"Enchanted" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
When Kevin Lima's "Enchanted" was released in 2007, it had been 70 years since Walt Disney released "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", which kickstarted the Disney princess trope. Since then, multiple Disney films have been centered around princesses, including "Sleeping Beauty", "Frozen", and "Moana", to name a few. With Lima's film, he takes all of the different aspects that make each princess film special, and jam packs them into a movie about a princess from a storybook lost in New York. He delivers an energetic and fun film that will make every viewer believe in magic in the real world.
The film opens up like any other animated Disney film would, with a beautiful woman named Giselle (Amy Adams) hoping to meet the man of her dreams. She does, and he turns out to be a handsome prince named Edward (James Marsden), and they have plans to get married the next day after meeting. Sounds like any normal Disney princess film, right?
Well, like every normal Disney princess film, there must be an evil stepmother antagonist, who is wonderfully played by Susan Sarandon in this film. She is jealous and angry that Giselle will take her place, forcing her to send Giselle to a place that has "no happily ever after". As Giselle is now gone, Queen Narissa now has no one to worry about taking her place as the queen of Andalasia.
In a way, this beginning sequence of the film serves as a direct inspiration from the countless Disney films in the sense it is full of magic and wonder. Giselle lives in this perfect fairy tale land where it seems like her Happily Ever After is guaranteed, no matter what. Therefore, it serves as a rude awakening for her when she is sent to this terrifying new place, away from the man of her dreams.
Where was she sent? New York City. The place where dreams live right?
Well for Giselle, that is not the case. She is bombarded by rude people and even a terrifying homeless man who steals her crown. When she finds a billboard that shows a castle, she climbs it and hopes that her Prince Edward will let her back into Andalasia. That is when Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey) find her on the billboard. They rescue her, and take her back to their apartment to call her a cab to take her home.
However, something seems very off about this woman dressed in the very poofy wedding dress. She seems out of touch with reality, causing Robert and Morgan to look after her for a while till they can discover what her deal is, against the wishes of Robert's soon to be fiancée, Nancy (Idina Menzel). However, when Edward and Narissa's henchman, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) arrive in New York as well, they must find a way to get Giselle back to Andalasia to marry the man of her dreams. Or, will the charm and the magic of New York City, and of her new male companion, be reason for her to stay?
Adams and Dempsey are electric in this movie, and they have such fantastic on-screen chemistry with one another. They both ooze charisma and charm, and when we get into the latter half of the film, they display their emotions of affection perfectly. They start out as two people at odds and completely different, but end the film on such an enchanting and delightful note.
I do want to point out Adams' and Marsden's fantastic performances as well, both of them playing sort of ditsy characters who don't know how to function in the real world. New York City and Andalasia are two very different places, and that transition for both of them is portrayed excellently by the two actors. Same can be said for Spall, who is a henchman that you feel bad for and root for in the end ultimately.
Sarandon, on the other hand, is terrifying and electric. She is mostly animated for a majority of the film, but when she finally arrives n New York to take care of business, she commands the attention of everyone watching. I love Sarandon's work, and I think she has given some very delightful and relatable performances. But, her take on a Disney villain is absolutely incredible and a lot of fun to watch her be evil.
The songs present in the movie are perhaps some of the best in the Disney canon, especially "That's How You Know", which is still a very famous song amongst Disney fans today. The songs show the magic and beauty behind this film, how magic can be found anywhere. That is certainly the case for Giselle's character, who believes a Happily Ever After can only be found easily and in your dreams, when she finds magic and love in the Big Apple. The pacing of this movie and the plot moves along beautifully with the designed songs for this film, and it shows Giselle's transition as a character.
This whole movie just feels like a classic Disney animated film brought to life, and I think everyone involved did a fantastic job of making the audience feel that magic and spark. The closing of the film leaves a smile on the viewer's face, and it is very hard to dislike this movie and what it has in store the audience when they watch it. I applaud both Disney and the filmmakers working on this film for giving an audience a movie that can make them believe in magic and dreams again.