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Movie Review: Enchanted

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If I were a tween, I would have given this movie an A+++!!!! and another A++ if Zac Efron were in it. As I am a full-grown adult and much jaded by life and relationships, I had to give Enchanted (directed by Kevin Lima) a much lower grade.

When an animated Princess Giselle meets her true love, Prince Edward, in their fairytale world of make-believe, all is well and they are to be wed after knowing each other for only a day. When Prince Edward's stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), catches wind of the nuptials, she transforms herself into an old hag and Giselle into a wishing well. She can't have her stepson marrying and taking away her throne. Instead of getting a wish, Giselle gets sent over the side and into our real world.

Enter Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), a single dad and divorce attorney who is set to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Nancy (Idina Menzel). Robert thinks Giselle is a bit of a kook, but when his daughter takes a shine to a "real princess" he reluctantly gives her shelter. As they spend more time together, Giselle questions her love for Prince Edward and her growing affections for Robert. Should she choose the man with the gorgeous head of hair or her fairy-tale prince?

As an adult who saw the film with adult friends, we found many problems with the last half of the film. How did Prince Edward and Nathaniel pay for the motel room they were staying in? How did Prince Edward know which building to go to after arriving at the Bella Notte restaurant? Queen Narcissa is Prince Edward's step-mother so technically Prince Edward is King anyway if his dad has passed away, right? Don't dragons fly?

With scenes and poses lifted from classic Disney princess tales, Enchanted is surely a new franchise for the Big Mouse House. The casting was spot on. Amy Adams imbues a Disney princess come to life with her hand movements and lilting voice. James Marsden is hilarious as the dim-witted but handsome Prince Philip. Even the animated characters embody the actors who portray them. Prince Edward has the flowing locks of hair of Marsden, Giselle has the porcelain skin of Adams, and Queen Narissa has the angular face of Sarandon. As I saw the animated character of Nathaniel, I tried to picture what actor would play him. The first who came to mind was Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films. So who should pop up as the real world Nathaniel? None other than Spall himself.

Almost every character and business name featured in the film pays homage to a former Disney character or actor who portrayed them. Patrick Dempsey's character, Robert Philip is named after Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty. The news reporter on the television set that Prince Edward mistakes for a magic mirror is named Mary Ilene Caselotti – names of actresses who were the voice talent for princesses in previous Disney films (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White, respectively).

The song and dance numbers were definitely showstoppers worthy of any musical. With Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz at the helm, it's expected. The Central Park song and dance number "How Do I Know?" must have taken three weeks to film with all the choreography, dancers, and real world shots lifted from past films (look for Giselle with a parasol and Robert rowing them in a boat à la The Little Mermaid). I was surprised that all songs were sung by the actors themselves, but what a shame they never figured out a way to incorporate Idina Menzel's character of Nancy into the song and dance numbers! To have a musical and not have Menzel (who won a Tony for her role as Elphaba in Wicked) sing in it? Wrong, just wrong.

This film would be more interesting on DVD. The cast/crew commentary on the making of the film, the transformation of animation to real life, the visual effects process – all would be interesting to see.

So if you're a tween girl, you'll love this movie. If you're not, well – you might want to bring your daughter or niece along and experience it through her eyes.

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About BeTheBuddha

  • Sam Winters

    K.L Connie Chang,
    I don’t think you know anything about Movies.In my
    opinion you should stop writing REVIEWS for the
    Movies.It is amazing critics like you can get a
    Real Job in Real world.Go back to school PLEASE.
    For your information “ENCHANTED” will be nominated
    for OSCAR AWARDS,at least in EIGHT categories.
    Mark my word.

  • JustRelax

    Im an adult and saw this movie twice already.
    Both times everyone APPLAUDED.
    How often do people applaud after a movie? Not very often.
    An Animated fairy tale comedy brought to life, was truly magic in the making.

  • LaReina

    To the first replier: Eight Oscar nominations, huh? For original songs, maybe. But fluffy fun doesn’t mean something is Oscar caliber. (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Overall, it sounds like the reviewer liked it except for a few glaring plot holes that detracted from the overall enjoyment of the movie. Since “C” is average, the grade of “C+” means the reviewer found it to be slightly *better* than average, so I don’t see why you felt the need to attack her.

  • LaReina

    To the first replier: Eight Oscar nominations, huh? For original songs, maybe. But fluffy fun doesn’t mean something is Oscar caliber. (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Overall, it sounds like the reviewer liked it except for a few glaring plot holes that detracted from the overall enjoyment of the movie. Since “C” is average, the grade of “C+” means the reviewer found it to be slightly *better* than average, so I don’t see why you felt the need to attack her.

  • Alberto Vidal

    “Enchanted” is Disney’s best Movie ever. A+++!!
    I am 50 years old and watched this movie with my
    wife whom I have married for 24 years.This movie
    brought back the Romance in us as if we were on
    our first date.One of the best romantic movies of the year.As far as above Critic of the movie K.L Connie Chang, she badly need love in her Life.I think she needs to see a Psychiatrist.

  • Tina

    I agree with post #1 and #5.One of the best Disney Movies I have seen. A+++. Feel sorry for Miss Connie Chang but look what kind of hobbies she
    have- She like to ready Trashy Romantic Novels,What else can you expect from a person who reads trashy Romance Novels?Give me a break, please please stop writing reviews for the Movies.

  • farah

    i was hoping Giselle would pick Prince Edward… other than that it was great :)

  • Connie WANG

    First of all, if you’re going to berate my review, please get my name right. The last name is WANG, not Chang. I didn’t say I hated the movie, I said I would probably have enjoyed it more as a tween. My issues with the film were main unanswered questions and plot holes littered throughout the film, not the fact that it is a romantic movie.

    If you knew me, and you do not, you would know that I am the biggest romantic in the world.

    That’s great that all of you loved the movie! But I am entitled to my opinion as you are yours.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/robin_kavanagh Robin Kavanagh

    I tend to agree with Connie. Overall I liked the movie. It was funny and great for kids and adults. But yes, it had its shortcomings, like the overly trite portrayals of fairy tale stereotypes. The singing in the park was just overkill.

    And I think that Connie did a great job analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the film, like any GOOD reviewer should do.

    One bright spot that she did not mention was the scene at the ball when John McLachlan sang his beautiful ballad “So Close” as Robert and Giselle danced. It was his screen debut and though it was just him and a band on stage singing, it added just the right emotion to the scene. It was really nice.

  • hopelessfairytelllover

    So… to the first poster…
    sometimes how a character pays for somethin’ is irrevelant… its called in Enchanted… little things like that don’t mean that much. As for how Prince Edward knew which building to go to… He saw them on the TV walk into the building… Guess you didnt cetch that… I did however… Not all dragons fly… And Edward wouldnt be King… if there was a law saying he had to have a bride to be king.. or if he had to be a certain age to take the thrown.. which by then the Queen could easily change things so he couldnt be king unless he was married…

    As for the movie itself I loved it… came out not being able to stop smiling… that and singing… great feel good movie… Makes you want to believe in fairy tales again… Reality is soo harsh these days.. its nice to have a place to go and just let everything go.. even if its for a few hours…

  • Connie WANG

    Looks like Enchanted only got three nods in one category – Best song.

    As for my unanswered questions/plot holes in the movie – I’m sure they will all be answered in the DVD. My friend who worked on the film said those questions were all answered but were cut out of the final version of the film due to time.