The idea of a post-modern fairytale has been done before
– but rarely with such love and skill as it is in
The film takes the typical
fable formula of most animated fare and gives it all an affectionate
Amy Adams is perfection as
Giselle, the storybook princess who is transported from her animated world
to modern Manhattan. Adams effortlessly captures the innocence and
kindness of the character without becoming a spoof of herself; sweet but not
saccharine, charming and at the same time disarming. This is truly a
star-making performance (though Adams has already had one of those in
Junebug). If this performance doesn't make her an A-lister (and
all signs point to the fact that it will) then there is no sense in
Enchanted is a
fish-out-of-water tale and at the same time it is so much more.
experiences New York City the audience is able to re-experience the magic of
the big city, seeing it through Giselle's completely irony-free eyes.
She is followed to the big city by her Prince Charming (James Marsden of
Hairspray), a courtly and brawny galoot who is as brave as he is
slightly dense. There is also weaselly servant (Timothy Spall) and a
smart and cute chipmunk.
Giselle comes to question her beliefs when she meets some natives and comes
to love the city – and a family she meets there.
Patrick Dempsey plays the
anti-Prince Charming, a cynical divorce lawyer who has lived through the
breakup of his own marriage. He is trying to get his little daughter
to give up on her fantasies about princesses, so he is shocked when they
meet one and both fall for her.
All of this is peppered
with a wonderfully playful score by Howard Mencken of Beauty and the
Beast, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid fame. The songs work
particularly well in a Berkley-esque dance sequence in Central Park and the
scene where Giselle sings and calls for the furry forest creatures to help
her clean, but she is only able to find rats, pigeons and cockroaches.
Of course, no fairy tale is
complete without an evil stepmother and Susan Sarandon brings the mean as
the witchy woman who tries to kill our heroine. This leads to a climax
that might be a touch too special-effects heavy for the film's good – in
fact it is surprisingly reminiscent of the ending of Aladdin –
however this slight misstep can't undo the bushels of goodwill that Adams
and the script have already brought to the screen.
animation giving way to the slightly more soulless computer-generated type,
Enchanted may indeed be the wave of the future. At the very
least, it's the most entertaining blend of live action and animation since
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 26, 2007.