I believe that my colleague Kevin Carr said it best when he said that “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.” He was referring to Disney’s Enchanted, which hits DVD shelves today. I too was blown away by Enchanted, which was one of the movies I was most sorry to have missed last year during its theatrical run. In fact, I was so awestruck when I saw it for the first time the other night on DVD, I felt that I had to somehow share this merriment with all of you. And since Kevin has already written an Enchanted DVD Review, I wanted to find another way to illuminate the film’s brilliance — thankfully the DVD comes with a bunch of awesome extras.
You may have seen some of the following images, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth mentioning. One of the greatest accomplishments of Enchanted is the fact that it speaks to any Disney fan in a very familiar and almost private way — the film is filled with inside jokes and familiar moments that will make any long-time Disney movie collector feel warm inside. To illustrate some of the moments, Disney has released the following comparisons between Enchanted and some classic Disney tales.
The Beauty and the Beast
The Little Mermaid
And those are only a few. Check out the bottom of the page to see the rest. It is clear that these homages to older Disney movies were very on-purpose, creating a very magical and relatable experience for anyone who grew up watching some of the classics.
Along with the visual experience, there are also a lot of scripted moments in the film that can be traced back an earlier Disney Classic. These are listed in chronological order, so you can pick them out as you watch the film. Warning: There are a few spoilers in here, so you should probably watch the film once then go back and pick out these moments (Don’t worry, it is worth watching a few times.)
- Books open in many of the classic Disney films. The pop-up book is a modern take off on the traditional openings of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The hall the book is in is based on Evind Eryle’s artwork for Sleeping Beauty.
- Giselle is a combination of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel and Belle, but mostly she approaches life much as Snow White would.
- Animal friends accompany all of the classic princesses on their journeys – Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.
- You can see the bell jar with the rose in it, from Beauty and the Beast, clearly on the right as the camera pushes towards Giselle and Pip sitting on window seat.
- Prince Edward is a combination of Prince Charming, Prince Philip and the Prince from Cinderella and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.
- The name of the law firm is an homage to the songwriters of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith.
- The last name of the divorcing couple is Banks, based on the troubled parents in Mary Poppins.
- Robert’s assistant Sam is played by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
- The “Happy Working Song” is a complete homage to “Whistle While You Work.” It contains references to many other Disney films.
- The ending of the song is much like the end of “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid or “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast.
- Poison apples are a direct reference from Snow White.
- Rapunzel is being performed in the bandshell – an homage to the upcoming Disney film.
- Square trees in the Rapunzel performance look like the Eyvind Earle designs for the Sleeping Beauty trees.
- While Edward is in the hotel room changing channels, he sees both the news and a soap opera. The soap opera star is Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Her name is Angela after Angela Lansbury, Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
- The music that underscores the soap opera is the song Beauty and the Beast.
- The Bella Notte Restaurant is named after the song in Lady and the Tramp. There is a sign in the window at the far end of the restaurant.
- In Morgan’s bedroom as Giselle tells her the Red Riding Hood story: There is a Belle doll wearing sunglasses, which can be seen in the chair at the start of the scene.
- During Edward’s search for Giselle in the apartment complex: The pregnant mom is Judy Kuhn, the singing voice of Pocahontas.
- During the Ballroom scene: The Old Hag appears and convinces Giselle to bite into the last of the poison apples – Snow White.
- A kiss will wake Giselle from her sleep – Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
- Giselle loses her glass slipper – Cinderella. As well, the slipper fits Nancy perfectly – also Cinderella.
Along with the references in the film, the end credits also include quite a few visual references to past Disney classics, including:
- Fairies from Fantasia
- Wishing well from Snow White
- Frog Prince and kissing Princess from the upcoming Princess and the Frog
- Cinderella ball
- Cinderella’s palace
- Cinderella’s coach
- Cinderella’s mice friends
- The Little Mermaid
- Cinderella’s glass slipper
- The sword in the stone
- biting the poison apple
- Malefiecent the dragon
- Prince and princess kissing
So you see, it isn’t much of a stretch when we say that Enchanted is a beautifully crafted love letter to classic Disney films — there are moments that director Kevin Lima has pulled right out of the Disney vault and thrust back onto the screen in this film. As well, the performances from Amy Adams, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon are so good that it makes us think that if Walt Disney himself were envisioning these characters in the real world, this is what they would be like.
For any fan of classic Disney movies, Enchanted is easily the must-buy DVD experience of the year so far because that is exactly what it is: an experience. And a magical one, at that.
As promised, here are the other Enchanted v. Disney Classics images:
The Little Mermaid