Recently, there have been a lot of twisted fairy tales hitting the big screen. The obvious ones are the Shrek films, but there have been plenty of others, including Ella Enchanted, Hoodwinked and Happily N’ever After.
Some of these have been good. Others have been bad. Whichever the case, I thought I was done with them. Then Enchanted came out at the end of last year. While it looked decent, I was worried because the gene pool for these films had gotten pretty shallow. However, when I finally saw the film, I was completely wrapped up in the magic of the whole thing.
Enchanted is Disney’s love letter to itself and its fans. It starts off in the animated fairy tale land of Andalasia with Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) searching for her true love. The charming Prince Edward (James Marsden) comes along, and it’s love at first sight. However, Edward’s mother is none too happy about a possible new queen, so she banishes Giselle into the real world.
Here’s where the story really starts. Amy Adams brings the Disney princess to life perfectly as she struggles to deal with the challenges of New York City. She befriends a divorce mediator named Robert (Patrick Dempsey), who is struggling with the challenges of being a single dad. Soon, Giselle starts to learn the ways of the real world, and her future in Andalasia is in jeopardy.
It is rare for me to use a term like “magical” to describe a film, but this movie deserves it. The somewhat used premise rides on Amy Adams’ shoulders, and she manages a perfect mix of doey-eyed cheesiness and true empathy. And James Marsden really steals the show as the corny prince.
Any fan of the Disney films should love this movie, if not for the good-natured introspective ribbing, but also for the ridiculous number of in-jokes throughout the film. As a family film, this movie works perfectly. There’s plenty in there for the kids, and there’s also so many jokes for parents. Even though it’s basically a modern princess story, there’s also a lot for the boys to like. In fact, my four-year-old son demanded to watch it over and over again. I don’t know a better endorsement for a cross-generational and cross-gender family film than that.
The DVD comes with a selection of deleted scenes and on-set bloopers. There are also three short featurettes describing how the larger musical numbers and effects shots were achieved. Finally, for the younger viewers, there is a virtual pop-up story following Pip the talking chipmunk.
The Upside: Amy Adams is just adorable in the role.
The Downside: There are sure to be cheap knock-offs for years to come.
On the Side: Get the BluRay release to find all the references and in-jokes to classic Disney films.