Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tangled: Death of the Fairy Tale?

Many critics hate on Disney for the industry's appropriation of what are known has cherished, cultural and historical tales. For taking the original fairy tales and turning them into "castrated specters of their former selves." Or so says the author of Tangled and the Death of the Disney Fairy Tale (Elena Nola), who claims that fairy tales are of no use to us now, that "we have outlived their usefulness as parables."

But I disagree. To the fullest extent. Fairy tales have and always will be an insight into the human existence, a universe in miniature (as Lüthi says), and a cultivation of our fears, hopes, and morality that is transparent both through time and culture.

First things first, if the main complaint is that Disney altered the tales, then you might have some beef with the Brothers Grimm themselves. I can guarantee that between the Grimms' original Ölenberg Manuscript and their 7th and final edition of Kinder und Hausmärchen, there are some glaring differences between plots, characters, and motifs.

But I am not saying this to bash on the Brothers Grimm. I truly believe that they captured a relic of German culture/social reality and made it their own; deservingly labeling themselves in the name of fairy tales, now and forever.

My point however is one simple word... Zeitgeist!ärchen_(Grimm)_1840_I_A_001.jpg

Now lets talk about this in reference to "Rapunzel" and "Tangled." Nola claims that "Tangled" was the last straw for Disney. That the film crosses into the hopelessness for society's need for cherished parables and undying motifs, because the only thing left for us to fear is fear itself.

In the original tale of "Rapunzel" by the Brothers Grimm, the story portrays the the full length maturation of a girl. Rapunzel is born and locked in a tower when she turns 12 (a pivotal age in female maturation). She then meets a prince (who she initially is frightened of) and they fall in love. However, after she becomes pregnant, she is  banished to a desolate land. But the happy end holds true once her prince finds her again. Not only does the story follow the line of female maturation, but exemplifies the fact that it cannot be stopped. No tower too tall, no evil too strong; we must all grow up.

Another motif is the value of knowledge and exploration. It is not until Rapunzel gains the knowledge of the outside word that she is happy. When she can finally leave her isolation and begin her life.

"Tangled" may have deviated from the original "Rapunzel," but similar motifs hold true; motifs that exemplify societies need for a parable look to the past. The main theme in the film is indeed the fear of fear itself. But is that not worthy of attention?

In today's society there is a parental obsession to shelter children. To lock them in towers, and tell them they're special and need protection from the dangers of the outside world. Tangled shows us that this is wrong. We NEED the knowledge and exploration that comes with growing up. Kids need to get in trouble, go on a dangerous adventure, have their heart broken, and enjoy all the pain and anguish that comes along with it. Because that's what makes you into a strong and accomplished adult. We are robbing kids of their childhood by shunning them into the oblivion of security. But "Tangled" reminds us, through the use of a common story, a cherished relic, a timeless tale, that society needs a blast to the past in order to cherish the future.

The underlying themes and motifs of the Grimms' fairy tales are universal and though the Zeitgeist is constantly changing, humanities need for their values doesn't.

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