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June 18, 2024

Disney's Enchanted refreshes a tired genre

By NATALIE BERKMAN | November 28, 2007

When you go to see a movie on a Friday night, what do you look for? A few laughs, a little action to keep you on the edge of your seat and a romantic side are three important ingredients in a movie that audiences of all ages will enjoy. Fortunately, Enchanted has all of this and more.

Enchanted begins with a typical Disney princess tale. Giselle (Amy Adams) is trying to recreate the face of her true love from a dream with the help of her animal friends. Meanwhile, dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden) hears her singing and falls instantly in love. However, before they can be married and get their "happily ever after," Edward's evil stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), sends the hopeful princess-to-be to a place where there are no happy endings - New York City.

Giselle struggles in the real world until she meets Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). They take her in, and the magic begins. Robert and Morgan are confused when Giselle cuts up their curtains for clothes and calls on some New York City animals to do the housework. Meanwhile, Prince Edward comes after his future bride and brings with him the queen's assistant, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall). The queen has given Nathaniel three apples with which to kill Giselle.

Enchanted was adorable in every way. It both mocked animated Disney tales and created a unique story of its own. While Giselle seemed very unsuited for the real world, breaking out in song at random moments and calling animals to help her with household chores, she begins to teach Robert about expressing his feelings toward his girlfriend, Nancy (Idina Menzel), and encourages his daughter not to give up on old fairy tales. In return, Robert tries to tell Giselle about life in the real world while wondering why strange people keep giving her free apples.

Enchanted was refreshingly unique and a nice break from Disney's latest line of sequels. It juxtaposes the real world with an animated fantasy world and shows the glory in each. At the same time, it implores the audience never to give up on the fairy tales that keep people young.

Amy Adams played an adorable Giselle. She was innocent, na've and likeable. Her voice was lovely and her songs were cute, but as she progressed in the movie, she adapted to the real world quite well.

James Marsden was the perfect Disney prince. He was suave and charming - a little dense, but always with a song in his heart.

Patrick Dempsey was a good cynical New Yorker, and Idina Menzel was always good for a little comic relief at the right moments.

Susan Sarandon was deliciously evil, perfectly malevolent and witty! She was the epitome of all Disney villains, but she played out her role with flare.

Timothy Spall, after playing Wormtail in the latest Harry Potter movies, seems to excel at playing the unappreciated evil minion, but even his character had the opportunity to surprise people in this movie.

You may wonder how a movie that mocks itself and other films can possibly be unique? I asked myself the same question before seeing Enchanted. Somehow, they managed to do it. They made poisonous apples seem as though they were a clever plot twist, being delivered caramel coated or in the form of martinis. They made New York City seem magical, with huge musical numbers that surprisingly didn't seem unnatural or forced. The animated animals in the real world were adorable, even if some were vermin, and they tried to make it seem unnatural - in the real world, do cockroaches clean bathtubs upon a humming maiden's request? By making beloved classic tales seem unnatural, the makers of Enchanted created a clever, enjoyable movie.

Enchanted is suitable for all ages. Children will giggle at the chipmunk trying to speak in New York City and the dashing prince attacking a bus with a sword. Teenagers will get the songs stuck in their heads (I know I did) and won't leave the theater embarrassed at having seen a kids' movie. The adult humor goes unnoticed by the kids and there are impressive special effects that everyone will enjoy.

The transitions from the animated to real world were seamless, and every actor did his part to add to the movie. While at times the corniness gets a little old, there is always a point to it. The apples, the animal friends and everything else taken from the animated Disney classics were all there to make Enchanted corny. But despite all the overused references, the ending is still satisfying, even if you are expecting it.

When you go to see Enchanted on a typical Friday night, prepare for typical Disney "aww" moments in addition to not-so-typical comical moments. If you think that a typical Disney "happily ever after" isn't plausible in the real world, then prepare to be enchanted.

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