Meanwhile, in an animated land an evil Queen (Susan Sarandon) has a stepson, Prince Edward (James Marsden), who is of marriageable age, but who she keeps away from all women with the help of her servant Nathaniel (Timothy Spall). One day Edward hears Giselle (Amy Adams) singing and is smitten with her. He declares that they will be married the next day. Giselle is thrilled since this has been her lifelong dream. She has even built and dressed a fake prince that is the image of her perfect man. (Pay attention to the appearance of this perfect man since it will re-occur in real life later in the film.) The evil Queen intervenes and ends up sending Giselle to “a place where there are no happy endings” aka
. New York City
Giselle does what all princesses would do in a dire situation – look for a castle to live in. Robert encounters her. He thinks she is a crazy person, but having too much heart to leave her on the street he brings her back with him so she can sleep on his couch for the one night. A nice little touch I liked that both shows this isn’t just a syrupy Disney film, and that shows Robert is a good father, is that even though he has done this, he makes sure to bring his daughter into his bedroom to spend the night with him just in case Giselle does turn out to be dangerous.
The next morning Giselle sets out, in best Snow White mode, to clean Robert’s apartment. This includes calling out to all the woodland creatures, excuse me, I mean city vermin (pigeons, rats, etc.) to help her. She sings a song about how wonderful it is to clean, all while these creatures are scrubbing toilets, washing dishes, etc. It might be my favorite scene in the film. Of course, Robert’s girlfriend Nancy (Idina Menzel) stops by and gets the wrong idea about Giselle being in the apartment. By the way, why hire Menzel, famous for her singing on Broadway, to play the only non-singing role in the film?
As the movie goes on, Prince Edward, Nathaniel, and even the evil Queen all end up in
. There is even more humor mined from the somewhat dimwitted Edward trying to understand what this strange new world is – “Do not fear! I have slain the steel beast!” he exclaims after stabbing a city bus. By the way, Marsden was best known for his superhero roles in the X-Men movies prior to 2007. That year he not only sang in this film, but also in Hairspray. This was a surprise to many people, as was New York City Adams’ singing abilities. I had been noticing her ever since her first film Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) and never knew she could sing.
Robert and Giselle naturally start to get closer. As they do it’s interesting to note that Giselle is making the opposite transition from most Disney princesses. Instead of starting out common and getting a makeover to a princess, she starts out a princess and gets a makeover to a modern woman. I rarely notice clothing, but watch the progression of her dresses as the movie goes along.
There are a ton of Disney references in this film. I’m sure someone could spend hours just picking them out. My favorites might have been having appearances from Paige O’Hara (voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast), Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid), and Judy Kuhn (singing voice of Pocahontas). And if the narrator’s voice sounds familiar that’s because it is Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins).
I want to take a moment to talk about Patrick Dempsey. He was born and brought up in
, dropped out of high school (he was diagnosed as being dyslexic), and first learned to be a juggler. That’s really Dempsey juggling the dinner plates in the film Made of Honor (2008), for instance. He eventually found his way into theater work and then films. He started out in movies playing the nerdy guy (i.e. Meatballs III, Can’t Buy Me Love, etc.) and then ending up reversing the Maine Hollywood stereotype of the young, up and coming actress marrying a man old enough to be her father. He married the mother of his best friend, a woman 26 years older than him, who he had met while making the movie In the Mood (1987) – which was about a teenager who romances older women. Life imitates art.
Whether this marriage made him content enough to not challenge himself, or whether he grew too old for the nerdy kid roles, his movie career in the 1990s wasn’t stellar. He got re-married in 1999 and started a family. Perhaps this inspired him to start fresh because he initiated a transition to romantic male roles in such films as
(2002) and then hit it big in the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. By the time he played Robert in this film I still hadn’t quite adjusted to seeing this nerdy guy from the 80s movies as a heartthrob, but millions of women didn’t have the same issue. Sweet Home Alabama
Dempsey has not forgotten his roots. His mother has suffered with multiple bouts of cancer, so he founded the
Patrick Dempsey Center for cancer treatment in at the hospital where his mother went for hers. In addition, every year he hosts the Dempsey Challenge, which is a combination cycling, running, and walking event that has raised millions of dollars for the center. I don’t know how much coverage his charitable work towards cancer treatment gets outside of his and my home state of Lewiston, Maine , but my guess is it’s probably not mentioned by the entertainment media as much as his hair is. Maine
Enchanted is a good movie for everyone who grew up on Disney films, or who has a child who grew up on them. It pokes some gentle fun at those movies, while at the same time being a tribute to them. With most of the movie being live action, people may subconsciously expect a deeper plot than the traditional animated film. If so, Enchanted may let them down some. This movie is more about the characters. If it sounds interesting then I recommend you give this film a try.
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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DVD Blu-ray Instant Video