JAN / FEB 2014: BY LIANNE M. BERNARDO
Haven’t any of you ever had a dream?” Rapunzel asks a group of thugs hanging out in a tavern. In Disney’s Tangled the power, importance, and the fulfillment of dreams play an important role in Rapunzel and Flynn’s stories. She dreams of visiting the source of the floating lights she sees every year from her window. When Flynn Rider ends up at her tower, on the run from the king’s guards, she decides to take matters into her own hands and enlists him to help her achieve her dreams.
Seeing the floating lanterns up close is the one thing she wants the most. She even risks the irritation of her supposed mother, Gothel, to ask if they can go see it for her eighteenth birthday. Since childhood, Gothel has told Rapunzel stories about the “evil world” outside her tower and the people who would use her magical hair for selfish reasons. Rapunzel grows up not only sheltered but also frightened of the outside world. At the same time, she’s curious about this world and is more than prepared to set out beyond the confines of the stone tower. Her determination to realise her dream helps her overcome these challenges and feelings of uncertainty about the unknown and about herself.
Flynn is a drifter and a rogue when he meets Rapunzel. He’s quite a charmer, with plenty of clever one-liners but he’s also rather cynical and jaded; he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t like talking about his past, and he doesn’t trust Rapunzel’s sincerity or her word. Early in their adventure he tries to persuade her out of their agreement of taking her to see the floating lanterns in exchange for the satchel containing a tiara he and his companions stole from the castle. But when the façade drops, Flynn is revealed as a daydreaming orphan longing to escape his circumstances. Unfortunately, this desire led him to a life of thievery. His time with Rapunzel helps him look beyond what he knows and has experienced towards the possibilities that exist around him.
In setting out to actualize her dreams, Rapunzel and Flynn grow and change as individuals. By venturing out of the tower, Rapunzel not only meets a variety of different people (many of whom have dreams of their own and bear no ill-will towards her) and experiences new things but also learns the truth about her parents and reunites with them. Her experiences out in the world make her stronger as a person, more self-assured. When she confronts Gothel about her lies, she’s no longer timid and easily persuaded; Rapunzel knows her own mind and is now capable of deciding what she wants.
Flynn also changes thanks to Rapunzel’s company. Not only does he begin to view life and the world around him from her wondrous perspective, he also begins to act more considerately towards others. He starts to truly dream again for himself by envisioning his redemption and a future with Rapunzel—to put an end to all “those years living in a blur.” He even opens up about himself and his past and sheds his fake name in preference for his real name, Eugene Fitzherbert.
Along the way, Rapunzel ponders an important question about the pursuit of dreams: once the dream is fulfilled, what then? Is life effectively over, the peak of it being the actualization of that dream? The prospect is just as terrifying as starting that journey towards making her dreams a reality. Flynn’s answer to this question is both poignant and true: “Well, that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”
Tangled is not only a fun action-adventure, a sweet romance and an interesting take on the Rapunzel fairytale, it’s also an introspective look at the power of dreams and how important they are in shaping our lives. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, where you are in your life or what you’ve gone through, dreams enable us to focus, aspire towards endless greater possibilities, better our lives and live them to the fullest. Rapunzel and Flynn’s story shows that not only can dreams come true, but that we have the capacity to fulfill them so long as we believe in them and in ourselves. ♥