Monday, November 26, 2007

Enchanted


On Thanksgiving, my family and I made a trek to the movie theater to see the new Disney movie, Enchanted. From the preview, the concept looked like a lot of fun. There was some worry that it could end up a little overdone or gimmicky (throwbacks to Roger Rabbit or Cool World or other animation/live-action mashups). Fortunately, the writers took this one in a different direction.

For those who haven't heard the premise yet, we basically start the movie in the proverbial fairy tale land of many Disney animated films. There's a girl dreaming of true love, a prince dreaming of true love, and a wicked queen trying to stop them. The animation style feels a bit different from other Disney animated films. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. The colors seem a little more vibrant and some of the characters a little sharper around the edges. Part of the reason for this is to contrast against the "real world" of live-action to come later.

As the two love-birds inevitably come together, the queen comes up with a plot to separate them by shoving the princess down a deep well that plunges her into a world with "no happily ever afters." That world of course is our world, and not just anywhere in our world, but the heart of New York City.

Amy Adams does a great job as Giselle, the confused and disoriented princess. Her first day in New York is spent trying to navigate the city in a cartoony over-the-top wedding gown. A lot of the initial jokes and humor scene during these encounters seem a bit forced at times but she still does a good job of keeping the illusion of this innocent cartoon girl thrown into a harsh reality.

Once she meets Patrick Dempsey's character Robert and his daughter Morgan, the story really begins to evolve. Giselle still remains the naive idealistic girl you'd expect from your stereotypical cartoon. Rather than forcing New York to change her, the writers creatively let her change New York. Robert is dumbfounded as she sings her way around Central Park or talks of True Love blooming from an instant's meeting with her prince. He tries to convince her that life and the world just doesn't work that way.

Giselle's true love Prince Edward also joins the fun in New York City as he comes to bring her home. Edward is handsomely oblivious to everything. He isn't terribly bright and is far too self-centered to fully grasp the nature of this new world he's in. Following close in his shadow is the lackey Nathaniel. Nathaniel's character has a surprising amount of depth considering the minor role. Like the other characters, he is an archetype, but his character transforms and grows slightly throughout the film, not enough to warrant stellar awards, but just enough to be believable.

Though the drama of the film is often predictable and the situations are over-the-top corny, Enchanted leaves you feeling good. When the evil queen makes her dramatic climactic appearance near the end of the film, the actions that take place seem overly forced. It's as if the filmmakers wanted/needed an excuse for crazy special effects and a dragon but the writer didn't agree. The dragon scene was to me the most out of place moment of the film. While the scene was exciting and fun, the dialog, motivations, and the scene that led up to it just didn't fit well.

Still, all things aside, I would recommend this film to anybody that is a fan of cheesy fairy tale animation, romantic comedy or just light hearted family faire.

It's not a stellar blockbuster of the year, but I suspect it's going to do VERY well this holiday season with families looking for good fun activities to do with their kids.

Okie's Rating

3.5/5

2 comments:

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The Jerc said...

thanks for the compliment on The Hills--I like YOUR write up, too. I haven't seen Enchanted yet, but I think it'd be a nice movie for kids...or women who go ga-ga over Patrick Dempsey.

"It's as if the filmmakers wanted/needed an excuse for crazy special effects and a dragon but the writer didn't agree."--haha, but what's a prototype fairytale without a dragon?!