April 14, 2008
Essentially a reworking of Disney’s animated takes on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (while also referencing many others), Enchanted was a surprise hit in 2007 thanks in large part to the irrepressible charms of its leading lady, Amy Adams. Part animated fairy tale part live-action musical-comedy, it received three Academy Award nominations – all for Best Original Song.
In the animated land of Andalasia, the Evil Queen (Sarandon) keeps her step-son Prince Edward (Marsden) single lest he get married and her place on the throne would be threatened. While out chasing a giant troll, Edward meets Giselle (Adams), a beautiful young maiden who literally falls into his arms. They fall instantly in love with each other and decide to get married the next day. However, on the day of the ceremony, the Evil Queen tricks Giselle and sends her through a magical portal. She is transported to our world where she pops up in the middle of Times Square in New York City.
Completely disoriented and literally out of her element, she wanders the streets until she falls in the arms of a lawyer named Robert (Dempsey) and his young daughter Morgan (Covey). She convinces her father to take Giselle in for the night. The mysterious woman proceeds to turn Robert and Morgan’s lives upside down. Pretty soon, Edward and the Queen’s lackey (Spall) go through the portal in pursuit of Giselle.
Amy Adams portrays Giselle with a cheerful naiveté that is endearing when it could have so easily come across as an annoying caricature with the wrong actress and the wrong approach to the role. She takes what could have been a two-dimensional role and made it into an engaging three-dimensional character. Patrick Dempsey has really matured as an actor and has come a long way from the 1980s comedies he made as a teenager. He essentially plays the film’s straight man, reacting to these colourful storybook characters. There is a nice scene between him and Adams where his character explains why he is single and his cynical view of love.
Naturally, much of the film’s humour comes from the culture clash between the characters from the animated fairy tale world and the ones in our world. The energetic musical numbers are expertly integrated into the film as they successfully express the emotions that the characters are feeling.
In this day and age where things only seem to be getting worse and the world’s problems seem so overwhelming, it is easy to see why Enchanted was so successful. When real life gets too depressing we all need some escapist entertainment. If done well, as with this film, it can transport us to a magical place for a couple of hours. And that is something we are all in desperate need of.
There’s an animated/live-action music video for “Ever Ever After” by Carrie Underwood that refreshingly bucks the trend of simply recycling clips from the film and instead has Underwood in place of Amy Adams as the animated princess who finds true love in our world.
“Pip’s Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure” features Pip the squirrel and utilizes CGI animation to tell the story of how Edward found out what happened to Giselle and followed her through the portal to our world.
“Bloopers” is a collection of blown lines and general goofing around by cast members.
Also included are six deleted scenes with introductions to each one by director Kevin Lima. There’s an alternate opening credits sequence that ran on too long. We also get a different introduction to Robert and Morgan. Also included is a scene where we see what Robert’s girlfriend does for a living with Bones’ Michaela Conlin as her assistant.
Finally, there is “Fantasy Comes to Life” which examines how three musical numbers from the film were created from the songwriting phase to storyboarding the sequences to how the actors performed in front of nothing because CGI had to be added later. However, many of the animals used in one musical number were actually real.