Thursday, 10 April 2008

On DVD: Enchanted - Review by Joseph Wren

Director: Kevin Lima
Screenwriter: Bill Kelly
Running Time: 103 mins
Certificate: PG
DVD Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Without Pixar or Jerry Bruckheimer to keep the lights on at The Magic Kingdom, the conflicted and controversy-ridden Walt Disney Studios have suffered nearly a generation of stinkers and desperate straight-to-video sequels. It was a long and difficult road, and thirteen years after The Lion King, Disney finally gets its next great family classic in the sublime Enchanted.

After ten minutes of animated Prince-saves-Princess parody, an evil Stepmother (Susan Sarandon) banishes sweet Giselle (Amy Adams) to a place “where there are no happy endings” – New York City. Disoriented in the flesh, Giselle gets an unsympathetic reception from the locals, and seeks refuge in a billboard of a castle before being discovered by a little girl and her father Robert (Patrick Dempsey). A divorcee divorce lawyer, Robert and Giselle are at ideological odds over the issue of love. While Giselle awaits the mythical “true love’s kiss” from the well-intentioned swashbuckling Prince Edward (James Marsden), Robert tries to teach her a lesson about the complications of relationships in the real world.

Enchanted gets it’s magic from its heart, imagination, and humour. Aside from the terrific chemistry between the Giselle and Robert, there are two spellbinding and hilarious musical numbers. Shot entirely on location in New York City, Central Park sparkles as the setting of “That’s How You Know”, and the inclusion of the city’s notorious roach and rodent population for “Happy Working Song” entices cheeky laughs from urban grown-up viewers. Enchanted is also a loving parody, and is not bashful when it comes to taking the mickey out of the more prestigious residents of the House of Mouse. If there is any single film to which Enchanted pays homage, it would be the very first animated feature, Snow White. To put the most pure and innocent of Disney Princesses into New York City via a magical sewer is an inspired risk that pays great dividends to its viewers.

Acting is rarely if ever a strength in family films. Not since the heyday of Julie Andrews has such elegance and charm graced the screen of a Disney production. Amy Adams, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, is completely immersed in her character, so much so that when it starts to rain, one may be easily convinced that she has never felt cold rain before in her life. Her sweet naïveté is utterly convincing, and her Eve-like innocence is fascinating, not unlike her acting feat which garnered her an Oscar nomination in Junebug. This performance by Amy Adams is exceptional; a star-making turn to be enjoyed for years to come by transfixed children and adults alike.

DVD Special Features:

A short but sweet bloopers reel
Three informative making-of featurettes about the biggest scenes in the film
“Ever Ever After” music video by Carrie Underwood
Six deleted scenes of little interest
“Pip’s Predicament” five-minute short featuring the chipmunk Pip, for the wee ones

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