Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
With another wild-haired royal at the helm (and only one-tenth of Tangled’s wit, charm, and stereoscopic invention), Pixar’s latest amounts to little more than Rapunzel redux. What begins as a standard Disney fairy princess outing takes a turn for the better halfway through, when a magic spell converts one of the film’s characters into an creature whose plush representation should be a big seller at Toys "R" Us. Sadly, it’s too little, too late as directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman do nothing to exploit the Freudian possibilities inherent within the metamorphosis. Fans of classic Disney will rejoice in a dancing broom reminiscent of Fantasia and a woodcarving witch who functions as Grandma Geppetto, but imitation has never before been Pixar’s stock-in-trade. We are spared the usual glut of excruciating songs -- and Kelly Macdonald is the only actress alive capable of doing Merida’s voice justice -- but this marks Pixar’s second clinker in a row. Featuring the vocal talents of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, and Robbie Coltrane. 2012.