1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

'Enchanted' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey star in Enchanted

Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey star in Enchanted.

© Walt Disney Pictures
Have you ever wanted to burst out singing in the middle of a big city park? Do you still believe in happily ever after endings? If the answer’s yes to either of these questions, consider yourself the ideal audience for Enchanted, a sweet and silly Disney film starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon.

Disney not only pokes fun at itself with Enchanted, but also introduces yet another princess whose pretty image is sure to be seen on every sort of merchandise imaginable. Everything and everyone is cute (with the exception of the villains) and the songs are catchy, and marketing this movie to young girls ought to be pretty darn easy. Marketing it to adults – particularly males – is the real challenge.

The Story

Enchanted begins in the cheery animated fairytale world of Andalasia. Princess Giselle’s singing to her adoring animal friends about her dream of finding a handsome young prince who’ll sweep her off her feet. No sooner do the words leave her mouth when suddenly Prince Edward (Marsden) appears on the scene and proposes marriage, declaring with all of his animated heart his everlasting love. But Edward’s stepmother, the evil Queen Narissa (Sarandon), isn’t about to give up her throne to the young couple. Narissa’s not ready to step aside and so she does what every good animated Disney villain does, she tricks the perky princess.

Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden star in Enchanted

Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden face off in Enchanted.

© Walt Disney Pictures
Banished from the cartoon world on her wedding day and in her enormous wedding gown, Giselle (Adams) crawls out of a manhole in Times Square and into the strange world of flesh and blood creatures. Wandering the streets of the Big Apple lost and alone, Giselle catches the eye of a divorced divorce lawyer named Robert (Dempsey) with a cute kid young enough to still believe fairytale princesses actually exist. Why a serious lawyer old enough to know better would take in a strange woman he stumbled across wearing a wedding gown, banging on the door of a castle painted on a billboard, and who rambles on and on about a kingdom and her missing prince isn’t so easy to comprehend…

Giselle slowly begins to understand just how far she is away from home, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to spread a little cheer by way of super-sized musical numbers to the citizens of New York City who thought they'd already seen everything. As she becomes more familiar with her surroundings – and with her real-world prince – Giselle transforms from sweetly naïve girl into a young woman with real feelings.

Meanwhile, Giselle’s betrothed has also crawled out of the sewer clad in his puffy princely attire, ready to do battle with anyone and anything – including a city bus – in order to retrieve his princess and return to the land of talking animals and fairytale endings. Following close on Prince Edward’s heels is his right-hand man, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), who just happens to be in cahoots with the nasty Narissa.

Will the prince be able to save his princess? Will the evil queen’s evil plan to remain on the throne work? How much did that wedding dress weigh and how did Amy Adams manage to act trapped inside it? All but the last question are semi-satisfactorily answered in what may become the launching point for yet another Disney film franchise.

The Cast

Amy Adams is absolutely adorable as the enchanting fish-out-of-water princess. Adams completely sells the part and totally embraces the role of a perky songbird lost in the big city. Adams sings her heart out and has impeccable comic timing.

James Marsden is perfect as the self-centered but well-meaning prince who bursts into song at the drop of a hat. Marsden’s goofily charming as a prince who’s definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. Patrick Dempsey had the job of playing the straight man while everyone around him got to go big with their characters, and because he’s the character most grounded in reality, he’s a little stiff compared to Adams and Marsden.

Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon appears to be having a great time as the film’s bizarrely dressed Queen of Mean. Sarandon’s Queen Narissa also makes the trek to the real world, although once there her character isn’t given nearly as many opportunities to interact with the flesh and blood residents of New York as the rest of the cartoon crew. However, Sarandon makes the most of her limited screen time and deserves a spot amongst the best of Disney’s live-action villains.

Susan Sarandon stars in Enchanted

Susan Sarandon gets evil in Enchanted.

© Walt Disney Pictures
The Bottom Line

More could have been done to show just how out of place the fairytale characters were when surrounded by the people of New York. Only just barely does Enchanted take advantage of that awkwardness strangers feel in a foreign land. But writer Bill Kelly(Blast from the Past) and director Kevin Lima (Tarzan) did do a fantastic job of capturing the ‘animated world come to life’ angle, right down to the princess’ whistle while you work song and dance number, complete with cockroaches, pigeons, and rats doing all the dirty work.

Unfortunately, the film’s final act brings the whole production down. The battle with a giant dragon isn’t the show-stopping number it was intended to be. Actually it does stop the show, but not in a good way. The entire fight scene looks fake, and the scene itself doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the plot.

Despite its rather sluggish ending, Enchanted is, overall, an enjoyable family-friendly film. The catchy tunes by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will have you tapping your toes and the engaging performance by Amy Adams is a joy to watch. Enchanted is not one of the best of Disney’s fairytale inspired films, but it’s certainly a worthy contribution to the Disney legacy.

GRADE: B

Enchanted was directed by Kevin Lima and is rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.