Sunday, December 2, 2007


My friend Stevie saw this a couple of weeks ago and loved it. It's been getting great reviews and solid box office numbers (perhaps it's this year's Happy Feet?). Even writer/blogger extraordinare Ken Levine gave it two big thumbs up! So I went to see it today. I had to suffer through a line at the box office (which didn't open until 11:17 am despite the sign saying it would open at 11:00!), wrestling with a wonky automated ticket machine (after deciding not to wait in line), an exceedingly slooooow escalator down to the theater which was blocked by an elderly gentleman trying to balance popcorn and soda and, although the theater was only 40% filled, 80% were brats young children who chattered throughout the movie. Good thing it was only $6.00!

The film both skewers and embraces the traditional Disney "princess." I enjoyed the skewering; the embracing--not so much. Examples of the twisted humor come when Giselle (the relentlessly upbeat and unflappably perky Amy Adams) decides to tidy up Robert's (Patrick Dempsey) apartment and tra-la-las out the window to call on her animal friends to help. Only being that it's New York City we don't get Bambi and Thumper, but instead an assortment of pigeons, flies, rats and cockroaches. Even the songs, by Disney stalwarts Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, have tongue firmly planted in cheek as with the lyrics from the Happy Working Song:

We’ll keep singing without fail
Otherwise we’d spoil it
Hosing down the garbage pail
And scrubbing up the toilet!
There have been lots of kudos for Amy Adams super performance--which is winsome without being cloying. But James Marsden as Prince Edward deserves notice as well. He commits to his cartoon Prince Charming with just as much gusto. At one point in the movie, his evil stepmother's henchman Nathaniel asks him, "Sire--do yourself?" To which Prince Edward answers, "What's not to like?" without a trace of irony. And Susan Saradon, with dastardly delight, tears into her role as the evil Queen Narissa. The clever script was written by Bill Kelly (Blast from the Past and Premonition) and directed by Kevin Lima (Tarzan and 102 Dalmatians).

Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black and Pushing Daisies) was one of the producers and his offbeat and stylistic sensibilities are evident in the look of the film--with assistance from costume designer Mona May and production designer Stuart Wurtzel. And I cannot go without mentioning the "creature" design work of the amazing Crash McCreery. McCreery has had an illustrious career with credits such as Jurassic Park, The Pirates of the Caribbean and Lady in the Water. Whenever I've seen something incredible on screen, I look for Crash McCreery's name in the credits.

All in all it's a sweet movie--albeit with the same twisted style that made Shrek so popular with both kiddies and their parents. I would have preferred a less pat and predictable "happy ending"--instead I would have liked to have seen Giselle incorporate what she learned in the "real world" back in the fairytale land of Andalasia and Robert bring a bit of fairytale into life in New York City. But that's me--I'm all about the bittersweet ending. I wanted Andie to end up with Duckie in Pretty in Pink and I think Tarzan would have been better off if Jane had just left him in the jungle and what in the world was wrong with Bill Pullman as Meg Ryan's sweet fianc´e; in Sleepless in Seattle? But for those who like their sugar with a good pinch of spice, Enchanted serves up the sweet with a whole lotta zing!

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