“I See the Light” from Tangled – #23 from “The Top 50 Disney Songs” (2014)
Tangled features an innovative style of computer animation, meant to evoke the aesthetic of rococo oil paintings. Every frame abounds with lush detail, but, with the amalgamated eye-poppingness of tall ships, still waters, castle spires, and ten thousand glowing lanterns taking flight, “I See the Light” is in a league all its own. The sequence provides some of the most breathtaking visuals in an animated feature to date…and the song itself ain’t too bad neither. The double-meaning tune has Rapunzel seeing the very literal light of the lanterns she has long-yearned to experience up close, and “seeing the light” in the sense of realizing her growing feelings for Flynn. Flynn has the same “enlightening” epiphany regarding his own feelings, and all this “light-seeing” makes for an unforgettable moment which ranks among Disney’s most romantic. But I do have one question: Why did Mother Gothel tell Rapunzel her birthday was the same day as the lantern ceremony? Gothel literally could’ve picked any day of the year to assign as Rapunzel’s “birthday,” and avoided a whole lot of questions.
Another absolutely outstanding opinion by Brian. His spirited tribute to the ballad from the excellent Tangled challenged me to re-listen to it with open ears, and it’s become a favorite Disney song of mine since. I particularly love his attention to the visuals of the scene: It’s a stunning moment.
If you want to fall even more in love with the song, watch its adorable voice actors, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (aka Chuck) recording their vocal parts.
(Brian’s got a point about the birthday plot hole, though… I suppose it was a symbolic choice that resonated with Gothel and she assumed Rapunzel would never escape? Maybe keeping Rapunzel psychically linked to the trauma of her kidnapping somehow makes her hair magic even more powerful? Just speculating.)