Disney has given us princess stories since 1937 starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but this time the studio also makes fun of its previous fairy tales with jokes and clichés in a film that is far from being a masterpiece.
Once upon a time, a beautiful princess called Giselle found her prince and married him, but everything tumbled down – literally – on their wedding day.
Forget everything you know about princesses and destinies, Giselle (Amy Adams) will show you that real life can become a fairy tale even more than any animated picture.
The well-chosen casting is the only thing that has helped this Disney film not to be forgotten. Patrick Dempsey (Robert, a lawyer that will turn into modern-life prince Charming), Indina Menzel (Nancy, Robert’s fiancee) and Amy Adams perfectly fit their characters. When you start watching it for the first time, you may believe it will still be that same old story of a poor girl, who finds her prince, goes through hardships and eventually gets married, and you’re right. Except that you do not expect her to appear in the middle of Time Square, New York, in 2007, dressed as an animated princess .
What makes this film lovely is the way Kevin Lima tackles actual twenty-first century themes such as single fathers, divorces and new families. You soon also realize that this is a typical Disney since this princess is constantly singing, which becomes annoying after watching twenty minutes, although the title song is catchy.
The main reason why Enchanted was popular when it was released is because it mixes animation and live action, which was new for a Disney princess story. And it was a really good idea as such, because it piques people’s curiosity to see how the two genres are combined.
But it was hard not to be expecting something huge coming from the Disney Studios, especially after the great success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.
According to the U.S. box office, the Americans welcomed the film with enthusiasm, but in Europe the film did not really make it. Enchanted is probably not considered a masterpiece, nor one of Disney’s best attempts at genre combination. For once in a Princess movie, there is some kind of modern moral that is more in tune with the experience and expectations of 21st-century viewers. It is something you could not find with the first Disney princesses such as Snow White, the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. A real-life woman marries the prince and turns into a princess, while a fairy tale princess marries a real-life lawyer.
Enchanted can be enchanting for children and families, it is sweet and people can easily identify with these modern-life situations. But it is not a Disney that can be advised if people want to see something more traditional. It is a movie you may see only once.
The Disney Studio is known to have had a long-time relationship with music, but in this film the lack of variety in the melodies gives the impression that the same song is being played from beginning to end.
Ultimately, no matter how good the actors are, the story needed to be more developed. This may finally happen soon since Walt Disney Pictures seems to believe it can still interest people. Indeed, a sequel will be released in 2018 giving us more information about what happened after Giselle decided not to go back to her kingdom.
ENCHANTED, directed by Kevin Lima, written by Bill Kelly, director of photography : Don Burgess, hand-drawn animation supervisor : James Baxter, edited by Stephen A. Rotter and Gregory Perler, music by Alan Menken, with songs by Menken and Stephen Schwartz, production designer : Stuart Wurtzel, produced by Barry Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes.
Giselle — Amy Adams
Nathaniel — Thimothy Spall
Robert Phillip — Patrick Dempsey
Nancy Tremaine — Indina Menzel
Prince Edward— James Marsden
Narissa — Susan Sarandon