Lectures

Tangled Pays Homage to Transformers

The core of my academic schtick, if you will, is finding connections and through-lines between films. If you’ve seen more than one of my lectures, this is not news to you. I love looking at “cinematic conversations” between filmmakers and audiences and between filmmakers and other filmmakers. I’m always on the lookout for examples of visual quotes in film (which I can squirrel away for use in future lectures).

This weekend, while Annika was watching Tangled (or Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale as it’s known in most of the rest of the world) for the twentieth time, I yelped “That’s a shot from Transformers!”

Check it out:

My first though is always: “Why is that there?” In this case, I think the story artist or the 3D layout artist probably just recognized it as a cool shot that would be a funny beat in the sequence (which it is!).

My second thought is always some version of: “Is there an earlier film that Transformers is quoting?”

This second question often gets me into trouble. For a good example of how much trouble, attend my full-length, three-hour, Intro to Film Analysis lecture. Answering the “Is there an earlier film…” question in that case started me on a decade-long journey leading from American Beauty (1999) to The Crowd (1928).

So my new quest (and yours, now) is to try to discover if there is an antecedent to that Transformers shot in an earlier film. My gut says there is.

As always, if you see one be sure to let me know!

Update: June Seah reminded that there is one of these shots in Rango. So, we found a newer one than Tangled, but I still think there might be an earlier one.

2 comments on “Tangled Pays Homage to Transformers

  1. Hi,
    Just was watching Tangled for the third time or so, and suddenly also realized this shot hád to be a reference to Transformers (which I also saw a dozen times). After some searching I didn’t find any proof, so I thought “am I really the first one to notice?” But then I found your post 🙂 What is that shot in Rango you are talking about?

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