Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In the land of Andanasia which is located between a meadow and a pond, or something like that, Giselle, along with her animal friends are singing a song of joy while she creates a prince out of knickknacks around the house who will one day whisk her away to her to her eventual happily ever after.  Elsewhere in this mystical animated land, Prince Edward is hunting trolls under the watchful eye of his Goodman Nathaniel hoping to find a princess to complete his empty circle.  In the distance he hears the siren of Giselle and knows immediately that once he matches a body to that voice his life will be complete.  He finds his fair maiden and the cel shaded duo will soon be married.  But this is a fairytale after all and what would it be without an evil wicked witch of a queen stepmother desperate to keep her throne.  Mere hours before her wedding the evil Narissa dispatches the fair maiden Giselle to a place where there is no happily ever after, a place called New York City.

In New York City we meet Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a brutally realistic divorce lawyer and father to young Morgan (Rachel Covey) who believes so little in Happy Ever Afters he doesn’t even let his six year old read fairy tales.  One day on the way home the father and daughter happen our Giselle (Amy Adams) stumbling around the city in her wedding gown and though he knows it’s a bad idea, he takes the sweet, but obviously deranged young woman home with the intent of putting her on a bus back to wherever she’s from the next morning.  Hearing the news of his dispatched and distressed beloved from Giselle’s best friend Pip the Chipmunk, Prince Edward (James Mardsen) descends upon New York with his trusty scabbard in tow to free his future queen.  Hot on his heels with orders from queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) is Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), armed with three poison apples that he needs Giselle to take just one teeny bite of, in hopes that one day he will one day be on the queen’s side.  Robert’s

lovely fiancée Nancy (Idina Menzel) is initially concerned about her man spending all this time with the wide eyed animal talking cutie Giselle, but he assures her that he’s just helping her find her way back home.  Well, if that’s what he says then Nancy trusts her man.  Perhaps Nancy should have been more concerned.  Giselle’s upbeat sunny disposition is infectious causing people to break out in song at a moments notice, but alas with so many people working against her making it back home, it will come down to the kiss of her one true love.  But who will that true love be?

I don’t believe I’ve ever sat through a film where I’ve had this happen to me.  About halfway through ‘Enchanted’, probably after the big city dance number, I’m thinking to myself ‘what a wonderful film this is.  A critic would have to be some kind of old crusty curmudgeon to dislike this warm, vibrant and heartfelt tale’.  But by the time ‘Enchanted’ ended, I had become that critic as ‘Enchanted’ took a turn in tone that totally turned me off and left me truly  disliking what I had just seen at all.  It almost seems as is the first half of the film and second half were two completely different movies written by two different screenwriters. 

At its heart it’s a classic Disney fairytale, filled with upbeat show tunes sung for no reason at all than it’s a glorious time to sing.  Amy Adams perfectly captures the essence of what a Disney princess would be like in the real world and Patrick Dempsey is the perfect sardonic foil to her eternally sunny outlook.  James Mardsen though shines the brightest playing the plucky determined bus slaying Prince and seems to be having the most fun out all of the characters playing his part.  It’s a shame they virtually abandoned the character in the second half of the film.  The first of this half thing is just plain glorious fun.  But then….

It stopped being fun, at least for me because I suspect this movie will gather a lot of praise and rake in a few bucks despite what I say.  ‘Enchanted’ stopped being a fairytale and turned into a real movie in a sense.  Robert tells Giselle she can’t be in love after meeting someone in one day but Giselle gives him this impassioned story on why she can.  Then as it turns out in the second half, Robert was right.  Giselle goes to all of this trouble to tell Robert how to he should treat his fiancée Nancy, Nancy is happy, Giselle is happy, Nancy likes Giselle.  But later on Nancy doesn’t like Giselle.  Why?  I don’t know.  As it turns out Nancy probably should have been wary of the man stealing tramp from the get go.  And this is why I stopped enjoying a film I was really having fun at.  Giselle stopped being a fairytale princess and turned into real person.  Edward stopped being a dashing concerned prince and turned into and turned into a self centered idiot.  Robert stopped trying to make his previous relationship better, to a woman who seemed like she deserved better, and instead jumps on the first new hottie that catches his eye, with the overall feeling that she’s easily taken advantage of.  Sorry, but that’s just the way I saw it.

I understand of course that many may see it differently and that ‘Enchanted’ may ring with the feel good fantastical truth that you expect from a Disney movie and you may not feel it’s sending mixed messages at all.  But this film did not sit well me in the least, and I’m not happy writing that because for about an hour I was in that special place until they made me realize that special place really and truly does not exist.


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