Thursday, April 3, 2008

At the Movies: Enchanted

A couple of weeks ago, on the very day of the release, my husband bought Enchanted for my daughter. Well, actually he bought it for me. But now my daughter has appropriated it.

Enchanted is about Giselle (Amy Adams of Junebug), a maiden from the animated magic kingdom of Andalasia, and her adventures in New York City. It starts with a super-sappy beginning similar to The Little Mermaid's statue scene, where Giselle has made a statue of her dream prince out of various odds and ends. All she lacks are lips. Therefore, she summons her animal friends with the power of her voice, and they all come help her solve the Lip Dilemma.

If it sounds sappy, you're right. It's sappy syrup poured on as thick as liquid concrete. And it's supposed to be that way.

All the while, she's singing about finding her true love. Cut to Prince Edward (James Marsden of the X-Men movies), who has just captured a giant troll. He hears her voice (a la Sleeping Beauty) and he goes off in search of her. So does the troll. At length, Giselle falls into Edward's arms and it's instantaneous love.

Or so they think.

After the evil granny from Snow White--who is actually the evil queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon)--pushes Giselle down a well, Giselle clambers out of a manhole in New York City. And the adventure begins when she meets divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his young daughter, Morgan (Rachael Covey).

The highlights of the film are the over-the-top songs. Disney spoofs itself throughout the entire film. Since I have a young daughter, I'm quite familiar with all the Disney movies. Readily identifiable were spoofs on Snow White (the Happy Working Song), Cinderella (the bubble scene), and Beauty and the Beast (Giselle running through a grassy field). And those are just the spoofs from the musical numbers. However, these scenes are like Easter eggs. I think you could enjoy the movie just fine without an encyclopedic knowledge of Disney flicks.

For me, Marsden stole the show from Dempsey. I watched him during the X-Men movies, where he played Scott Summers, a tightly-controlled character. In Enchanted, he flung off all restraint. Who knew he could sing? He leaps, he prances, he slays a bus. The best scene is where Nathaniel (Timothy Spall, who played Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter movies), a gardner back in Andalasia and a not-so-typical evil henchman, ask Prince Edward if he likes himself. Edward merely smiles and says, "What's not to like?" And he's right. Edward is somewhat dense and full of himself, but thoroughly likable.

Dempsey plays an understated character next to all these animations-come-to-life. His best scene is when Edward asks him if he has any last words while brandishing a sword at his throat. Robert says, "You have GOT to be kidding." Edward is perplexed and says, "Strange words." Well, maybe that wasn't his best scene, but I don't want to give it all away.

My daughter has watched this movie over and over, and my husband sat down and watched it with her yesterday. Even he liked it, and horror movies like 28 Days are usually more to his taste. It has a lot of humor that grown-ups can enjoy, and the syrupy sappy parts are so ridiculous that they will make you burst out laughing.

Go out and rent it, or buy it like we did. It's great fun.


John (Grasping for the Wind) said...

My wife an i swa this last weekend for the first time and loved it! We don't have kids, but all the Diney memories kept coming back. Thwe tongue in cheek method of poking fun at all the fairy tale princess Disney movies was great.

We thought the ending was little abrupt and could have used more action, bu all in all a good movie.

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm glad you liked it. My husband and I saw lots of Disney movies before we had any children. Now we've repurchased all of them in DVD. Disney's making a fortune.

Raven said...

I've been hearing lots of good things about this movie. I'm going to bump it up on my Netflix queue.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I saw most of it at a friend's house last week. The ending seemed to drag on a bit too long, but maybe that was my expectation and not reality.

I'll have to watch it again to see. It really was quite funny.

superwench83 said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't realize that Prince Edward was the guy from X-Men. I'm surprised my husband didn't notice. Wow. What two completely opposite roles, and he played both so well. Now that's a sign of real talent!

I liked the "What's not to like?" line, but my favorite Prince Edward line is when the evil queen says, "Don't you think that's a bit melodramatic?" and he replies, "Well... I don't know what melodramatic means." Ha!

Robert said...

I rented this a while back and watched it with my wife and son. I figured Annie would like it, but surprisingly it was quite enjoyable. Even our son liked it and he tends to have a short attention span ;)

CaroleMcDonnell said...

I sooo want to see this. I love fairy tales sooo much that whenever there's any new version of any fairy tale -- or whenever there's a spoof/parody-- I'm definitely out there to get it.

I gotta stand up for 28 Days Later, though (if that's the flick you meant -- not sure if you meant 30 days of night or 28 days later or 28 weeks later or the dreaded Sandy Bullock rehab comedy.) but 28 Days Later, if that's the one you were speaking about, is my absolute favorite horror flick. All those issues about male rage and mothering female characters. Have a great weekend

Tia Nevitt said...

Katie, that was another great line!

Carole, I guess I meant 28 Days Later--I'm not sure because I've never seen it! My husband said it was "28 Days" so I'm not sure. And I wasn't knocking it; I just find a lot of my husband's favorite horror flicks rather cringe-worthy.

Kimber An said...

I love spoofs. Will have to rent this one first, though.

Sara J. said...

Enchanted was awesome! I loved, loved, loved it and would pay money to see it again in the theatre, which doesn't often happen!

I think my favourite moments were all the ones where someone starts to burst into song and you get comments like, "no! no singing. Just talk like a normal person!" Especially near and dear to me because I have an abiding hatred of unneeded musical scenes ;)

CaroleMcDonnell said...


Hey there, woman! Didn't think you were knocking's just that I have a total love for that flick, the mother dynamics and all. Someone --not me-- ought to do a paper on the theme of mothers in post-apocalyptic movies: Caregivers, Rulers, New Eve's, et al.

I'm generally indifferent to zombie movies, myself. But if it's a good one: I am Legend, Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead and of course 28 days later, well...I'm there. -C

Tia Nevitt said...

I did see I am Legend recently, and I enjoyed that one. Perhaps I'll just go ahead and sit down and watch 28 Days Later with my hubby since you recommend it. I know he'd love it if I did so.

Kate said...

I just noticed that the 'evil' looking woman on the front cover looks a lot like Maleficent from Disney's sleeping beauty (the cartoon).