A classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in a story about a fairytale princess (AMY ADAMS) from the past who is thrust into present-day by an evil queen (SUSAN SARANDON). Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer (PATRICK DEMPSEY). Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world? (from MovieWeb.com)
In 2001, DreamWorks won the hearts of moviegoers abroad when they told the story of a lovable ogre name Shrek in a way that poked fun at the fairytale genre and its stereotypes. In a sense, it was the DreamWorks animation team's way to attack Disney and the end result was nothing short of clever and hilarious. Now, three Shrek films later, Disney is taking pot shots at itself with Enchanted, a fun goof on the fairytale genre that takes its naive, fantastical nature into our real world for a wonderful fish-out-of-water telling that oftentimes borders on genius.
The ingredients that make Enchanted work so well are due mostly to a solid script and convincing acting. Amy Adams, as Giselle, channels the naivety of your usual storybook princess into live action human form with such passion and devotion to the character that it helps make the format work so well. James Marsden, as Prince Edward, is nearly unrecognizable from the laser-eyed Cyclops in the X-Men trilogy, and fills his character with an almost nauseatingly prideful charm that is altogther likeable and over-the-top, and just plain perfect for the role. To round out the inspired central cast, Patrick Dempsey plays Robert, a lawyer who's a single parent living in New York and discovers Giselle after she arrives in our world. Dempsey is a wonderful compliment to the fantasy life Giselle leads and his reactions as the straight man to her unnatural approach to life is seemingly just what you'd expect if placed in such a bizarre situation. Every great fairytale story must have a source of evil to contrast our heroes and Susan Sarandon embodies the real-life evil stepmother witch of a Queen wonderfully. She brings to life your usual Disney villainess to complete the storybook formula and make Enchanted work as amazingly well as it does.
From the opening scenes as a gushy animated fairytale, Enchanted pokes fun at itself, playing on every fairytale in the book as the story goes on, from Cinderella to Beauty And The Beast to Snow White. And allowing the fairytale characters to carry their "enchanted" fictional powers from their world in Andalasia into New York City and affect everyone and everything around them allows for some great setups. An example of the true genius in the storytelling can easily be shown when Giselle recruits the help of local New York wildlife to clean up Robert's apartment. Of course, this is the city and not a forest or meadow, so the only creatures that are available are pigeons, rats, flies, and of course, cockroaches. A beautifully ridiculous musical number ensues and the interactions between the vermin themselves and with Giselle is creatively done. Also, Giselle's small chipmunk sidekick, Pip, who talks in Andalasia, of course cannot speak like humans while in NYC, and must resort to charades to attempt to communicate with others. A particular instance of this, when Pip tries to tell Prince Edward of one of Queen Narissa's ploys as they sit in a restaurant, is one of the funniest moments in the film. Enchanted has enough cleverness and imagination sprinkled throughout its duration that it offers more laughs than most purely comedic films. It's also further proof that a movie doesn't need to be crass, crude, or shockingly vulgar and offensive to be very, very funny.
The content of Enchanted is certainly worthy of the PG branding. Although the film offers no profanities, there are some sensual moments or minor innuendos as well as creepy or intense scenes. The biggest surprise, however, is when Robert looks around his apartment to find out where Giselle had run off to and accidentally walks in on her in the shower. When we see Robert's perspective of Giselle, two pigeons fly down carrying a towel which Giselle wraps around her immediately, covering any possible nudity we'd see. Afterwards, Robert's girlfriend finds Giselle in this state and assumes they've slept together. It's some adult humor like this that pulls Enchanted into more mature territory than your usual family outings. And while it never gets overtly crude at any point, it definitely dances around the line of what can be allowed in a Disney film. Still, Enchanted may be one of the better movies you can take your whole family to this holiday season.
Enchanted is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2007. It's a musical, a fairytale, and a unique lesson in love and never giving up on it. A romantic comedy with a healthy dose of both romance and comedy, Enchanted is an example of Disney at its very best and almost the ideal poster film for the modern family movie. You won't have to worry about your kids hearing foul language that they might be likely to repeat or ask you about later, and any innuendo is likely to pass right over their heads. Enchanted is a wonderful little holiday distraction, and one truly fun trip to the movies!- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 3/14/07)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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