Enchanted My Reviews 30 DEC 2007

EnchantedA classic Walt Disney fairytale story of the prince and his one true love Giselle, talking animals and all, are about to hit a bit of a bump in the road when Giselle is forced into our world through the machinations of the kingdom’s evil stepmother, the witch Queen Narissa. Bewildered, lost and without the staples that make an enchanted animated world what it is, Giselle is left to the mercy of modern New York City.

Fortunately for her, she is soon reluctantly rescued by a world-weary lawyer and his young daughter and slowly is given an opportunity to adapt to this strange new world – a world that unfortunately contains more emotions than just happiness and also carries a heavy lesson in reality for the young and rather na’ve Giselle!

Of course help is at hand when Prince Edward too decides to journey to our world in order to save his one true love, and much hilarity ensues as this fish out of water with a very sharp pointy sword strives to bring our world to heel and reveal the whereabouts of his princess.

Enchanted is the latest 2007 movie out of the Disney stable and is primarily a romantic comedy with the unusual twist of combining a traditional Disney 2D animated fairytale with the modern day, real world setting of New York City. The man behind the camera for this movie is Kevin Lima, a pretty unknown director who hasn’t done all that much work in the past, but has directed other Disney productions including 102 Dalmatians (2000), Tarzan (1999) and A Goofy Movie (1995).

Enchanted’s story starts out in a traditional Disney animated classic and we are introduced to the stereotypical Giselle, a woodland lover awaiting her prince in order to save her. Prince Edward is the stereotypical prince, complete with a dazzling smile and quick blade. Their happy union however is opposed by the evil Queen Narissa, who then boots Giselle out of the animated kingdom and into our world.

And this is pretty much where the humour of the movie lies. The translation of a character from their animated world antics to our real world provides a lot of laughs and unfortunately for the movie’s sake, the writers pretty much rely on this prop throughout the movie. That said it is funny to see someone create clothes from curtains, call over birds, rats and cockroaches to clean a house and to break out in song ala Disney spectacular style.

Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a romantic comedy without the romance, and it becomes pretty clear, pretty quickly that the grumpy, grounded in the real world Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) is going to fall for Giselle (Amy Adams) – unfortunately this budding relationship is going to come at the cost of two other relationships (the prince and Giselle and Robert and Nancy), a seemingly strange movie from the usually very PC, family-oriented Disney writing.

The movie is pretty structured in it introduces the characters, focuses on the budding relationship and then forces the characters to ultimately make their choices in the end, and as such the movie is pretty formulaic but makes for a successful and enjoyable romantic comedy. My only real gripe with the writing in the end is the fact that the writers spoil the movie a little by introducing an unnecessarily extended ending sequence, which just drags out the movie a little longer than what is needed.

The cast for the movie do an absolutely stellar job in their respective roles, with Amy Adams leading the pack with her portrayal of the na’ve Giselle. Patrick Dempsey is as suave and as much a lady killer as he is in his usual guise of Dr Dreamy in Grey’s Anatomy and plays his role of the slightly world-weary Robert with a lot of believability. Idina Menzel plays the perfect woman scorned as Nancy while Susan Sarandon plays one of the most brilliant evil stepmom witches you will ever see. My favourite however has got to be James Marsden though – the man has an absolutely brilliantly apt broad smile and sense of comedic timing for this role, and you honestly can’t help but chuckle every time you see him on screen.

While there isn’t much special in terms of the camerawork throughout the movie, it must be mentioned that the people behind the merging of animated sequences within real life footage have one an absolutely amazing job. One of the foremost examples of this is the plucking apples in the water scene, and you’ll have to see it for yourself to understand what I’m talking about. The other side to the movie is the clever use of CGI, particularly in the use of animating Pip, our clever little rodent who also makes the trip from Andalasia to New York City.

Alan Menken, who has worked extensively with Disney throughout his career, provides the soundtrack for Enchanted, with most of the actual singing done by Amy Adams herself who does a really good job on the performance. The soundtrack is indeed everything you would expect from a classic Disney soundtrack, so it doesn’t hold too many surprises in the end.

Overall, the movie functions really, really well as a romantic comedy that delivers a good dose of chuckles and smiles and also works in a nice budding romance (if you can ignore the breaking of the existing relationship) as well. It provides some action and thrills too, in fact it is pretty much one of those flagship family movies that almost everyone will enjoy.

So if you are looking for some family friendly, PG fun with a spice of romance, then Enchanted won’t do you any harm. It is a fun premise for a movie and delivers all the goods it promises, so no wonder it is getting such rave reviews – definitely another Disney winner!

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Related Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0461770/

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.