Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tangled at Home: Beautiful But Slight

Tangled was a wonderful, refreshing surprise.  Defying expectations, it proved both a critical darling and a commercial success, affording Walt Disney Animation Studios a much needed boost to both reputation and credibility.  In our review published back in November, we called it a "visually stunning, cleverly written and eminently fun and entertaining animated film."

Tangled is even more spectacular when seen in a high definition home theater presentation, as now possible due to its Blu-Ray/DVD release this week.  It escapes the dim and occasional murkiness of what was a rather poor post-production 3D conversion process.  I can't speak to the quality of the Blu-Ray 3D presentation, but on traditional Blu-Ray, I believe it is now the bright, rich and vibrant film its creators had intended.

Unfortunately, the film is not nearly as well served with the remainder of its home entertainment bells and whistles.  Bonus features are slight and decidedly juvenile in nature.  Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale is brief, superficial and little more than a Disney Channel promotional piece.  Stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi trade jokes and trivia and mug for the cameras, but provide little to no substantial content relating to the making of the film.  Considering that Tangled was in development for close to a decade and pioneered some rather notable CG character animation, more could have been offered up to both mainstream viewers and animation enthusiasts alike.  Press materials called the feature "a kooky behind-the-scenes tour," seeming to indicate that nothing beyond that was truly warranted.  Deleted scenes, extended songs and alternate openings prove rather mundane and uninteresting.  Tangled Teasers is just a collection of commercials and Disney Channel promotional bits.  The 50th Animated Feature Countdown? A minute's worth of clips in a rather uninspired presentation. Glaringly absent is a production gallery, for which you would assume a veritable wealth of materials should have been available.  In comparison, the bonus features on last year's Princess and the Frog DVD set were much more substantial and well considered.

Another major disappointment relates to the packaging of the various DVD sets.  Disney has been a big proponent of the digital copy, but they have made a major misstep here in that regard.  No digital copy was included in the Blu-Ray+DVD combo pack.  A digital copy is in fact only available in the more expensive 4-disc combo pack that adds the Blu-Ray 3D version of the film.  Considering that the market penetration for Blu-Ray 3D is rather minimal right now, was this just a stupid decision or an obvious money grab?  As a consumer who always seeks out the digital copy editions for his gadget-loving family, I found this mystifying to say the least.

Tangled is just too darn good to discourage anyone from buying the DVD edition of the film.  But it deserves much better.  A simple question to Walt Disney Home Entertainment -- what happened?

Explore the 2719 Hyperion Archives:
Tangled: A Success in All But Name
Consider the Source: Radish Obsessions and a Blind Prince


Anonymous said...

"imminently fun"?

I think you mean "eminently". ;-)

Jeffrey Pepper said...

Corrected! Thanks!

Experiment 626 said...

No doubt there will be a "Special Uranium Edition" one of these days loaded down with at least some of the bonus features this movie deserves. Oh well; I'm not sorry I bough the current Blu-ray, because I can enjoy this great movie until that day arrives. I actually bought the 3D release, even though I don't have a 3D TV -- it has that nifty lenticular cover image, and I had a coupon that made it the same price as the regular Blu-ray.