Directed by: Kevin Lima
Premise: Princess Gisele (Amy Adams) is banished from an animated fantasy world into the real world of New York by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon). As she waits for Prince Edward (James Marsden) to rescue her, Gisele befriends a divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter (Rachel Covey).
What Works: Enchanted is a successful send up of Disney animated classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, but it is welcomely sarcasm and pop culture free, avoiding the traps that made the later Shrek films so tiresome. Instead, Enchanted plays with the form, and ingeniously melds animated and live action worlds while referencing these other films in ways that advance story and character rather than just adding momentary self-conscious irony. The film runs the risk of getting obnoxious in its first half but the humor saves it. Halfway through, Enchanted makes a transition, deepening its characters and themes, and the film actually has something to say about contemporary romance, using fairy tale sensibilities to show how society treats love as a disposable commodity. Amy Adams is wonderful in the film, giving an award worthy performance. She is able to sell the illusion of her character coming from a fairy tale but also sell the real life drama and heartache of finding love. It’s a tremendous performance that really makes this film work.
What Doesn’t: The most glaring hole in the film is in the relationship between Prince Edward and his mother, Queen Narissa. The film drops the ball a bit when the prince is confronted with the terrible truth and it does not give Edward anything to do about it. On the whole, Prince Edward is simply underused and it would have been nice if the film had been able to give him some lessons in love like those that Gisele learns.
Bottom Line: Although it is not as subversive as the original Shrek, Enchanted stands out in the recent crop of fantasy films. It is smart, funny, exciting and makes for a great family film and a date movie.
Episode: #169 (December 9, 2007)