Prince Edward finds his true love in Giselle. His mother fears her rule over the land is coming to an end and tricks Giselle into a wishing well that transports her to modern day New York City. Prince Edward follows, determined to rescue his princess, and the two find themselves in a strange land that has no place for Fairy Tales.
There were many movies released in 2007 spoofing various genres. Most were ridiculous drivel attempting to be the next Airplane! but only succeeding in becoming the next Scary Movie-Lite. Imagine my surprise when the best of the bunch ended up being a spoof of Disney’s classic family catalogue made by Disney itself. Enchanted plays as a typical Disney fairy tale that has no problem poking fun at itself. What makes it work so well and where others sputtered out and failed is it retains what makes the movies it is spoofing work so well – heart.
The movie starts off in animation as Prince Edward meets Giselle, and vows to marry her. The story is a take on Snow White with a little Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty thrown in for good measure. Giselle arrives at the castle for the wedding with her helpful forest animals but when she arrives, she is confronted by an old crone who pushes her into a wishing well. When she comes out the other end, she ends up in a place where there is no “Happily Ever After.” She climbs out of a sewer grate and finds herself in the middle of modern day New York City.
It is at this point that the animation ends and everything is transposed to the real world. It is also at this point that the movie really hits on what makes a spoof work, as we see Giselle’s new life juxtaposed with the perfect little life she once held in the Magical Kingdom. She is still able to talk to the animals and they are able to understand her and help her, but can no longer speak back to her. The biggest shock she finds is there is no belief in “Happily Ever After” in this new world and “Your One True Love” is not a widely accepted thought either. This is brought to her attention with her new friend Robert, who is a divorce attorney.
What helps the movie work so well is the casting of Amy Adams. She brings the wide eyed innocence of Giselle to life in the film and carries the story on her back throughout. When she arrives in New York City, Giselle is lost and scared and does not understand why people are so uncaring and unkind. She confuses many things, such as an angry midget she believes might be Grumpy and stumbles along until she finally finds someone who believes, a young girl named Morgan, whose father Robert is preparing for his own wedding with Nancy. All Giselle wants is to return to her land where everyone is peaceful and loving.
The acting in the movie is solid throughout. Susan Sarandon plays the evil Queen Narissa to great aplomb; bringing it over-the-top just enough to make you understand that she is still Fairy Tale Evil. Her son, Prince Edward, is played brilliantly by James Marsden in possibly his best role to date I have seen. He follows Giselle into the wishing well, planning to rescue his princess and then runs through New York City with a clueless ignorance. He chews up the scenery in every scene he is in. In a smaller role is Timothy Spall, who plays the Queen’s lackey Nathaniel, only wishing to please his queen at any cost. Known best for his role as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter movies, he is solid in this role.
What makes the script so charming is the fact there is not really a bad guy in the real world. With the idea of this being the “bad place,” it is interesting that the only true evil in the movie comes from the fairy tale land, and the characters we are introduced to in the real world (until Queen Narissa arrives) are all relatively good people who wish only for happiness. Even when relationship problems arise between the couple of Prince Edward and Giselle and the engaged couple of Robert and Nancy, none of the four show any evil desires and all prove they deserve to find happiness. When the movie ends, and we get the “Happily Ever After” ending in both fairy tale land and the real world, the movie proves a success on every level.
As a Disney production, none of this would matter if the songs failed to entertain. Luckily, the music was great throughout the movie. I don’t know if they were all Oscar worthy songs, but they do match up well with the high bar that Disney has set for itself during its long and storied history. True Love’s Kiss is the schmaltzy love song that is expected in this type of story and starts off the movie with the perfect Disney feel. Happy Working Song is fantastic, once again contrasting the life within the fairy tales to the ideas that house work is not too fun in our world. Giselle is able to carry the song off wonderfully thanks to the addition of the animals helping her with her cleaning, proving that you are never really that far from home. That’s How You Know might be the best song in the movie and most deserving of the three Oscar nominees. It is highly energetic and carries so many different styles that it is just a wonderful addition. The dance number includes many styles from young hip hop dancers to the stylings of classic entertainers from West Side Story and Mary Poppins. It is the highlight of the soundtrack.
Enchanted takes great liberties to poke fun at the Disney classics that came before, but never fails to remember the reason those movies are so beloved today is because they all have great heart. Enchanted also owns that great heart and proves to be a fable deserving of the Disney banner.
Fantasy Comes to Life is a three-part featurette that shows the creation of the movie. The first section describes the Happy Working Song sequence, and shows everything from the creation of the song to the creation of the CG characters. We also got to see the use of the real life animals in the sequence. It’s a great feature showing the combination of live action and CGI. That’s How You Know shows the work that went into creating the big dance number for that sequence. A Blast at the Ball shows the creation of the climax and talks about its influences in the Disney animation world. It is the weakest of the three featurettes.
There are six deleted scenes. The scenes are all set up with an introduction by the director explaining why they were cut or changed. A few scenes were originally shot but changed when they found a better way to make them work. Another couple of scenes were deleted for pacing because they weren’t needed. None of the scenes added anything important to the film, and all were good deletions. There was also a blooper reel that was typical fare.
Pip’s Predicament: A Pop Up Adventure is a story about Pip, the chipmunk, and tells the story of how Pip found Prince Edward to convince him to help save Giselle. All the animation was pop-up style. It was ok, and is geared more for little kids than anyone else.
There is a Carrie Underwood video called Ever Ever After that mixes scenes from the movie with Carrie as a princess, whose prince is in pursuit. It is what it is.
There is also a special feature that talks about how great the Bu-ray release was. The Blu-ray has a special feature that shows you the influences it is paying homage to as the movie is playing.