A tribute to and satire of the likes of Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Enchanted features a splendid mix of 2-D animation, live action, special effects, catchy musical numbers and sweet romance.
It is one of the best and more innovative works Disney have released in a while, and proves the strength of 2-D animation on the big screen (if used well).
Giselle (Amy Adams) – a fairytale character who lives in the 2-D animated world of Andalasia – is set to marry the dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden). However, Edward’s evil mother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) has other plans for Giselle, pushing her down a well which transports her to real life New York City.
Wondering the streets of the big apple confused and alone, Giselle is taken in by cynical divorce lawyer and single father Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey). As Giselle adjusts to her new environment, she begins to fall for Robert as her Prince Edward drastically searches for her whereabouts.
Amy Adams gives an excellent performance, her bubbly personality and infectious warmth – coupled with her great singing voice and radiant beauty – sure to make her a worldwide star. James Marsden also turns in a fine performance as the self indulgent, goofball prince, this movie along with Hairspray confirming his song and dance credentials.
Adams and Marsden (as well as Timothy Spall) portray their Andalasia carton characters in a very straight and realistic manner by catering to their characters natural behaviour, which although seen as over the top and campy by their real world counterparts, it works an absolute treat to us on the outside looking in. Only Susan Sarandon’s evil Queen over steps her bounds with her flickering tongue.
Mina May provides great, colourful costumes, and the production design by Stuart Wurtzel and art direction by John Kasarda is excellent.
Long-time Disney collaborators composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz contribute some great musical numbers, with the song “How Do You Know?” – sung by Adam Adams in a brilliant scene set in Central Park – sure to be a talking point amongst viewers after the movie. It is one of the best scenes of the year, and is wonderfully shot by director Kevin Lima, who does a great job bringing screenwriter Bill Kelly’s script to life. (Kelly wrote the similarly themed 1999 Brendan Fraser comedy Blast from the Past. Fraser cameo’s here as a daytime soap actor.)
The film confirms just how woefully cynical and jaded the world has become, where divorce has become a powerful enterprise, rude behaviour a celebrated past time, and hope a looked down upon emotion. These days if you are happy, you must be crazy. Public displays of affection are met with scorn.
Thankfully, a film like Enchanted comes along ad changes the tide a bit. Snobs will hate it because of its happily ever after ending. Everyone else will love it for the exact same reason. After all, a little fantasy never hurt anyone.