I've said in the past that I miss Disney's traditional 2D hand drawn animation. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's making a comeback anytime soon, so Enchanted is probably the closest thing we're going to get. I'll also admit that I enjoy the mixture of animation of live-action, a surreal quality that I've yet to get over. Those qualities and the good reviews that it received, I was somewhat excited to see this film aimed at 10-year-old girls. I was also hoping that my son might enjoy it, and as always he was my excuse to watch it.
The first 15 minutes is a bit of a send-up of Disney's classic damsel in distress, waiting for her prince to rescue her storyline, Cinderella and Snow White are the most obvious inspirations, but you'll notice touches from a lot of their films. The animation is nicely done, but seems kind of soft, it doesn't have the crispness of their prior films; I'm guessing they were going for a girlie kind of look. That's the main problem I had with the film, it's way too girlie. I know that's pretty much the point, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if they'd reigned in the sappiness.
There's a lot to like about this film though. Amy Adams is incredible as Gisele, the animated princess lost in New York. She truly captures the fairy-tale princess essence, and brings it fully to life. James Marsden also has a lot of fun as Prince Edward, running around town in a ridiculous get-up, trying to slay steel-dragons aka city buses. Susan Sarandon enjoys chewing the scenery as the evil witch queen, but she's fairly obvious throughout. Patrick Dempsey doesn't do anything for me, he's totally bland here, a pretty boy with perfect hair. I liked him much more in the 80's, in films like Can't Buy Me Love.
I liked a lot of the story, it's completely predictable that Gisele will learn and grow as a person, from her blind happily ever after persona, to a more real life woman. It's also obvious as to who she's going to end up with, exactly when and how. But this is a film for little girls, so I wasn't expecting any surprises. I was hoping for a little more spark to it all, any time Dempsey shows up, he seems to suck all the energy out of the film.
Enchanted is a cute and fairly well made film. It starts off very inspired with the great spoof of Disney classics; I especially liked the Happy Working Song, where Gisele uses her magical voice to get the animals of New York, rats, pigeons and cockroaches to help her clean Dempsey's apartment. But somewhere in the 2nd act, it becomes a fairly typical romantic comedy, with a bit of fantasy twist, and the songs become a lot lamer. I did think the dragon at the end was fairly cool to watch, and there was a slight twist in who goes after it. If you have a young girl in the house, this is very likely already a favorite; for the boys, I think I enjoyed it more than my son, and we won't bother buying it for him. - Grade: C+