Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DVD Review: Enchanted

When the first trailers of “Enchanted” were released months ago, I was a little apprehensive to seeing this film. Disney has had a rough couple of years, and many of their more recent films do not live up to their classics. Since I grew up loving all things Disney, I gave in and saw the movie (five times) in the theatre.

I guess the best way to do a movie these days is to live in the glory of others, while making fun of them and putting their own twist on things. This is exactly what “Enchanted” does. The writer of “Enchanted” (Bill Kelly) decided to poke fun at classics such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lady and the Tramp,” and “The Sound of Music.” Instead of creating a farce, Kelly created a true modern day Disney classic. Forget Ariel, Belle, and Snow White; I want to be Giselle. Not only is she beautiful, hilarious, and a fantastic singer, but she spends her days with one Patrick Dempsey. What “Enchanted” does do is put a fresh story into motion, with Amy Adams holding the reigns.

“Enchanted” is a surprisingly and unexpectedly great movie, but not only for the superb acting of Amy Adams. Before “Enchanted,” Adams was a little known Academy Award nominated actress (and Jim’s girlfriend in a few episodes of “The Office”); now she is a bona fide star. Adams plays Giselle, a not-yet princess from animated Andalasia, who falls into live-action Times Square. The sight of Adams singing and dancing through Central Park, cleaning with rats and pigeons, and becoming less animated is one of the best comedic performances I’ve seen all year. Adams manages to not be too over the top; instead her porcelain skin shines with awe and wonder and her beautiful blue eyes take in the strange world with understanding and acceptance. She is such a joy to watch on the screen.

You see, Giselle is looking for her prince and begins singing “True Love’s Kiss.” She meets her prince, handsome and aloof Edward (played brilliantly by James Marsden), and after the three minute song are engaged to be married. Wow. Problem: the Queen of Andalasia, Narissa (Susan Sarandon), turns herself into an evil hag and pushes Giselle down a well; the bottom of the well turns out to be live-action New York City. Narissa is Edward’s step-mother, and if he gets married then she loses her throne.

Soon Giselle is thrust into the busy New York City night life, and while looking for Edward on top of a billboard advertisement, literally falls into the arms of divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey) who agrees to put her up for the night while she waits for her prince to come.

Edward, along with the help of his traitorous servant Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) and Pip, a chipmunk, scower the streets of New York in search of his beloved Giselle. Nathaniel has been given three poisonous apples by Queen Narissa to help get rid of Giselle. Edward is such a cute little ditz running around in his giant sleeves and tights, oblivious to Nathaniel’s plan, while little Pip tries to inform Edward of the situation. No luck.

Meanwhile, Giselle is getting to know Robert and his six-year old daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). She cleans up their house with city animals (cockroaches, pigeons, rats, flies, mice) to the fabulous tune “Happy Working Song.” She runs through Central Park in an even more fabulous, and very impressive choreographed number “That’s How You Know.” She makes dresses out of Robert’s curtains. She eats hot dogs and wonders how the shower delivers water to her. She learns the rules of dating and tells fairy tales that we are not familiar with.

While spending time with Robert, she realizes she might be developing feelings for him, but he is about to propose to long time girlfriend Nancy (the multi-talented Idina Menzel). Both Giselle and Robert try to ignore their ever growing feelings for each other.
It soon comes time for her to decide between one over-moussed, handsome lawyer, or her handsome, oblivious prince. Such hard choices! The decision is made during a beautiful dance to the song “So Close” (sung by Jon McLaughlin). That particular scene had this twenty-two year squeeing like a tween. Such a beautiful scene. Then is it interrupted by a Narissa dragon, who takes Robert hostage. Technicalities.

The movie takes a slight downward spiral toward the last thirty minutes, but the first hour or so makes up for it. The movie ends with the omniscient voice of Julie Andrews and a happily ever after.

The DVD includes deleted scenes, bloopers (with Adams being hysterical while flubbing her lines and speaking an alien-like language…just watch it), making-of featurettes, a music video by Carrie Underwood, and an adorable Pip pop-up adventure. Apparently the Blu-ray disc contains more “secrets” to filming, but I don’t own a Blu-ray machine. Oh well.

The songs (sung by the actors) are amazing and garnered three Academy Award nominations. My only problem with the acting is the underused Susan Sarandon (who plays evil so well) and that the Tony award winning Broadway actress Idina Menzel’s beautiful voice was not somehow used. Other than that, the acting was top notch and the storyline was not believable at all. All the great makings of a classic Disney film. I give this movie four chap scratches.

The movie is rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo. Things like a pigeon eating a cockroach and a forty foot dragon might scare the little ones, but it is fun for the whole family!

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