Disney’s Enchanted: A DVD Review
I enjoy a good Disney film. Yeah? What of it: you got a problem? Wanna take this outside? Ahem. Anyway being assured of my masculinity, I enjoy their animated features. I also have enjoyed all of their collaborations with Pixar (yes even Cars). Normally, I would leap at the chance to watch a good Disney, but last year they made a BIG mistake. They brought out Enchanted with a prissy wedding dress wearing princess on the poster. There was absolutely no way that I was going to pay to see this film. And so I left it. Or so I thought. During the last year, I have read many good reviews of this film and thought that not all of them could be wrong. Well, I succumbed today and purchased the DVD on the good word of a fellow reviewer. Rest assured, I will hurt him if the film turns out to be crap.
The tone of the film is set very early on with a camera shot that zooms straight into the window of the Disney logo on to the (now necessary) fairytale book of the film with Mary Poppins narrating. It continues on to have many characters in it that mimic many previous Disney films including Bambi, The Sorcerers’ Apprentice and Snow White. In fact I was getting quite annoyed at this point with all the blatant rips of old classics. Being a slow man, it dawned on me finally that these parodies were in fact deliberate, and an attempt to introduce us to a world which we are all familiar with. However, I was not exactly impressed at this point, as it felt like using carbon copies of characters that we have seen before is insulting to all of us (yes, even children).
We are introduced to the main character as a woman obsessed with marriage. A woman so obsessed with getting her prince charming, that her life is meaningless without him. To find her man, she has a good singing session out of the window and along comes prince charming. Is this real? I listen out every day of my life for a woman to be singing her proclamation of love to any passing wanderer, so I can fight any troll (any man smaller than me) that gets in the way for her affection. It just never seems to happen. Give it a try, ladies! Pick a song, squeal it from the window and see if a good looking man comes running! I doubt it somehow, but it may be worth a try. Indeed, if I heard it I’d probably come and find you to tell you to shut the hell up! For me, this type of story does not hold well in this modern age. Nevertheless, I persisted and only when the poor little lady got thrown into the real world did I perk up and enjoy this twist on many other fairytales.
Unfortunately what works in an animated tale looks just wrong in real-world New York City. We have a lot of unnecessary singing and dancing by some very strange individuals (nutters) in Central Park, a woman dressed in curtains who seems to be suffering from some identity disorder and a scene that can only be described as necrophilia at the end. This is not good.
Amy Adams (the wannabe princess) is suitable as the main character, but her awfully overacted voice, that sounds normal in animation, just sounds grating in the real world. Thankfully this squealing soon subsides to normality to give our ears a rest. Disney films tend to be timeless and although this is a incredibly difficult task in a live action film, it is still possible. In truth it seemed that timelessness was not on the agenda by naming the main character Giselle. A very modern name do you not think? Only time will tell when in 30 years we all look back and despair at the name choices of this movie.
Other notable characters consist of Patrick Dempsey as the New York divorce lawyer who inadvertently falls for Giselle’s charm. He plays Robert Philip who wants to be engaged to another woman. Disney seems to be getting controversial on us all of a sudden.
The saving grace of the film though is James Marsden as Prince Edward playing a personified version of Prince Charming (from Shrek). A hapless and stupid gentleman who bursts into New York and immediately sets about calling everyone “peasants”. He is the only comic relief in the film and after 35 minutes of nail-bitingly bad dialogue it is very welcome.
Timothy Spall acts as a character he was born to play (a kid of “Igor” style devious assistant). This he does well and doesn’t ham it up like everyone else on screen.
I’m going to ignore Susan Sarandon’s performance as the evil Queen Narrisa as she was only good in the animated sections. When she leapt into the real world, I was embarrassed for her.
The story is a brave one to say the least. Placing a love interest in the film from the beginning and then offering an alternative halfway through is something that is quite unusual for DIsney. I appreciate this deviation from the norm and somehow it all feels very natural watch.
Enchanted is meant for children. Not for grown male adults (like me). Disney has achieved their ambition of making a film that shows fairytale endings can happen in the real world. Unfortunately, only children (and specifically girls) will enjoy this film. It won’t be long until these children grow up, and not appreciate this very much. Disney manages to usually make a film that takes you back to childhood innocence. This however almost makes fun of that very innocence. However, it is a fun ride nevertheless; provided you can get over all the damn singing!
I am secretly glad to have been encouraged to buy this DVD. I am glad to have not seen it in the cinema. I am not THAT confident of my masculinity! Nevertheless as a deep dark secret of a film, to be brought out when no-one else is around, it is a good film to own. I guess it’ll have to go in my Beauty and the Beast drawer! 3.4 out of 10 (Worth a buy – but hide it from your friends)