Early Tests of Pre-Tangled Rapunzel

We may never know what Glen Keane’s version of Rapunzel would have been like – but here’s a taste in a 2005 pre-viz demo (Watch it quick, before Disney removes it), created by Tony Hudson under the direction of Glen Keane, of the update he envisioned:

(Thanks, Edward Himel)


  • http://www.webcomicsnation.com/dholvrsn/index.php Doug Holverson

    I’m wondering how modern day San Francisco (with ’60s era Chambers Brothers music) dove-tails into this?

    And if the scene with the horses-cum-pegasuses off the cliff is a homage to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

    • mike

      This is NOT Glen’s version. This was the manhandled version lead by David Stainton and Michael Eisner. It’s a disgrace to Glen Keane that Tony put this on the internet saying this was Glen’s version.

      • Dalton

        Agreed. Anyone who knows who Keane is knows his style, and none of this rings true to that. Its like putting a Linkin Park song on the internet and calling it “the missing Beatles record”

      • mike

        “I started developing this story in ’96 while I was doing “Tarzan” and “Treasure Planet” and then started to work on it in 2002 full-time. At that point, the studio was looking for more of a twist on the fairy tale. That was the way the wind was blowing and I put up my sails and blew in that direction. That version was called “Rapunzel Unbraided” and I worked on it for three years. It was a fun, wonderful, witty version and we had a couple of great writers. But in my heart of hearts I believed there was something much more sincere and genuine to get out of the story, so we set it aside and went back to the roots of the original fairy tale.”
        -Glen Keane

  • Darkblader

    This looks like it came out of a cel shaded video game.

    • Isaac

      It’s probably the equivalent of a storyboard, rendered in 3D.

  • http://mayersononanimation.blogspot.com Mark Mayerson

    Oliver and Co. meets Sleeping Beauty in San Francisco

    • http://juanmanimation.blogspot.com joan manuel

      Ha!,I thought exactly the same thing!.

      Only instead of Sleeping beauty I’d say it’s more like Enchanted (did you notice how many animal sidekicks they had there?)

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    The opening use of the woods is thrilling and presents a brilliant use of cgi. This was never evident in the final film, and allows me to assume Keane was onto something and was stopped and forced into making something more ordinary.
    Thus all those beautiful Rembrandt sketches in the ART OF book.

    • Mark

      Don’t be silly. This was all done under Stainton, when it was easier for the artists to distract themselves with visuals rather than focus on story and character.

      No one “forced” anyone to do anything such as you suggest.

      • The Brewmasters

        Mark – We deleted the part of your comment that was a personal attack on the commenter above. Take note of our commenting guidelines, especially “Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion.”

    • http://juanmanimation.blogspot.com joan manuel

      Agreed, Beautiful visuals, but he was pushing it, too much landscapes, that weren’t telling a story in my opinion, it goes from a castle to the woods, to another part of the woods and then back?

  • Was my face red.

    Looks a lot like Enchanted was driving the story, plus all the usual Disney tropes. But there’s a bit of me that would like to see a whole grown up movie done in this sketchy animated storybord style.

  • Ian Merch

    This is as good a chance as any to ask this – is Tangled the first 3D animated musical that wasn’t mo-capped?

  • doop

    That was horrifying. They really turned this movie around, damn.

    The beginning was beautiful though.

  • Steven M.

    Why is this taking place in San Francisco? If anything, this version seems WORSE then the movie it now is.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Very, very, strange.

    • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

      I think that sums up my feelings the best way possible!

      It was like a chase scene for a don Bluth movie! The moving camera was really frusterating, and the talking animals really killed it! I agree with Michael though that the introduction was nice with the painted woodland scenes, but this project idea of modern-meets-fairytale wasn’t going anywhere with Enchanted being released around this time!

  • JoshM.

    Walt Disney damn near invented the motion plane camera, and HE didn’t even make a ‘closer…closer…closer…’ intro that long!

    • Ben

      I was thinking the same thing! I mean, every scene was zooming closer…it was ages before we got to any plot points…way too long.

  • Patrice

    I can see why they canned this.

    wow! it’s only 5 minutes long but i couldn’t help but wondering if it would ever end!

    This is 5 minutes of disaster.
    Already fully uninspired and trying to shove in all of the side characters. Just a lifeless zombie like feeling all over.

    thanks for sharing :)

  • Was my face red.

    I think some brewsters are perhaps a bit unfamiliar with the nature of animation production. These are various tests edited together into one sizzle reel, not the real time run of the movie. No one would let a flying camera shot go on for that long… would they?

  • amid

    Here’s a proof of concept from Toy Story:
    YouTube link

    These tests are meant to investigate possibilities, not to serve as a representation of the finished film. For those of you who are critiquing the quality of this test, you’re completely missing the point of why it was created in the first place: without first exploring these different visual scenarios, they wouldn’t have ended up with the version that you see on-screen today.

    • doop

      I don’t think anyone’s critiquing the sketchy look or rough build of this test, but more the groan-worthy jokes, bad dialogue, awful pacing, sickening endless shots whisking around for no reason, and the rehashed concept. This could have been done on a set of napkins, but it’s clear the concept wasn’t working, and it relieves me they had the foresight to overhaul the movie.

      • Was my face red..

        Those are all true, but look at the comments below by people who posted after Amid’s comment went up and didn’t have the courtesy to read previous posts before sounding off. A fair few tstill hink this reel is the actual narrative of the movie and criticise the story because of the way it jumps, has overlong visual sequences etc. They’re ‘non story servinfg bullshit’ according to one poster. Ah, the internet.

  • RODAN

    I’m sure that it means something to someone…way back in 2005 but it sure looks like xxxp now… But alas, somewhere in the process I feel that even this dodgy looking bit of animation brought something to the overall finished product.

    Tangled is one of the best turns from Disney in 15 years. I hope that we can see more from Disney like this.

    To me it was the next generation “Little Mermaid” from it’s music to the lush look it’s given the new style animation. It was far better than That Frog thing…

    WAY TO GO GUYS!

  • Uli Meyer

    The way this is drawn and put together is not important but what is important is the overall feel and flavour of the piece. It gives you a good indication of where the director’s vision was heading towards at the time. These reels are fairly easy to put together and one can decide very quickly if it’s the right way to go or better to change direction. I haven’t seen ‘Tangled’ myself but I’m glad to hear that this route was abandoned.

    • Ben

      If that’s so, and I can’t disagree with you, I feel like this was way too close to Enchanted to not be forced to change.

    • mike

      This was not Glen’s direction. This was Michael eisner and David Stainton pushing this direction. Glen’s actual version after this one is much more characteristic of Glen himself in it’s emotion and sincere storytelling.

  • A Dude

    The concept of this version was that two modern-day teens from San Francisco got sucked into the story of Rapunzel and had to act out the parts. Essentially Enchanted in reverse.

    As others have said, this was pre-Lasseter.

    There was also a different, darker and straight-ahead fairy tale Glen and Dean Wellins version of Rapunzel starring Bastion instead of Flynn Rider. Some of the artwork from that idea is in the Art Of Tangled.

    I think everyone is happy that the sly spoof angle of this was abandoned for a sincere fairy tale.

  • http://beaudetteblog.blogspot.com Grant Beaudette

    I always want to hear more about these films that did a complete 180 and ended up as totally different movies; like American Dog/Bolt or Kingdom of the Sun/Emperor’s New Groove.

    If Disney’s looking for another animation-themed coffee table book to release I definitely buy that one.

    • http://juanmanimation.blogspot.com joan manuel

      Does anyone know where I can find info on the Empire of the Sun? before it was turned into the generic (yet funny) comedy Emperor’s new groove.

      I say generic cuz they mixed salsa music, with mexican music and Inca culture (from Peru)

      • Milo Thatch

        If you can manage a time machine, you can head back to 2003 for a few limited screenings of Sting’s documentary “The Sweatbox” which detailed the demise of Kingdom of the Sun in a very personal way. Kind of like Waking Sleeping Beauty, with a spoonful of cynicism (if I recall correctly). Would love to see a DVD of that film, but I highly doubt Disney will let that cat out of the box anytime soon.

      • Mark Walton

        I suspect if enough fans pestered Disney for a release of “The Sweatbox” for long enough it would happen. The fact that “Waking Sleeping Beauty” happened at all is encouraging, and, basically, Disney can’t say no to money (notice how, for years, they absolutely refused to put “The Black Cauldron” on video because they saw it as an embarrasment – until they realized die -hard fans would buy it anyway)

    • http://she-thing.blogspot.com Caty

      Yes, Disney still owes me the “good” version of Monsters Inc….

  • Shawn

    Well, this version seems to involve at least 3x the amount of cutesy animal friends, all of whom I am glad to see gone in the final iteration of the film. Also, really glad they had a ‘hot man’ meeting in there somewhere, because I wouldn’t have bothered watching if the equivalent character for Flynn looked like a total creeper.

    • Kate Burck

      I am so amused by the idea of a “hot man” meeting.

  • Dave Knott

    I don’t know…I could use a little more moving camera. Especially the swooping type. With no service to story.

  • Alissa

    Loved the opening scenery, if only Tangled had looked like that…*sigh*

    Everything else was an unholy trainwreck nightmarish proportions mind you, but that opening was gorgeous.

  • http://kecky.blogspot.com kecky

    Interesting. Very, very interesting. The shots of the forest at the beginning were lovely, but then it lost me. I’m so, so glad this movie got overhauled.

    The one thing that really blew my mind – Was Kristin Chenoweth supposed to be the voice of the SQUIRREL all along??!?!?!

    • Inkan1969

      Someone over at YouTube said that not only did the witch bring those San Fran teens over to replace Rapunzel and her Prince, she also turned the real Rapunzel and Prince into a squirrel and dog. Is that right?

  • Adam

    Tim and Eric’s B’Owl should have stayed in the picture.

  • Corey

    I like it. It has a unique feeling about it.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John Sanford

    I saw this version of the film a few months before I left the studio. What a fucking mess! Folks, please do not blame Glen for this. This was the movie that David Stainton was pushing. Yes, that arbiter of good taste, David Stainton, the man who put a woman from MARKETING in charge of development.
    It was a dark time indeed.

  • http://MrFun'sBlog floyd Norman

    Like a Disney fairy tale, those were dark days indeed.

    What is it about marketing? They cannot be destroyed and they multiply like roaches.

  • tom
  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I thought the hair-as-seat-belt gag was funny!

    Seeing this in the fashion we are is probably taking it way out of the context for which it was created.

    It looks quite a bit like the animatics Brad Bird created for “Incredibles” and that turned out OK.

  • Bob

    To quote a recent “Dilbert” strip, marketing is just liquor and guessing.

  • Grayson Ponti

    I’m actually glad that this is not what Tangled turned out to be. This version is way too concentrated on showy visuals and not on character. If it were done completely(not partly) in hand drawn and had better songs I would think it would be virtually perfect.
    American Dog becoming Bolt…well that’s another story.

  • Rufus

    The beginning was really pretty. I think there’s room for a fly-through shot in Tangled that hasn’t been filled, and for whatever reason, I’m sure they made the right decision in dropping that scene.

    What I don’t understand at all is how they went from there to San Francisco. That raised an eyebrow, but ok, can’t understand it all afterall.

    But that scene where rapunzel and vince were riding up the hill only to fly off the edge was horribly crap. Really glad Tangled turned out the way it did, and I’ve had some mean stuff to say about the Disney development process in the past, but that was some non-story serving bullshit.

  • http://stringstornasunder.blogspot.com Chris Powell

    Ah! I KNEW I remember seeing a sketch that hinted at an earlier version with two modern characters being transfered to a fairy tale!

    That opening shot of the castle was great.

    Glad I saw the version I saw in theaters instead of this one.

    • Inkan1969

      Yes, one sketch had the San Fran boy and girl arguing, and the other sketch showed them suddenly with fairy tale costumes on. The boy looked like Jack Black, and was holding a pizza box. I think I saw those sketeches at animationnation.com. Are they still online?

  • Mark

    I got to speak to Glen Keane (a moment I’ll never forget) about the Rupunzel Unbraided version of the film. While he directed it, it’s definitely not his. It’s Michael Eisner’s. When Michael Eisner left Disney, this version of the film was the first thing to be jettisoned and nobody missed it.

  • Joe

    – Look at this as a “behind-the-scenes” thing. This isn’t a story reel, but a test of how CGI could be used in interesting ways. Those exact fly-throughs probably wouldn’t have appeared in the finished film. (there’s a similar fly-through in Ratatouille’s deleted scenes!) The cutesy gags were probably thrown in quickly, so there were some laughs when they pitched the test.

    Also, isn’t this from the “Rapunzel Unbraided” version of the film, corporate Disney’s answer to the success of Shrek? I’m pretty sure Keane was still on board for the later classic-Disney overhaul…

    Since this was from back in 2005, they probably poached leftovers for Enchanted (and maybe even for Bolt’s New York)

  • Milo Thatch

    I think people are getting “Pre-Viz” confused with “First 5-minutes of the film.” This is like a bloated sketchbook, basically what would come out of an afternoon of people spit-balling ideas about “what would be cool” to see on screen. Someone is then tasked with actually taking all those ideas, smashing them up against each other so the execs can see if what worked in their minds actually translates in some fashion on screen. This…clearly doesn’t. But that still doesn’t mean all the swooping camera work or the rush job of jumping from one story point/location to the next is EXACTLY how that version of the movie would have played on screen.

    This also makes me wonder how many people would lose their romantic notions of “what could have been” with disgarded features like American Dog, the original Monsters Inc or Ratatouille, or any other film that had a dramatic overhaul mid-way through production. The gossip and mystery of the internet makes those unreleased original versions seem like the Holy Grail when in fact they were all probably just as much of a trainwreck as Rapunzel Unbraided!

    It’s no secret the first Toy Story reels were a mess, and that picture turned out okay in the end. :)

  • mike

    THIS IS NOT GLEN KEANE’S PERSONAL VERSION. This was a version constructed by him under Michael Eisner and David Stainton. This was the version that Glen eventually killed once Eisner left in order to tell the true story of Rapunzel. He ended up asking Dean Wellins to co-direct and it became a beautiful dark retelling of the fairytale until his heart-attack 3 years ago when he stepped downs due to the stress of directing under Disney creative constraints. Unfortunately that version will most likely never be seen as it is property of Disney.
    It was breathtaking and emotionally rich.

  • Chris

    Ouch …well lets hope Mr.Keane puts all those negative schmucks behind him so he can create create and create.

  • Mark

    For whatever it’s worth, although this material may have been used to inform the “pre-vis” on “Rapunzel Unbraided”, these are all scenes taken directly from various places in the actual story reel (one version of it). Aside from the painterly CGI trees in the beginning, none of this was intended to indicate the finished look of the film: the story drawings were “animated” by a talented guy using After Effects to give a sense of depth and motion to the story reel (although I thought at the time, it would have been cool to do a short in this kind of 2-D/3-D hybrid style). Although the actual story was pretty messy (which I will not detail here, it would take way too long, but yes, Chenoweth was going to be Rapunzel, turned into a talking squirrel), this “reel” is really confusing because it jumps around all over the place – I assume it’s picking moments that showcase the locations for the fairy tale forest, the “real world” (San Francisco), and a possible tentpole sequence (the crazy carriage ride through the forest and over the castle) – or else it’s basically a showreel for Tony, showing the after-effects work he did on the reel. So weird to see those old drawings of mine, after all this time!

  • messy

    Glen Keane had a heart attack and that’s why they took him off? Hmmmm….at least he got a credit executive producing….

    • mike

      He wasn’t taken off because he had a heart attack. He took himself off because he had a heart attack mostly due to all the pressure of trying to direct a movie with personal vision under the creative constraints Disney continued to place on him.

  • saintfighteraqua

    This looked terrible. I’m gald we didn’t get it. But I’ve heard the original one under keane was something different, a darker version with a Victorian painting vibe.