Rating 2

Directed by Kevin Lima

Written by Bill Kelly

Starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Susan Sarandon, Idina Menzel and Rachel Covey

This Disney amalgamation of ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ starts out as a 2-D animated feature, recreating the visual style of “classic” Disney, and through the machinations of the Wicked Queen (played by Susan Sarandon) becomes a live action film set in modern day New York City, when Giselle, the fairytale princess (played by Amy Adams) finds herself cast out of the fairytale kingdom of Andalasia. It was written by Bill Kelly, who was previously responsible for the disappointing Sandra Bullock film ‘Premonition’, with songs by Disney stalwart Alan Menken.

The film received generally rapturous reviews, particularly in America. Reaction to it has been more mixed in Britain. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, for example, wasn’t impressed, calling it, “this over-hyped family movie covered in a cellophane shrink-wrap of corporate Disney plastic-ness.” That is not an entirely unfair assessment. The film incorporates everything that is bad about Disney, or is good, depending on your point of view.

The real plus-point is the performance of Amy Adams in the central role, especially in the enjoyably silly first half before the predictable and somewhat dubious moral message about the “true” meaning of “one true love” starts to kick in. Adams had already received an Oscar nomination in 2006 for ‘Junebug’. She now has a Golden Globe nomination for ‘Enchanted’ and is widely tipped to receive a second Oscar nomination, which would not be undeserved. It isn’t a subtle performance, but this is a role that requires anything but subtlety. She is wide-eyed and guileless and just the right side of crazy.

I wasn’t at all impressed by Susan Sarandon’s decidely unscary one-note performance as the Wicked Queen, although she has had some very good notices. Timothy Spall, playing her sidekick, is also strangely ineffective, which is a pity given his tremendous turn as a sinister, camp and ultimately rather sad and wistful Fagin in the recent BBC adaptation of ‘Oliver Twist’.

I don’t think ‘Enchanted’ is as good as some of the reviews have suggested, and oddly there are not enough songs, but it certainly has its moments and it’s definitely worth watching for Adams. With a reported $75 million production budget, I suspect Disney will have been disappointed with the American box office figures, but the film has so far grossed a little over $225 million worldwide, which is a reasonably healthy return.



whitelabcoat said...

Took the afternoon off today and ended up watching this. Despite the hype that Disney had 'finally gotten around' to subverting its own mythology, I was really disappointed in what basically amounts to more of the same crap directed at young girls (the bit with the book in which the pioneering work of one particular woman was reduced to a dismissive 'she died?' made me want to throw up; get the message kids? girls who do science get sick and DIE!!!); and it was not surprising that the first unambiguously female name in the credits at the end belonged to the costume designer. Jesus.

Having said that, what made it watchable was Adams. She really is fabulous - Giselle could easily have been annoying, but isn't. Did she get an Oscar nomination for this? I liked Sarandon - I'd have liked to have seen more of her; and Spall was nice to see. James Marsden was enjoyable; Dempsey was fine (and, thankfully, not smug as I'd feared) and Idina Menzel underused in an, albeit thankless, role as 'the-girlfriend-who-has-a-career-and-therefore-isn't -as-good-as-the-other-woman' (although, in the end she does the 'right' thing and ... uh ... leaves NYC for cartoon land, chucking it all in for what-the-f*ck-ever - the phone bit at the altar was another 'almost lost my lunch' moment).

Overall, I was left with the feeling of how much more subversive it might have been if Adams, Sarandon and Menzel had told Disney to go f*ck themselves. I would have paid to see that.

alienlanes said...

You don’t like it, then?!

I have largely given up getting angry about Disney films because it’s both too easy and also too much like hard work. It’s apathy on my part and I probably should try harder.

Under normal circumstances I don’t watch Disney films. In this case, with my partner, I took a seven-year-old to the cinema to see it. That's my excuse. They both thought it was rubbish.