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Why For: Even more storytelling secrets from Disney's "Tangled"

Why For: Even more storytelling secrets from Disney's "Tangled"

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Ever since JHM's "Where to Find the Easter Eggs in Disney's "Tangled' " article went up on Monday, a lot of readers have reached out. Eager to share their ideas about where other hidden Disney references can be found in this acclaimed animated feature.

Some folks are insisting that the wild boar which can sometimes be spotted in those crowd scenes at the Snuggly Duckling ...


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... is actually Pumbaa from "The Lion King."


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Well, while I'll grant you that - from certain angles - this character does look rather Pumbaa-like ...


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... according to the folks at WDAS that I reached out to yesterday (And I can assure you that these people actually did work on Disney's "Tangled") this wild boar isn't some sort of sly wink to "The Lion King." He's just a character that was added to the Snuggly Duckling sequence because the story guys thought it would be funny if the thugs let beasts of the forest & farm animals just wander free inside of their bar.

Speaking of farm animals ... That goat which Flynn eyeballs during "I Have a Dream" ...


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... wasn't deliberately added to this animated feature because the artists wanted to pay tribute to that dynamite-chewing goat which you can spy while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.


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Nor was this farm animal folded into this film because the animators were huge fans of the "Lonely Goat Herd" number from "The Sound of Music."


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No, this weird looking goat character pops up in "I Have a Dream" because the "Tangled" production team just thought that this farm animal would get a laugh. Especially if it were to suddenly pop up in close proximity to Flynn.

Which isn't to say that - if you look hard enough in "Tangled" 's "I Have a Dream" sequence - that you won't find more hidden Disney references. Take - for example - the backdrop that's directly behind Hook Hand as he stands on stage.


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According to WDAS staffers that I spoke with yesterday, the image on this backdrop is actually a background painting from Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Likewise if you look closely at the 5 newel posts on the staircase in Rapunzel's tower ...


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... you'll notice that each of these posts has a symbol painted on it which then represented a different Disney Princess. With the bottommost post featuring an apple for Snow White ...


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... while the topmost newel post ...


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... features a peacock (which is admittedly very hard to see in the below image capture). Which symbolizes Princess Jasmine from Disney's "Aladdin."


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And inbetween those two points on the stairs there is a newel post painted with a spinning wheel symbol (for Princess Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty"), a newel post featuring a glass slipper ("Cinderella"), and a newel post painted with a sea shell (for Ariel in "The Little Mermaid").

And speaking of "The Little Mermaid": In that brief sequence where Rapunzel and Flynn are surrounded by a array of books while they visit a shop in the Kingdom ...


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... if you look towards the top of this image capture, you'll see a copy of Michael Lassell's 2009 making-of book, "The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way" sitting on top of a pile of books.


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But if I had to pick my favorite bit of blink-and-you'll-miss-it fun from Disney's "Tangled," it's that mobile ...

The
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... which hangs over Baby Rapunzel's crib.


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"And what's so cool about that mobile?," you ask. Well, totally disregarding the central sun symbol which (SPOILER ALERT) eventually helps this lost princess rediscover her real identity, each of the other items that dangles off of this mobile  foreshadows a significant character or event in Rapunzel's life. The stuffed gecko ...


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... obviously symbolizes Pascal.


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While the white horse toy ...


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... represents Maximus.


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While the bluebird with the yellow belly ...


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... looks exactly the bird that Rapunzel encounters once she finally gets up her courage and exits her tower.


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While the yellow ducky ...


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... is clearly supposed to symbolize the Snuggly Duckling ...


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... which is where Rapunzel met helpful thugs like Shorty ...


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... who can be seen - in felt form - dangling from that same mobile over Baby Rapunzel's crib at the very start of this animated feature.


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That's a neat bit of storytelling, don't you think? And if you're paying close attention while you're watching "Disney's Tangled," you'll discover that this Nathan Greno & Byron Howard features lots of clever little touches like this. Sly bits of foreshadowing. Subtle visual cues that suggest that things are not quite what they seem. Like that cupcake-shaped tattoo ...


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... on Attila's bicep.


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Which suggests that this thug is more into baking that he is into raping & pillaging.


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Does anyone else have any storytelling secrets from this Walt Disney Animation Studios release that you'd like to share? If so, post them here. And we'll then all check to see if these hidden gems are really there once the Blu-ray & DVD version of "Tangled" hits store shelves next Tuesday.

And speaking of hidden gem, Steath Elf writes in say:

I liked your "Tangled" Easter Egg article today. But did you ever get an answer from anyone at Disney about what the Easter Egg in Prep and Landing :Operation Secret Santa ...


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... was? Wasn't there supposed to be some sort of character hidden in Santa's secret workshop?

Indeed there was Stealth Elf. If you were paying close attention last year when this "stocking stuffer" originally aired on ABC, you would have noticed something in the foreground while Wayne & Lanny made their way across the floor to Santa's workbench. This item was on screen for a few seconds. And given that it was only seen in silhouette, there were lots of interesting theories out there. My personal favorite was that the item on screen was a Roger Rabbit plush. Which was Disney's unique way of signaling that a feature-length Roger Rabbit sequel really was on the way.


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Actually, the real explanation is a lot less convoluted than that. Given that Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton -- the talented writer-director team behind the original "Prep & Landing" holiday special as well as last year's "Operation Secret Santa" -- are also the creative team behind Walt Disney Animation Studios' next theatrical short, "The Ballad of Nessie" ...


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... Well, is it any wonder that Kevin & Stevie then decided to drop a toy version of Nessie in there among all of the items that Santa has scattered around his secret workshop as a quick nod to their next project? FYI: This is what that character will look like in the finished short ...


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... which will be debuting here in the U.S. in July, but next month in the UK and France. Which is when "Winnie the Pooh,"(i.e. the WDAS feature-length production that "The Ballad of Nessie" is paired with) will be released to theaters. With "Pooh" bowing in French cinemas on April 13th and at movie houses in the United Kingdom on April 15th. Which is why it'll be interesting to see what sort of buzz ...


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... this Stephen Anderson and Don Hall film has going into its stateside release on July 15th.

Anyway ... That's it for this week's Why For. If you have any Disney or theme park-related questions that you;d like to see answered as part of this on-going series of JHM articles, please feel free to send them along to whyfor@jimhillmedia.com.

Have a great weekend, okay?

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  • Can anybody tell me how she gets out of the tower with her 70ft of hair? The tower seems to be about 60 ft (or more) high, and she throws her hair over some sort of hook, then throws the lose end down to the ground in front of the tower, which means that in order to bring her safely down to the ground, her hair would have to be *twice* as long as the tower is high. She does not fix the end of her hair to the hook (in that case, 70ft would be long enough). Does anybody have any idea how that´s supposed to work? When I look at all the incredible detail (see above!), I cannot imagine that they simply made a mistake - but I have no other explanation, either.

    One more question: When is the movie set? It certainly has a medieval look,  but there are pianos and Mozart is mentioned (who was born in 1756). Any ideas?

  • Since we're talking logistics, in Beauty and the Beast, the servants were changed when the Beast became, well, the Beast, and Chip is younger than the Beast, did Mrs. Potts have Chip as a cup?

  • I actually found a few more Easter eggs in the bookstore:

    notsoplainbutinsanejane.tumblr.com/.../tangled-bookstore-easter-eggs-part-1

  • Not exactly easter eggs, but if you want clues about the thugs personalities, like the cupcake tattoo on Attila's bicep, then Bruiser is wearing a green corded knit sweater, and keeps his knitting needles in a sheath on his back (the heads are visible as Flynn and Rapunzel enter the bar); Killer has sewing shears in his belt instead of a sword, spools of thread on his helmet, needles & pins stuck in his shoulder padding, and other odds and ends visible as he sews up Bruiser's cut arm; Hook Hand has several piano tuning forks in holders on his belt; Big Nose's cape clasp and belt buckle are hearts; and Tor the florist has pruning shears in his belt in lieu of a sword, and a hand garden hoe embedded in the shield on his back.

    And I love that the cook pot visible as the protagonists enter is full of chameleons, hence Pascal's horrified look.

  • You know their coming out with a new tangled short tomorrow, right?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Yep. I'm working on getting an interview with "Tangled Ever After" 's directors right now. Who -- FYI -- are Nathan Greno & Byron Howard, the exact same guys who directed "Tangled" back in 2010. So this should be a highly entertaining short.

    More to the point, if what Andrew Mooney said during his Summer 2010 online DCP presentation is true, "Tangled Ever After" will be the first of a series of new Disney Princess shorts. Much in the style of Pixar's "Cars Toons" and/or their new "Toy Story Toons" series. Nathan Rose was telling me earlier this week that three of these "Disney Princess" shorts are supposed to be "Tangled." I'm going to try and get that confirmed as part of my talk with Greno & Howard.

    Thanks for the heads up, though.

  • Jones: As an artist who pays attention to details (sometimes driving me to near insanity) and loves Disney, I will say that the hair length does seem to change occasionally, depending on the need for the scene. Sometimes, when she's dancing around, it's on the shorter side. It's a fact you have to sort of take in stride: The effect of her dancing would not be as effective if they had to pan out to catch all 120+ feet, or keep the camera static while she left her hair trailing behind. Look at movies like Iron Giant: The Giant's size seems relevant to the scenario. It happens often, it's an animation trick that, for the most part, makes the film more enjoyable. I believe it was choice three animators made, rather than a mistake. Same with the setting: Those bits are gags for our enjoyment. Aladdin had a GENIE who knew what a CAR looked like; it helps to think of it as the Disney Universe separate from our own, and maybe things are a bit different on their side :)

  • Animated Logic: I believe the idea behind the Beast's curse is that in addition to changing everyone's form, it also froze them in time. Chip remembers being a boy (much more apparent in the Broadway production), and it would also account for the Prince being so young when he transforms at the end. He was 18 when the Enchantress came to his door: If time passed normally for them, he'd be much older, and as far as I can tell, Disney had never featured cradle-robbing of such proportions ;)

  • I just realized I sent my comments as feedback to the author instead of the public thread below: My apologies. If you are so inclined, please post them for me? On another note, I only just found this site, but I am enjoying it very much!

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