Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Year: 2007
Director: Kevin Lima
Cast: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Timothy Spall, Rachel Covey

After all those years of coming up with sweet and good natured films fitted with happy endings, Disney decided to make fun of themselves this time around. It's about time too.

Enchanted is a film where Disney takes their famous animated fantasies and fairy tales and merge them with the real world. And it is quite an effort indeed. I mean, think of all those 2-D film cartoons like Tarzan and Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin, and imagine what it would be like if they landed in a live action setting, which basically means turning the genre completely on its head. But the question is, does it work?

The story begins in 2-D, in the world called Andalasia, where a young maiden named Giselle dreams of finding her true love, and sings about it with her pet chipmunk Pip and the rest of her forest friends. A dashing prince, Edward, hears her singing and finds her, and in true Disney fairy tale fashion, takes her to his castle for a happily ever after marriage. But every tale like this has a villain, in this case, Edward's evil stepmother Queen Narissa. She doesn't plan on losing the throne to Edward and his bride, so she disguises herself as an old wretch and tricks Giselle into falling down a deep wishing well, where she is transported to a totally different world.

Up to this point, you'd be forgiven if you thought this was a classic Disney cartoon. But it is also at this point where the fun begins. Where has Giselle ended up? A place where there is no happily ever after. Which is: New York City. And now we move into live action. Giselle finds herself in the middle of a foreign land where no one is nice to her at all. She desperately tries to find her way home, but ends up getting robbed by a homeless man. Tough huh?

Luckily, she is rescued by a divorce lawyer, Robert Philip and his daughter Morgan. Robert is of course, a skeptic for happy endings, probably a pre-requisite for his career. As Giselle struggles to understand the way things are in the new world she is now in, Robert equally finds it hard to grasp the behaviour Giselle carries around. He thinks she is absolutely delusional, and rightfully so, since she acts like a complete fish out of water in his presence. However, Morgan takes a liking to her, and Robert tries his best to help Giselle, and even learns a thing or two about love and happiness from her.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward lands in New York with Pip the chipmunk in an attempt to find Giselle. But his efforts are hampered by his lack of understanding of this world, Pip's loss of ability to speak (this isn't a cartoon anymore haha) and the presence of Nathaniel, Edward's assistant who works in secret with Narissa to thwart her stepson's plans.

First off, I have to give points to director Kevin Lima and writer Bill Kelly for coming up with a truly entertaining film for audiences of all ages. You'll love all the characters here, from the naive and innocent Giselle to the well-meaning but over realistic Robert to the sometimes slow witted yet charming Edward. And Susan Sarandon is wonderfully hammy as the evil queen. Amy Adams is just perfect as Giselle. When you see her on screen, you will truly believe that she thinks of herself as a fantasy character, and that she believes in happy endings and all that fluff. It's sickeningly sweet, and yet intoxicating. Marsden gets to fool around this time, unlike in the X-Men films as Cyclops. Here, as Edward, he gets to play a total buffoon who can't understand Pip the chipmunk's sign language, which are some of the funniest things you'll ever see. Dempsey plays Robert the same way he plays McDreamy on that medical drama (oh you know which one) but is effective enough.

What else? Oh, Disney films usually come with song sequences. And Enchanted is no different. But how does it look like in the real world? Well, let's just say that it won't look out of place in a Bollywood film, but you know what? It's excellently done. Kevin Lima makes a particular song and dance sequence in Central Park hilarious and flawless, and even if you hate musicals, you'll find yourself tapping your feet along to it.

Perhaps you'll find the predictable happy ending as inevitable, and maybe even ridiculous, but there's just too much fun to be had to say no to watching this. Recommended. And bring the whole family. (4/5)

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