Monday, April 28, 2014

A Tangled Plot Structure

I am on the road today and have had a slight change in today's post. I will be posting about villains next time.

If you've not seen Disney's newest movie, Tangled, then go out and rent it. In fact, buy it. It's one of my FAVORITE Disney movies! And the hero is one of the top Disney hero's EVER!!!
One thing that makes this movie such a good story, is that the plot structure follows a very nice arc. For your reading pleasure, I've plotted out Tangled - so get ready for another LOOOOONG Pepper-post.

Let's start off with motivations, and then we'll get to the plot.

Rapunzel External Goal: See the Lights

Eugene’s External Goal: Wealth (get the crown)

Rapunzel Internal Goal: Where does she belong?

Eugene’s Internal Goal: Someone who will care about him for who he is; meaning

 Set up the plot – who, what, where

An old woman who desires eternal youth steals an infant princess whose magical hair can provide it.
Over 17 years later, Flynn Rider, a handsome thief, steals a crown belonging to the ‘lost’ princess.

2. Hero’s motivation – what does your protagonist want?
Rapunzel wants to see the ‘lights’ that always come out on her birthday, but she’s never left the tower in which she’d been raised by her ‘mother’.

Eugene (Flynn Rider) wants to be wealthy, so he’s stolen the lost princess’s crown with two other thugs.
3. Begin the hero’s quest – “I’ve Got a Dream”

Rapunzel wants to see the 'floating' lights that come out on her birthday every year so she asks her 'mother' to take her. It's her first step toward reaching beyond her tower into the world. (this could also be #4)

4. Change the hero’s direction

Eugene (Flynn Rider) tries to escape the king’s men and in the processes hides within this mysterious tower, only to find that he’s wrapped from shoulders to knees in a chain of golden hair. To make matters worse, his prized –crown is missing.
Rapuzel makes a deal with Flynn: Escort her to see the lanterns and she’ll give him back the crown.
(this could also be viewed as when Flynn & Rapunzel stop working against each other, and begin to work together to save each others' lives)

5. Challenge the hero with problems

Eugene and Rapunzel are chased by two thugs, the king’s men, a hilarious horse named Max. Gothel and the two thugs who are after Flynn join forces.
6. Change the hero’s status
I LOVE this part – because there is an obvious change to show the status change in this movie. While on the run from the king’s men, Rapunzel saves Flynn’s life – in turn, he rescues her, but then they are both trapped in a cave that is filling with water.  Flynn shares the secret that his name is really Eugene Fitzherbert and Rapunzel shares the secret that she has magical hair. They escape, she heals his wounded hand with her magical hair, and a ‘connection’ is made between the two of them. Status? He starts calling her Rapunzel and she starts calling him Eugene. There’s a new motivation beginning. Romance & connections start to happen...and of course, a Disney duet.


7. Give the hero tougher problems
Eugene/Flynn  realizes he’s got to end the manhunt from his former thugs, so he leaves Rapunzel to return the crown to them. Unfortunately, they’ve learned of Rapunzel’s amazing power – and are working for Gothel- they capture Eugene, tie him to a boat, and make it ‘appear’ that he’s running away from Rapunzel with the crown. Heartbroken, Rapunzel returns to her mother and her life of insecurity and imprisonment, only to realize that SHE is the lost princess and Gothel has been the enemy all along.
Eugene’s boat floats directly into the castle, where he is arrested and set to hang at dawn.

 9. Let the hero suffer maximum angst
With the help of some hilarious ‘thugs’ and a horse-with-an-attitude, Eugene escapes from the noose and sets off to find Rapunzel. When he climbs to the tower, he sees Rapunzel tied up and gagged – and then he is stabbed by Gothel. Gothel plans to leave him there to die, but Rapunzel promises to give up her freedom, if Gothel will let her heal Eugene. Just as Rapunzel gets ready to heal Eugene, he reaches up and cuts her hair – freeing Rapunzel from her promise and eternal servitude, but losing his chance to live. When the magic hair is cut, Gothel’s years catch up with her. She rapidly ages. Mortified she falls from the tower window to her death….and Eugene dies in Rapunzel’s arms.

10. Change the hero’s direction
Just before Eugene dies, he confesses to Rapunzel that “You were my new dream.” And she tells him the same thing. Their motivation had changed.



11. Give the hero new hope

When Rapunzel’s tear drops on Eugene’s cheek, a glowing light swirls around them. Could this be a miracle?

12. Achieve a win/lose conclusion
Her tear heals him. Flynn wakes up, and with his usual swagger, says “You know, I’ve always had a thing for brunettes.”

13. Tie up the loose ends
Rapunzel’s reunited with her real parents – who had been searching for her all 18 years. All the thugs have their stories, Max (the horse) has a happy ending, and, of course, Eugene and Rapunzel live happily ever after too.

Questions for you:
If you’ve seen the movie, what are the characteristics that make the hero and heroine endearing? Eugene is a selfish thief afterall – why is he so darn likeable?

From the first scene with Gothel, what characteristics does Disney portray that ‘hint’ she’s not as good as she seems?

Are there any other movies you’d like to see ‘plotted’? Would you modify my plot structure for Tangled at all – remember, some points can be seen from different perspectives by different people J

22 comments:

Sherrinda said...

I've been looking for this movie at redbox every week and it is always sold out! Maybe I can get it in my Netflix this week. :)

Casey said...

He is so darn charming! But I think we spot in Flynn what are good qualities slowing emerging. We are willing to put up with him because he is funny, quick to stand up for Rapunzel and we see his growth through the story the more time he spends with her.

I need to own this movie! :-) One of my new favorites too.

Pepper said...

You guys probably never wonder why I write 90K + worded novels, do you? I can't even keep a blog post under 300 words. Daggone it!!!
So sorry - do you think ANYONE will take the time to read it? I worked so hard on it :-) (but it was fun too)

Sherrinda - definitely a movie you need to see. You'll love it!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Okay now I have to rent this movie! Or maybe borrow it from my nieces!

Pepper said...

Case,
He IS charming. I think we're won over by his humor - and in the middle, by his kind heart. I love watching him 'soften' towards Rapunzel. The very first instance of it is when they are walking through the 'secret' tunnel under The Snuggly Duckling and he grins are her enthusiasm. That's when the change begins. LOVE IT!!!

Pepper said...

Susan,
It is TOTALLY worth your time! Great for character development AND structure!!! Two thumbs up!!

Mary Vee said...

Wouldn't that be 3 thumbs? Gotta let siskel and Ebert have theirs, and of course you get yours...so lets give this movie 3 thumbs up:)

I haven't seen it yet. The teen in my house rolled her eyes at the idea. (I'll wait until she is out one night...muwahahahah).

Miss Eyebright said...

I think you did a great job on plotting the movie! I think that doing this sort of thing definitely helps me to see plot structure a lot more clearly, and also understand one of my favorite movies even better! Thanks!

Ralene said...

Skip the renting...just BUY it. I promise you won't regret it. The move is chalked full of good stuff--both from a writer's perspective, and just pure entertainment and fun. Not to mention a few moral lessons. Great movie!

Julia said...

I love this movie. Took my daughter to it for a mommy-daughter date and its definitely one of my favorite Disney movies. Great job of plotting it out!

My favorite part of the movie is definitely "I Have a Dream."

Sarah Forgrave said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but it looks good! We were at Disney World soon before it released and saw a behind-the-scenes peek at the animation. Soooo cool!

I like your breakdown of the plot. It's fun to dissect movies like that. Of course, the best movies make me forget about dissection and suck me in. :)

Pepper said...

Susan - it's a definitely must-see.

Pepper said...

Mary -
The 'teen' will like it too - probably :-)
And if we're counting siskel and ebert, wouldn't that be 6 thumbs up? ;-)

Pepper said...

Thanks, Miss Eyebright. It was a fun blog structure to unfold.

Beth K. Vogt said...

Great job, Pepper!
I have to say that I liked Flynn's/Eugene's sense of humor. How can you not like a guy who makes you laugh? And your heart softens towards him when he confesses that his real name is "Eugene" because he figures they're going to drown & he'd like someone to know him for who he really is.

Pepper said...

TOTALLY agree, Ralene! It's just one of those keeper-movies

Pepper said...

Thanks, Julia.
Do you have a dream? ;-) Probably not to have a diapered, bearded, and drunk cupid flying around your room. (shudder) - (it's a movie-reference, so be very afraid if you've not seen the movie) ;-)

Pepper said...

Sarah,
I had to write the post AFTER watching the movie a few times. I got too 'into' the movie to think much of plot structure - but when contemplating it later, it had a nice plan. It's good for a pantster to figure out a plot every once in a while ;-)

Pepper said...

Beth,
EXACTLY!! I liked him almost immediately because of the humor.
And even my kids picked upon the subtle cues given by Gothel that hinted at her true nature. All the ways she 'teased' Rapunzel to encourage Rapunzel's insecurities. One of my children said, "She doesn't act like she loves her when she says those mean things."
Yep! And the truth comes out

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Yay, Pepper! So glad you plotted out this particular movie. We finally got to see it with a kids a few weeks ago and that was the first thing I said when we walked out was that I liked the plot. Adventure, romance, a moral...ahh, what's not to like? :)

Jeanne T said...

I'm coming really late to the post/blog tonight, but I loved your plotting of the movie. I haven't seen it yet, but my boys are asking to watch it. I may just have to take the advice offered here and purchase it. :) Pepper, I like the way you plotted it out. I'll be looking for the elements, probably on the second viewing--I tend to get sucked in the first time through too. :)

Anonymous said...

awesome job on tangled. can you do sleeping beauty and also beauty and the beast please