Sunday, December 30, 2007

Movie Review: Enchanted

Enchanted is a wonderful Disney movie that manages to both capture the spirit of family entertainment while simultaneously mocking it at the same time.

The movie begins with a fifteen minute animated sequence about a girl (Amy Adams) in the forest with her woodland animal friends pining for her true love's kiss just as if the last fifty years of feminism and modern sensibilities never occurred.

The handsome prince (James Marsden), out for his daily jaunt at beating up ogres, swoops in to rescue the girl.

"Who are you?" he asks.

"I'm Gizelle!"

"Gizelle! We will be married in the morning!"

And so they ride off into the sunset.

Hopefully no one will have bolted out of the theater by this point, because this is where it gets truly wonderful. The prince's stepmother, fearing the loss of her kingdom should her step-son marry, pushes Gizelle into a magical well where she wakes up as a live action person in New York City.

About what you would expect occurs, but it's done so well. It's not overdone slapstick, it's not racy, it's not all the bad things it could have been. Instead it's sweet, lightly comedic, and captivating. There are even a few song and dance numbers that are actually good, not forgettable like so many other recent musicals have been.

And even though things work out in the usual Disney manner, enough modern sensibility is thrown in to make it not too cloying.

The movie enters some weak territory when it tries to resolve just what magic works in the real world and what doesn't. But you can ignore that. And it carries a poor message about the magic of credit cards, which is harder to ignore, but doesn't take up much screen time.

My daughter Tal (14) saw it with me and hid her face in her hands when the movie started out, thinking that it might be all animated and old-fashioned, but in the end she was singing the songs out of the theater.

This is not a deep, thoughtful life-changing movie, but it's great entertainment and a welcome member of the Disney collection.

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