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Tangled Up

Tangled up phelous.jpg

May 17, 2019
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Phelous: Do you believe in ripoffs? Well, you'd better, 'cause it's time to look at the classic Tangled ripoff, Tangled Up. Though, the movie on this disc originally came out nineteen years before Tangled. Yes, it's time to look at the tale of misleading covers, which comes to us from... uh... somewhere... back there. Uh, Great Britain, yeah.

(Disney style "royal" horns playing, East Asian-sounding drumbeat and string instrument)

Phelous: It's kind of funny when movies that weren't originally Disney cash ins kind of get turned into one later, which is, of course, the case for Britannica's Rapunzel getting released on DVD later as Tangled Up.

Phelous (VO): In 2012, a company called Brightspark Productions released a few cartoons with exceedingly blatant Disney ripoff covers. Some of these movies, like the Vídeo Brinquedo ones, kinda fit the rip-off covers they were given by Brightspark, but of course, Rapunzel from the Encyclopedia Britannica Tales Around the World series came out way before Disney's take on the tale. And Braver has nothing even remotely to do with its rip-off cover, as it's really a movie called A Fairy Tale Christmas.

Phelous: Brightspark, when commenting on this, said they didn't think anyone would confuse their movies with the Disney ones, and any similarities were accidental! You buying that?

Phelous (VO): Welp, Disney didn't buy it, and they ended up getting all legal on Brightspark, which ended with them ceasing all their children's animation releases, recalling a bunch of the DVDs, and having a bunch of the DVD stock destroyed.

Phelous: This whole ordeal ended up costing Brightspark about £70,000, so this attempt to cash in just went slightly south.

Phelous (VO): Brightspark still stayed in business until 2016, it seems, but I think just kind of barely, and their website is as dead as their company probably pretty much was after this whole fiasco. When their website WAS up, it was never updated once for the almost nine years it was online, so that's impressive, I guess.

Phelous (VO): Now the actual Tangled Up DVD doesn't have any specialized menus made for it or anything. It's still got the Britannica's Fairy Tales From Around the World logo, which is what they started calling this series during later DVD releases in 2005. There's even a bumper still on here listing the 2005 date for the DVD development. And despite the Tangled Up DVD also having Britannica's Hansel and Gretel story and its variants on here, they don't really highlight that fact.

Phelous: (flat voice) I wonder why they're kind of shying away from the fact that there's actually two movies on here. I mean, it's not like Brightspark was trying to fool us into thinking that this was Tangled or anything!

Phelous (VO): They do say "As well as Rapunzel there are some other incredible stories of princesses locked in towers and witched witches."

Phelous: "Witched witches." Good one, Tangled Up.

Phelous (VO): (dorky voice) "This is a DVD the family will treasure and look forward to enjoying again and again."

Phelous: Good one, Tangled Up.

Phelous (VO): Now the original VHS version of this movie is where the excitement clearly is.

Phelous: Well, it's where Pat Morita is anyway.

Phelous (VO): Like I mentioned in the Britannica Beauty and the Beast video, later releases of the whatever tales from Britannica waxed off the Morita, so instead of him introing the stories, it just flows right past the Morita purple space castle world right into the title, where a narrator gives a brief setup in a freeze-frame on the title card.

Narrator: (sounding like a tour guide) This is the story of Rapunzel, a German folk tale from the Middle Ages recorded in the 19th century by the Brothers Grimm.

Phelous: Wow! I hate that.

Phelous (VO): The DVD version also has a few other odd quirks about it compared to the original VHS. It starts the intro AFTER the Britannica Tales Around The World title comes up, probably because they changed the title, but the credits actually give us yet ANOTHER title variant for this series! Familiar Tales Around The World.

Phelous: Did Britannica just have a bet with someone about how many times they could do slight variants of this series?

Phelous (VO): So we had the original Tales Around The World, then one called As Told Around The World, which still had the Pat Morita segments intact, it seems, then we have the releases that are just the main title plus other stories, then we got to Fairy Tales From Around the World, then last and certainly least, Familiar Tales Around the World. This is the only picture I could find of the Britannica series labeled that, and it's painfully plain. It just kinda looks like a blank VHS tape.

Phelous: My best guess with that VHS is it's just meant for play in, like, libraries or schools or something and is never out for retail with THAT nothing cover. Well, I sure hope not anyway.

Phelous (VO): Another bizarre thing about the DVD version is they run the credits AFTER the main story. So after Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel you get the credits, the intro plays again, then you get the two other similar stories from other parts around the world.

Phelous: I don't know why they thought THAT was necessary. It just drags things out like an internet reviewer blabbing on about minute variations.

Phelous (VO): So of course, the main reason I got the VHS version was for Pat Morita, and I was thinking I'd use the DVD version for the cartoon footage, but guess what? The VHS rip is actually clearer than the DVD.

Phelous: How sad is that?

Phelous (VO): In fact, there's one spot on the DVD that has a weird distortion going on near the bottom of the screen, which doesn't happen on the VHS.

Phelous: Well, you're just good for nothing! Besides name value.

Pat Morita: Do you believe in magic?

Phelous (VO): Oh great. Pat Morita sold out to Big Mac!

Pat Morita: These days most people don't believe in magic.

Phelous: Yeah, the magic of life really is dead. Bring on that sweet depression! (laughing) It's funny 'cause it's true. (laughing again)

Pat Morita: And in Germany, they tell a story about a girl who was stolen by magic and locked away where no one could find her.

Phelous (VO): Yep, she just stayed in the tower forever and no one found her. The end! Though it was Penis Tower, (dorky voice) so it's possible Rapunzel might have been happy with that.

Narrator: It tells of an expectant mother who craves a vegetable grown in a witch's garden and the very high price her daughter must pay for her mother's craving.

Phelous: Yeah, how come no versions of Rapunzel have her seeking out revenge on her vegetable-crazed mother?

Narrator: So it was a special occasion indeed when the farmer's wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. (BGM: soft flute and string music)

Phelous (VO): Well, I'm glad old man Dilbert here waited until he was 70 to have a child.

Narrator: To celebrate, the farmer's wife wished to have a feast. (SFX: baby crying in background) "If you could get me some fresh bellflower root from that lovely garden next door". The farmer agreed. The garden belonged to a witch of great might. (SFX: thunder)

Phelous (VO): Welp, once again, the Rapunzel parents are just jerks and could just ASK the witch to buy or possibly trade for some vegetables out of her garden instead of stealing! I mean, the stupid old farmer must produce SOMETHING out of his farm.

Pat Morita: What makes a story a Rapunzel story?

Link: Gee, it sure is boring around here.