Getting a toddler to sit still through a full-length movie is enough of a challenge as it is. Without a movie screen full of color and action, it’s a lost cause. That’s why a top parenting tip is to know how good a movie is for toddlers and young kids above and beyond whatever rating the movie gets.
Movie ratings like G and PG and PG-13 are all based on what is “appropriate” for children. The criteria for a G rating or PG rating are fuzzy at best and arbitrary at worst. Either way, just because a movie has no violence, swearing or naked body parts doesn’t mean it’s a good movie for kids. There are a lot of more important things for savvy parents to worry about when taking their kids to see a movie that they have not seen before.
Is Tangled A Good Movie For Small Children or Toddlers?
The good news is that the new Disney movie Tangled is a good film for kids in many ways. It is bright and colorful, as well as full of action. As an added bonus, there is consistent screen time for two lovable cartoon animals, which often go over better with younger kids than the main human characters do.
<Spoiler Alert — This discussion includes plot points and gives away the end of the movie>
The only violence in MOST of the film is “cartoon violence” and consists primarily of falls, tackles, and an occasional punch. There are two big exceptions. The important one is at the end where the false mother that has imprisoned Rapunzel stabs the main character and he dies before being brought back by a magic tear. Of course, the stabbing happens off-screen and blood soaked clothing is shown only momentarily.
The other main violence is smacking various characters in the head with frying pans who, of course, are none the worse for the wear after being woken back up. The reason this matters is that most homes have a frying pan and some kiddos might get the wrong idea. If you already have your youngsters fully on the no hitting train, then this is probably not going to shake them up. If you have trouble with little Johnny or Susie grasping the concept of not hitting people with sticks and toys, then there is the suggestion that hitting with a pan is both funny and not harmful, so you’ll need to have a talk after that.
Good Guys and Bad Guys
The trickiest part about Tangled is the concept of good guys and bad guys.
Many younger kids and certainly toddlers are just beginning to get their heads around the idea that not everyone is good (in the movies at least). This is part of growing up and a critical component of true trust. However, most young kids are comfortable with one villain who they can write off as the bad guy.
Tangled makes this tough because the lead male character, Flynn Rider, starts the movie as a thief having robbed the palace of what turns out to be the crown worn by the missing princess Rapunzel when she was a baby. That means he is an outlaw and chased by soldiers and by one of the soldier’s horses, Maximus. (He’s one of the two animals.)
Rapunzel is good through and through. Her mother is evil and selfish, and the actual bad guy for the movie. However, young children will have trouble with the soldiers who they are likely to lump into the “bad” camp because they are chasing Flynn.
Older kids will be able to catch the subtlety that Flynn is not a bad guy and that he really isn’t a thief at heart. He even admits as much during the film. For younger kids who want Flynn and Rapunzel to be the good guys and everyone trying to stop them that’s a tough distinction to grasp, even with plenty of help from Mom and Dad. Be prepared to have to let it go. Kids this age don’t need to be confused further about who is good or bad.
Is Tangled Any Good?
If you’re an adult looking for a movie, Tangled is not for you. This isn’t on the level of The Lion King or Beauty and Beast, and certainly not of the Finding Nemo or Monsters Inc. caliber.
There are plenty of funny one-liners, the movie never really gets slow, and the dialog and story are fine enough to keep adults from rolling their eyes. However, this is a long Disney Channel cartoon more than anything.
The most bothersome part of the movie is that the characters blurt out into song (it’s a musical) in very artificial and an almost forced manner. For adults who know how movies (and even musicals) are supposed to flow, it is very jarring, but youngsters won’t notice. In addition, these are not the lovable, catchy tunes from Beauty and the Beast. Your four-year old won’t end up singing any of these songs unless Disney mounts a multi-year campaign to force them into every CD, TV series, Disney on Ice performance, and musical special they produce.
That may actually be a good thing 🙂
Take your kids, they’ll like it and you will like taking them to it. Just don’t round up your friends for a night out to see Tangled. It’s for kids, not for kids of all ages.