Tag Archives: Pixar

Tangled breakdown

A thief meets a captive girl in a tower and agrees to show her the world, but they are betrayed.

I’m breaking down movies by their three-act structure. What is three-act structure? I explain it here.

Note: I break the story down into five-minute blocks to make it easier to see the length of each section. Rough time codes follow.


As a baby, Rapunzel was kidnapped from the king and queen by the witch Gothel for the power of her magic hair (introducing the conflict and villain). 5

Act 1

Rapunzel occupies herself. Flynn Rider steals a treasure from the palace with the Stabbington brothers. 10

Rapunzel fails to convince Gothel to let her leave the tower to watch the annual floating lantern ceremony. 15

Fleeing the palace guards and his partner with the treasure, Flynn meets and is captured by Rapunzel. 20

Gothel returns, and Rapunzel tricks her into leaving for three days. (Note that it is Rapunzel and not Flynn who accepts the call to action.) 25

Act 2

Rapunzel demands Flynn take her to see the floating lanterns. 30

Rapunzel leaves the tower and feels freedom and guilt. 35

Gothel returns early to find Rapunzel gone. Flynn takes her to a ruffian tavern. 40

Ruffians and Rapunzel sing about their dreams. The palace guards arrive. 45

Midpoint Crisis

Flynn and Rapunzel flee the palace guards, including the extraordinary horse Maximus, and get trapped in a flooding cave. 50

Gothel offers the Stabbingtons revenge on Flynn. Rapunzel heals Flynn with her magic hair/song. 55

Flynn and Rapunzel get to know each other. Gothel dares her to offer Flynn the treasure. 60

Rapunzel pacifies Maximus. They all go to the palace. 65

Rapunzel and Flynn watch the lanterns. She offers him the treasure. 70

Flynn gives the treasure to the Stabbingtons, but they betray him. Gothel takes her home. (All seems lost!) 75

Act 3

Rapunzel realizes (the turn) and confronts Gothel about the fact she was kidnapped. 80

Flynn escapes. Gothel stabs him. He cuts Rapunzel’s hair. Gothel falls to her death. 85

Rapunzel revives Flynn with her tears. She reunites with the king and queen. 90


They live happily ever after. (very brief)

A Bug’s Life

A Bug's LifeNetflix IMDb
Join me for a gushing lovefest for Pixar’s second feature film, A Bug’s Life. I compare it to The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, The Three Amigos, The Wild One, and Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons. I praise the cinematography, story structure, cast, and anything else I can think of. And I call it nearly perfect several times.

I discuss the scale of the picture, how the story elements work together, the various arcs of different characters. I explore other possible avenues for telling the story. I condemn cats. And I nearly drown myself.

Start the movie after the Pixar logo has faded, on the countdown.


CarsNetflix IMDb

Owen Wilson is the voice of Lightning McQueen, the superfast city boy race car who is on his way to California to win the Piston Cup, if only he can ever get out of little old Radiator Springs. Paul Newman is wise old Doc Hudson and Larry the Cable Guy is dumb old Larry the Cable Truck, or should have been. Bonnie Hunt is way sexier than an automobile has a right to be, which causes me to ponder car anatomy. I complain about the title of the film. I explain the concept of setup and payoff. And I explore the difference between American-style animation and Japanese-style animation. But I focus primarily on the two main stories that conflict and the two sub-plots that complicate things further and how the film manages to keep them all from tearing the film apart.

This is the US Blu-Ray release. It should be essentially the same as the standard DVD release, but foreign releases may be slightly diferent, since Pixar replaced some voices and names for local color and may have made other changes.

Start the commentary with the Walt Disney Pictures logo. (51 MB)