Disney · movies

Will the Real Flynn Rider Please Stand Up?

I, like many other kids, was raised on Disney movies. In fact, I am pretty sure the very first movie I ever saw in theaters was Beauty and the Beast. At the very least, it’s the first movie I remember seeing in the movie theater. I was probably about 8 years old, and I can recall sobbing in that dark theater over what I thought was the death of the Beast, who I had come to love over the course of the last hour or so. Belle also held (and still holds) a special place in my heart, thanks to her love of reading and her big heart.

Beauty and the Beast was just the beginning, though. Aladdin and The Lion King also came out while I was young, and made a huge impression. I must have watched these movies hundreds of times over the years, and each Prince was special for me in his own way. Aladdin was a rascal, and OH how I wanted to be Jasmine, wearing beautiful turquoise harem outfits as Aladdin tried to win my heart, even as he got himself in trouble. Having a beautiful tiger as a pet wouldn’t be bad either. And who didn’t love Simba? I mean, aside from the fact that Jonathan Taylor Thomas voiced the young version, and Matthew Broderick voiced the adult version (both of whom I adored — my love for JTT in particular was strong), Simba was still just awesome. He could endure, he had great friends, and he and Nala were clearly meant to be.

As an adult, I found it hard to believe that any present day characters would win my heart over the way those 90s Disney characters did. And then, I saw Tangled.

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Oh, how I loved Tangled. I loved Rapunzel, with her long, flowery hair. I loved that, despite having been locked in a tower her entire life, she was still fun and funny, and had found things to entertain her in her seclusion – reading, art, music. My homebody nature could relate, since sometimes I feel like I enjoy my own self-imposed seclusion in which I enjoy all of those things. Plus, she had her chameleon, Pascal, to keep her company during those long, lonely days. And when a handsome stranger breaks into her tower, does Rapunzel just welcome him in? HELL NO. She takes a frying pan and defends her tower against the rogue!

And that rogue….oh, that rogue. Tangled introduced the world (and me) to the wonderful character of Flynn Rider. Apparently Flynn Rider was originally imagined as a charismatic, swashbuckling hero, in the vein of Indiana Jones and Han Solo. Disney? You succeeded.

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Look at that face! Oh, that face. Yes, Flynn is a stranger that Rapunzel must defend her tower against. But she quickly realizes that Flynn can also help her escape the tower and see what adventures the world outside her tower may hold. Thus begins their adventure. Flynn quickly made me forget about all the previous Disney princes I had loved over the years (okay, I didn’t forget them, but they went to the back burner). Sure, he was a criminal, but he was also smart, and funny, and a difficult childhood had driven him to criminality! Although self-interest is what drives him to team up with Rapunzel, he soon begins to truly care for her, and there is no moment more magical than when Flynn and Rapunzel sing “I See the Light” on a boat in the middle of the water, lanterns floating around them. Gawwwwwwwd, that is beautiful. And I won’t lie — knowing that Zachary Levi is the voice behind Flynn didn’t hurt thing for me either (he’s nerdy, cute, AND can sing?! YES).

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Alright, so Flynn looks kind of goofy here. But, that’s part of his charm. Also…Zachary looks fantastic. 

What is especially exciting for me is that Flynn and Rapunzel’s story isn’t over! Disney is bringing them back in a “Tangled” animated series. And while I have a perfect excuse in my nieces and god-daughter to indulge in this new series, let’s be honest — I’d be watching it anyway.

But, I do have something to take up with Disney here for a minute. Flynn Rider, the wanted criminal — clearly not his real name. He was smart enough to steal a name that better matched his roguish persona. Which was a good thing, because his real name?

EUGENE. FITZHERBERT.

I mean, even if he weren’t on the run from the law, I wouldn’t blame him for changing that name. That’s terrible. I mean, Eugene could be forgiven (Gene isn’t too terrible of a nickname), but FITZHERBERT? Oh, poor, poor Eugene.

The one gripe I have with the show is that, apparently, Flynn’s swashbuckling days are over, and therefore he has left the Flynn Rider persona behind, and embraced his original name, Eugene. Which makes Rapunzel….a Fitzherbert?

Oh dear. But…I guess even a name that terrible can be forgiven with this face:

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Eugene will always be Flynn to me, though, and I can’t wait to see more adventures with him and Rapunzel. Hopefully he’s still got a little mischief hidden up his sleeve :).

If you haven’t seen Tangled, you should remedy this INSTANTLY. Like, right now, close this window and track down a copy. You won’t regret it!

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