Reviews

Review: Enchanted

If I were a tween, I would have given this movie an A+++!!!! and another A++ if Zac Efron were in it. As I am a full-grown adult and much jaded by life and relationships I had to give "Enchanted" (IMDb listing) (directed by Kevin Lima) a much lower grade.

When an animated Princess Giselle meets her true love, Prince Edward, in their fairytale world of make-believe, all is well and they are to be wed after knowing each other for only a day. When Prince Edward’s stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), catches wind of the nuptials, she transforms herself into an old hag and Giselle over to a wishing well. She can’t have her stepson marrying and taking away her throne. Instead of getting a wish, Giselle gets sent over the side and into our real world.

Enter Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), a single dad and divorce attorney who is set to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Nancy (Idina Menzel). Robert thinks Giselle is a bit of a kook, but when his daughter takes a shine to a “real princess” he reluctantly gives her shelter. As they spend more time together, Giselle questions her love for Prince Edward and her growing affections for Robert. Should she choose the man with the gorgeous head of hair or her fairy-tale prince?

As an adult who saw the film with adult friends, we found many problems with the last half of the film. Such as how did Prince Edward and Nathaniel pay for the motel room they were staying in? How did Prince Edward know which building to go to after arriving at the Bella Notte restaurant? Queen Narcissa is Prince Edwards step-mother so technically Prince Edward is King anyway if his dad has passed away, right? Don’t dragons fly?

With scenes and poses lifted from classic Disney princess tales, Enchanted is surely a new franchise for the Big Mouse House. The casting was spot on. Amy Adams imbues a Disney princess come to life with her hand movements and lilting voice. James Marsden is hilarious as the dim-witted but handsome Prince Philip. Even the animated characters embody the actors that portray them. Prince Edward has the flowing locks of hair of Marsden, Giselle has the porcelain skin of Adams, and Queen Narissa has the angular face of Sarandon. As I saw the animated character of Nathaniel, I tried to picture what actor would play him. The first that came to mind was Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films. So who should pop up as the real-world Nathaniel? None other than Spall himself.

Almost every character and business name featured in the film pays homage to a former Disney character or actor who portrayed them. Patrick Dempsey’s character, Robert Philip is named after Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty. The news reporter on the television set that Prince Edward mistakes for a magic mirror is named Mary Ilene Caselotti – names of actresses who were the voice talent for princesses in previous Disney films (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White, respectively).

The song and dance numbers were definitely showstoppers worthy of any musical. With Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz at the helm, it’s expected. The Central Park song and dance number “How Do I Know?” must have taken three weeks to film with all the choreography, dancers and real-world shots lifted from past films (look for Giselle with a parasol and Robert rowing them in a boat a la The Little Mermaid). I was surprised that all songs were sung by the actors themselves, but what a shame they never figured out a way to incorporate Idina Menzel’s character of Nancy into the song and dance numbers! To have a musical and not have Menzel (who won a Tony for her role as Elphaba in Wicked) sing in it? Wrong, just wrong.

This film would be more interesting on DVD. The cast/crew commentary on the making of the film, the transformation of animation to real-life, the visual effects process – all would be interesting to see.

So if you’re a tween girl, you’ll love this movie. If you’re not, well – you might want to bring your daughter or niece along and experience it through their eyes.

Filmfodder Grade: C+