25 October 2016

Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Animators are sometimes inspired by real-life locations. The kingdom Corona from the animated Walt Disney movie TANGLED from 2010, situated on an island, was based on Mont-Saint-Michel, a tidal island in France.

Tangled, 1:01:34
Princess Rapunzel, abducted as a child, has been raised in a tower by the mean Mother Gothel. Her hair was never cut and is longer than the tower. Her eightteenth birthday is approaching and she manages to escape from the tower to visit Corona, not knowing she was born there. Mont-Saint-Michel has an abbey on top of the island, in the movie it is the royal palace. The bridge that connects the island with the mainland is curved, but in the movie it is straight and made of stone to give it a more medieval look.

The kingdom is seen by day as well as by night. Mont-Saint-Michel is not being lit after dark. Less than 50 people live on the island permanently, but during daytime thousands of tourists make a visit, especially in high season.

Tangled, 0:01:39
Mont-Saint-Michel, 29 July 2016
Tangled, 1:05:15
Mont-Saint-Michel, 28 July 2016

During the end credits the kingdom is seen twice again. Its location is very similar to Mont-Saint-Michel and the mainland of Normandy. It is possible to walk to the island when the tide is low, but should only be done with a guide because some areas have quicksand and are dangerous.

Tangled, 1:31:24
Mont-Saint-Michel, 29 July 2016
Tangled, 1:32:38
Mont-Saint-Michel, 29 July 2016

Six years earlier Mont-Saint-Michel was seen in another Disney production, MICKEY DONALD GOOFY: THE THREE MUSKETEERS, a direct to dvd movie released in August 2004.

Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, 0:59:35
In this colourful adaption of the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas from 1844, Mickey, Donald and Goofy all dream of being a musketeer serving Minnie, princess of France. Captain Pete orders them to protect the princess. He thinks the trio is not able to carry out this task and hopes that he will become the king of France. When Minnie and Daisy, her lady-in-waiting, are being kidnapped, Mickey is being captured and put in prison by Pete. Luckily, Donald and Goofy manage to help him escape.

Although situated in 19th century France, the design for the palace and other buildings were not based on existing locations, with the exception of the prison. Mickey’s dungeon is at Mont-Saint-Michel, which is not a strange choice: after the French Revolution in 1791 the monks were expelled from the abbey which would then serve as a prison until 1864. The island is seen both at low tide, when the road becomes visible, and at high tide, surrounded by water. Some elements are identical, like the small tower on the left and the fortress wall.

Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, 0:40:22
Mont-Saint-Michel, 28 July 2016
Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, 0:47:36
Mont-Saint-Michel, 29 July 2016
Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, 0:48:07
Mont-Saint-Michel, 28 July 2016
Mickey Donald Goofy: The Three Musketeers, 0:48:25
Mont-Saint-Michel, 29 July 2016

Screenshots © Walt Disney Pictures