Enchanted surprisingly enjoyable
December 10, 2007 —
Enchanted looked like a terrible movie to me. I imagined that the blending of an animated world and a live action one would be destined for failure. Enchanted handles it just the right way, though, and, as it turns out, is a humorous, sweet and surprisingly witty film.
Amy Adams stars as Giselle, a young would-be princess in an animated wonderland. James Marsden is a handsome prince whose stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), wishes to keep him home and single. Of course, the two youngsters inevitably meet and immediately decide upon marriage. When Giselle arrives for the ceremony, though, Narissa throws her into a well, which deposits her in live-action New York City, where she meets Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey).
What really sets Enchanted apart is its self-awareness. The movie knows how hokey its animated world is, and the characters are handled just right as a result. Amy Adams won me over with her portrayal of Giselle, who is so unerringly nice, but, just as an animated character forced to deal with the real world would likely be, has the potential for more informed stages of humanity.
James Marsden's character, Prince Edward, provides some of the best laughs in the film. Completely clueless and drawing his sword on anyone suspicious, he at one point begins to break into classic Disney song before being ran down by a group of bicyclists.
Patrick Dempsey does a nice job in what would seem to be a challenging role, dealing with a woman either really from an enchanted kingdom, or mentally ill. I, however, would have been convinced when I arrived home to see her cleaning the apartment assisted by swarms of rats, birds and cockroaches, but that's just me.
I did pick up on some references to various fairy tales, usually ones which have been hijacked by Disney, in Enchanted. No doubt more experienced Disney viewers will spot many such references. This is part of the appeal of the movie, because it's directly in line with its self-awareness. In order to get the most out of the film, it's necessary to be versed in the lore that it comes from, the classic children's animated film. There is, for example, a sort of inversion of Sleeping Beauty late in the movie, which would be entertaining on its own, but is more fun after recognizing it.
I was also not entirely apathetic to the plights of the characters. This is a basic quality that is too often overlooked, leading to movies with monotonous and monotone characters that can live or die with no reaction from the audience. Maybe it's the sap in me, or maybe the movie is just very effective, but I really wanted Giselle and Robert to get together, and what was most notable about this was that I felt that way before the movie even began dropping clues that it was a possibility. When these clues did show up, I was relieved.
There are a few logical inconsistencies to be found in Enchanted. On the subject of the animals, they lose their ability to speak once they enter our world. Why then, can Giselle still call them and communicate to them through speech? These are small quibbles, and when they are the biggest problems I have to report, I'm assured that I'm reviewing a good movie.