Comparing and Contrasting “Tangled” to “Rapunzel”
Tangled, released by Disney in 2010, is arguably the film with the biggest disparity between the original Grimm version and the movie. The differences arise from the very beginning in the movie. The first difference is about how Mother Gothel obtained Rapunzel in the first place. In the Brothers Grimm original version, the wife forces her husband to jump into the enchanted garden and take some rapunzel for her to eat. The next time the husband tries to steal from the garden, a fairy berated him for his thievery. She made a deal with the husband, that she could have their soon-to-be-born child in exchange for food in the garden. The movie describes a very different exchange; Mother Gothel steals Rapunzel from her bedroom in the palace, and takes her into the forest to a high tower. Disney decided to have Mother Gothel steal Rapunzel in order to create disdain and hatred toward her character, so people (children) can more easily recognize the villain.
The second salient difference is of Rapunzel’s interactions with the male character. I use the term male character because in the original version he is a prince and in the movie he is a their or bandit of sorts. Rapunzel is initially introduced to the prince because she is singing and he happens to stumble upon the tower. Rapunzel lets down her hair to pull him up, and then, in true fairy tale tradition, fall in love and decide to get married. Their plans are rudely interrupted when Mothel Gothel returns, causing the prince to jump down from the tower and blind himself. In “Tangled” the bandit, Flynn Rider is running through the forest when he finds the tower. Flynn ascends the tower and then is taken hostage by Rapunzel, whom eventually accepts a deal to take Rapunzel to the annual ceremony of lights. Through Flynn and Rapunzel’s adventures, the motif of women needing male assistance is prevalent. Rapunzel is basically hopeless without him, even though she thinks so highly of herself.