sneak peeks.

With DVD sales having slowed so much, Disney doesn't pull any punches in the packaging. The black keepcase is topped by an extensively embossed slipcover. Inside, we not only find the white disc, a Disney Movie Rewards code, and a Disney Movie Club ad. We also find the exclusive replica Rapunzel's Journal promised by a slipcover sticker. It's nicer than you might expect it to be given the DVD's low SRP. The thin booklet features an artsy faux leather exterior and is joined by a charm string with a little bit of Rapunzel hair which instructions direct you to thread through a metal grommet.

Eugene Fitzherbert, whom you might remember as Flynn Rider, proposes to Rapunzel but gets shot down in "Tangled: Before Ever After."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If you go into Tangled: Before Ever After expecting the launch of a television series and not an actual sequel on par with the original film, you should be pleased. This slight but diverting spin-off is worth a viewing for those who like the original and for those who think it has potential as a half-hour 2D-animated series.

Buy Tangled: Before Ever After from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Moana Lion Ghost in the Shell (Anime Steelbook) The Secret Life of Pets
Tangled Tangled Ever After (Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection)
The Little Mermaid The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea The Princess and the Frog
Toy Story of Terror! Descendants Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins

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Reviewed April 15, 2017.



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