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Enchanted

A 2007 movie directed by Kevin Lima.

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Enchanted Indeed

  • Jan 29, 2009
Rating:
+5
Pros: The whole concept is just brilliant!

Cons: I guess it's still just more of the same when all is said...

The Bottom Line: My vote for Best Disney Princess is probably Jasmine.

Would you like to know the big difference between your favorite Disney fairy tales and the real world? According to Enchanted, the big difference is the Disney characters are all a lot happier. The villains in the Disney movies are villains because they wear black and are just very p*sed off all the time. At least that's the gist of Princess Giselle's transformation in the very fun Disney movie Enchanted.

Disney has been struggling to come up with decent kids' movies ever since their child animation studio, Pixar, moved out on its own. Pixar has been responsible for some of the most imaginative movies of the last decade: The Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and the incredible and daring Wall-e, most of which were made without Michael Eisner breathing down their necks. Disney itself has become irrelevant since the millennium. But signs of life are beginning to show again: In November we met Bolt, the dog who thinks he's a wonder dog, which was a worthy effort even though it seriously dropped off in the final half. But before then, Disney decided to have a little bit of fun at the expense of its Princess factory image. What came of it was enchanted, a phrase you may take any way you wish.

Enchanted is standard Disney Princess fare. You have the Princess who pines for the handsome Prince, the cute little animal, the evil witch-come-dragon, and there's even a poison apple involved. Enchanted begins in the fictional world of Andalasia, where the impossibly perky Princess Giselle lives her days doing typical Disney Princess things: Talking with her talking animals, breaking out into random song and dance routines, and waiting on Edward, the obligatory handsome Prince, to come and give her true love's kiss. But with every good smitten Princess comes an evil witch, who hates Giselle and decides to banish her to a different place. The new place is in the kingdom of New York City, somewhere between Andalasia and the real world.

I give all the credit in the world to Amy Adams for her performance as Giselle. She pulls off her ultraperky exterior with aplomb, and when she feels anger for the first time, the perkiness melts away. Once she arrives in New York City she comes off as odd even by New York City standards. When she sees a castle in a billboard advertisement, she climbs the billboard and starts knocking on the door. While she does this, she is discovered by Robert and his daughter. Robert is apparently a divorce lawyer and his daughter isn't happy with Nancy, his girlfriend. Since Enchanted is a standard Disney Princess movie at its heart, you can probably guess how everything plays out from here. There really aren't any shocking twists, and so the magic of Enchanted comes from its setting.

The Disney Princess in the real world - or at least the New York City - setting is surprisingly effective. The arrivals of all of Andalasia's main characters creates some of the funniest and most amusing scenes ever seen in a Disney movie. Being in a whole new world doesn't stop Giselle from singing her merry songs while she cleans Robert's apartment, but instead of the cute, fuzzy kinds of animals associated with such scenes, a collection of rats, cockroaches, and pigeons gathers to help Giselle with the cleaning. At the end of the cleaning song, we see a pigeon and a roach standing in side-by-side harmony - at least right until the moment the pigeon snaps up the roach and eats it! Another great scene shows Edward bravely slaughtering a "steel beast" which is actually a bus. (Now what does he intend to do about the other five million steel beasts running unrestricted through New York City?)

Enchanted builds up a lot of momentum within the first hour concentrating on its fish-out-of-water device. But the movie can't go on this way forever and it knows it. Once Giselle is finished learning how to fit it, Enchanted makes the switch to developing the relationship between Giselle, Robert, his daughter, and Nancy. Unfortunately, the momentum shift happens on a dime. It happens precisely at the moment I mentioned earlier, in fact, where Giselle loses her temper with Robert for wrecking her ideas of what true love really is. She starts to think, and a lot of the rest of the movie shows her trying her new ideas of love out on Edward. Meanwhile, Robert wonders if Nancy is really for him. The remainder of Enchanted's main plot device is left for Edward, who thinks the television set is a magic mirror. 

Despite the downward shift in momentum, the intersecting storylines manage to mesh with each other as easily as one could hope for, and one never gets dominated by the other. There are the developing relationships between Giselle and everyone else, but they don't stop the parade of silly Disney Princess cliches. After everything, there is still room for musical numbers, a ball at the end, the appearance of the evil witch, attempts to poison Giselle, and of course the final transformation of the witch into a massive dragon. Yes, there's a dragon in this thing and it mainly serves to prompt the question "Why so elaborate? If the witch wanted Giselle dead that badly, couldn't she have simply hired a street gang or a hitman?" There aren't any twists on the standard Disney formula, unless you count the girl being the one who saves her guy from the dragon as a twist. 

As if you couldn't guess, the ending of Enchanted is a happy one. Everyone gets what they want. The girl gets the guy, the other girl gets a guy who was probably better for her, the dragon got dead because everyone knows climbing up a tower in New York City means you're going to jump and that's what happens to this dragon, and the little girl gets a mommy who she really loves. What I thought was pleasantly surprising about this neat little wrap-up was how smoothly it went. Despite everything that happens in Enchanted, none of it comes out as forced. It has an very natural flow. But then again, Disney is spoofing itself and so it knew the script.

Enchanted is simply a great movie. It's a great Disney movie, a great family movie, and a great kids' movie. Even more importantly, it breathes fresh new life into the stale Disney Princess concept and shows that Pixar may still have some considerable competition if it wants to corner the market on family entertainment. So if you like Disney's animated movies, you have no reason to avoid or dislike Enchanted.

Recommended:
Yes

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More Enchanted reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
It's good to see that even a film powerhouse like Disney can make fun of themselves sometimes. As much as I liked them when I was a young child, the Disney Princesses aren't very good role models, and the princess in this film, Giselle (played by Amy Adams) is just like that in the beginning, until she is tossed into the real world and becomes accustomed to the real world. The story is why I like this film so much, and why I think it's really underrated.      I like …
review by . December 20, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
original, witty, and very entertaining. The plot is a spoof of typical Disney cartoon romances. I love how it mixes fairytale characters with the hustle of modern New York. The blend is seamless. The cast is really well-suited to their roles - both fairytale and modern. When the cartoons transform into actors, they become real people but never lose a sense of fairytaleness. However, Amy Adams shines through as the naive but charming Giselle. She is able to say the most insane lines while keeping …
review by . November 15, 2008
Some day my prince will come   Some day we'll meet again   And away to his castle we'll go   To be happy forever I know     (Lyrics from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Some Day my Prince Will Come)     "Enchanted" begins in an animated land named Andalasia, with a young girl named Giselle (Amy Adams) meeting the prince of her dreams, Prince Edward (James Marsden) and preparing to live happily ever after. Andalasia, and large …
review by . October 24, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Pretty people      Cons: Pretty people acting very badly and terrible songs       The Bottom Line: Fluff fluff fluff.  Knowing that going in may save a few brain cells.  It is a good "cuddle" movie perhaps (which is why I don't give it one star).      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Enchanted is a way for 4 actors to go back in time when all movements had …
review by . May 16, 2008
Since Shrek, numerous studios have produced movies that overtly combined themes from classic Disney cartoons. So it was only time before Disney joined in; the result being this combination cartoon - live action flick titled "Enchanted". The story is simple enough, but the execution was actually very impressive. As a Disney movie, there is singing, and it was actually quite good. The comedy was original enough, and appropriate for both adults and children. The casting was also good, with Susan Sarandon …
review by . May 15, 2008
Pros: Amy Adams' performance, McDreamy's cuteness     Cons: cliched, predictable, unfunny, cheesy; too many cons to list      The Bottom Line: I nearly vomited.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Maybe I’m becoming cynical in my old age, but I’ve hated every movie I’ve seen recently—even ones that were highly recommended. I feel like Elaine from Seinfeld in the episode about The …
review by . May 13, 2008
Ingeniously incorporating a mix of memorable elements from earlier fantasy classics, including The Wizard of Oz, Men in Tights, King Kong, and their own fairy tale repertoire, the Disney folks, whose products are often annoying, have turned up a winner. Filmed like a musical, Enchanted is a delightful, sometimes fanciful , sometimes realistic tale about make believe characters who wind up in NYC because of the curse of an evil queen. Amy Adams and James Marsden are perfectly cast as the innocent, …
review by . April 23, 2008
Pros: Excellent family movie, You will not be disappointed.     Cons: Nothing at this time     The Bottom Line: I would highly recommend this for all children and adults alike. You will not be disappointed.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. This movie first starts out in the animated world of Andalasia. (Giselle played by Amy Adams) loves to prance around and have interraction with all the animals …
review by . April 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
When Mike Myers poked fun at fairy tales in the "Shrek" films, he did so by blending pop culture into the stories. The result was hilarious. Disney takes the humor up a notch with the live action/briefly animated family feature, "Enchanted." With a vast amount of excellent material to use as references, Disney took the generic story of a princess living in a fantasy land and smacked it in the face with a good dose of New York-style reality. The result this time was a film that …
review by . March 23, 2008
You can get a review of the actual film and plot from various sites so this is just focusing on the DVD release. 'Enchanted' is by far one of the best movies of last year and one of the best Disney films. It's almost like the many spoof movies out there taking on the stereotypes found in Disney movies with the twist of setting the main plot in the 'real' world, though the animated and real world often are competing, showing the differences between what we hold as reality and the idealistic values …
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #19
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Wiki

Life is idyllic in the fairytale world where conflict is minimal and breaking into song solves every problem, but what happens when a princess from the fairy world gets magically transported into the real world?Enchantedbegins in the animated fairytale world of Andalasia where Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is destined to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden) and live happily ever after. Problem is, Edward's step-mother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) doesn't want to give up the throne and will do anything to get Giselle out of Edward's life. Queen Narissa's solution is to push Giselle into a well that magically lands Giselle smack in the middle of the real world--the center of Time Square in New York City, to be exact. This launches the live-action portion of the film where Giselle immediately realizes that things are frighteningly different in this new world and that she is ill-prepared for the callous ways of the people who inhabit it. Giselle finds herself alone on a stormy night in the wrong end of town, but a chance encounter with Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his princess-loving daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey) leads to a warm, safe place to spend the night and the beginnings of a complicated, yet compelling relationship. As Giselle begins to question the fairy-tale truths she's always inherently believed, Robert's outlook on life and love also begins to change significantly. Parallels to the classicDisneyfairytales,Cinderella,Snow Whiteand Sleeping ...
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Details

Director: Kevin Lima
Genre: Music, Musical
Release Date: November 21, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008
Runtime: 107 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
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