If you’re looking for signs that the modern-day Disney has lost neither its touch nor its savvy nature, then there’s evidence in abundance in the smart modern-day fairy tale Enchanted. Bookended by the kind of old-style animation the studio is rightly famed for, the main, live action segment of the film finds Amy Adams’ Giselle--an archetypal Disney princess in pretty much every sense--dropped slap bang into the middle of modern day New York.
What follows is ingenious fun, as Giselle walks round very much as a fish out of water, followed quickly by James Marsden’s prince who attempts to come to the rescue. Thing is, modern day New York and old style princesses don’t really mix, and Enchanted studiously mines the comedy of the scenario, thanks to a smart and witty script.
What also lifts Enchanted though are the delightful tips of the hat to classics of Disney old. And we’re not just talking the show-stopping numbers: there are references to the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to be found here, and a star-making performance from Adams powering the whole film forward.
One of the very best family movies of 2007, Enchanted does occasionally stumble through the odd twee moment (and it could really use a villain with more screen time than Susan Sarandon’s wicked stepmother gets), but that can’t hide the fact that it’s terrific fun, lavishly made and, at its best, quite brilliant. A modern day family classic, and great to see Disney once again delivering the kind of entertainment it excels at. --Simon Brew
With a fine cast and fun in-jokes, Disney's ENCHANTED is sure to cast a spell over both children and adults. It begins with a 2-D animation sequence reminiscent of the company's beloved past. Surrounded by dozens of cute animals, Giselle (voiced and later played by Amy Adams) sings about her desire to find her one true love. Meanwhile, a handsome prince (James Marsden) overhears her, and they meet and fall in love. In many Disney movies, this is where the story ends, but ENCHANTED is just starting out on its journey. The prince’s wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon) can’t stand to lose her throne, so she pushes Giselle down a well, and the beauty ends up in the real world. Gone is the animated fantasy, and a live-action Giselle lands in the middle of Times Square in New York City. Her optimism and perkiness put her at odds with the New Yorkers she encounters, but she gets help from a cynical divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) as she waits for her prince to rescue her.
Fans of Disney classics from SLEEPING BEAUTY to BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be glad to see their favourite films referenced in ENCHANTED. Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID) makes a brief appearance, and the evil queen threatens to kill Giselle with a poisoned apple a la SNOW WHITE. Though it reminds the audience of past favourites, ENCHANTED boasts its own script that is at once intelligent and heartwarming. But the true highlight of the film is the acting by the fairy tale couple. Marsden (HAIRSPRAY) couldn’t be funnier as the charming prince, while Adams (an Oscar nominee for 2005’s JUNEBUG) gives dimension to the heroine. As a result, ENCHANTED is a film that deserves to sit on a shelf with Disney’s classics.