When I first saw the trailers for Enchanted, the latest movie out of Disney, I was no more than mildly interested. I certainly saw no reason to see this latest “princess” film in the theaters. TheWife and daughter went on Thanksgiving Day to see the film, as I stayed behind preparing food. When my daughter came home, telling me how she would happily see it again, and that I just HAD to go see it, and she would even pay for it out of her own allowance to go see it again. Well, I had to go, and did (but no, I did not make her spring for it).
As is my usual, I will not give away the full story line, though you could probably guess your way through most of it, and wind up surprised by very little. This is about fairy tales, and princesses, not something you need to sit and decipher. So, if you want “Citizen Cane” then this film is not for you. But whether or not you are “into” princesses per se is not a requirement to see this film.
For those that remember back 5 years ago, when Lilo and Stitch was first being promoted, Disney did so with a series of commercials that were scenes Disney Classic films, in which Stitch entered in one way or another to become the twist on the story. Take that general idea, embolden it into a full length film where Disney is not afraid to poke a little fun at its own franchise of Princesses, and you have Enchanted.
But the film is more than that, which is what most took me by surprise. Sure there was the clearly overt sight gags and jokes about the cartoon world v. real world, but the humor and subtext actually is much deeper than it would initially appear. Because it is not only the animated world characters that learn something. It is people in the real world, learning a little something about love and happiness from the enchanted visitors as well.
You can’t help but find you own cynicism almost melting away as you watch the film. As Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) talks of True loves kiss. How she disarms people with her childlike qualities. Those same qualities, that we admire in kids, but somehow often “outgrow” or merely forget. This is why I say it is a film for everyone. Even the most jaded. “I hate princesses because they are not good role models” type of people can enjoy this film, and maybe even remember why princesses are things that many little girls dream about being. And even laugh about it along the way.
The film was splendidly cast, which helps pull off the spoofing of the classic films as well. Amy Adams does such a fabulous job with Giselle, she manages to capture perfectly what you would imagine a princess that was suddenly thrust into real world New York would be like. Susan Sarandon comes across splendidly as the combination of the Evil Queen and Maleficent, and while James Marsden may at first blush seem to be a bit over the top as the Prince, you realize that it really is more about the Prince and how he would react in this circumstances (with a bit of tongue in cheek thrown in) and realize just what a great job Marsden did.
I somehow doubt that this will join the ranks of Cinderella, Snow White and the rest of the classic Disney princesses. It is not something that you will see re-released every 10 years or so, on Special Edition DVD’s (or Blu Ray, or whatever comes after that), but I would not be surprised at all to see Giselle when we return to Disney World in 2009. As fluffy and sweet as Cotton Candy, this just may be the most brilliant combination of animation and live action film since Who Framed Roger Rabbit. What can I say, grab the kids and go.