Dis­ney res­ur­rects its old magic

The Covington News - - NEWTON @ PLAY -

The old Dis­ney magic is back with “En­chanted,” a truly de­light­ful spin on the tra­di­tional Dis­ney princess-in-dis­tress tale.

Spoof­ing such sac­cha­rine princesses as Snow White, Cin­derella and Sleepy Beauty comes the latest Dis­ney made­moi­selle to don a big poofy dress. Giselle, born with all of the in­nate tal­ents which any Dis­ney princess must pos­sess — the abil­ity to at­tract cute furry wood­land an­i­mals with her dul­cet voice, an alarm­ingly trust­ing na­ture and the ten­dency to fall prey to the machi­na­tions of evil old crones — has met her one true love, the dash­ingly hand­some and dis­mally dull Prince Ed­ward.

“En­chanted” be­gins in the far away mag­i­cal car­toon king­dom of An­dala­sia where Giselle (played by the very com­i­cal Amy Adams) is get­ting ready to wed her beloved Ed­ward, heir to the throne of An­dala­sia (James Mars­den, “Hair­spray) af­ter meet­ing and fall­ing deeply in love with him the day be­fore. How­ever, the evil step­mother, Queen Narissa (played by the de­light­fully wicked Susan Saran­don) doesn’t want to share her crown with the up­start in­ter­loper Giselle (sur­prise, sur­prise).

So like any well-re­spected Dis­ney vil­lain, she pushes Giselle into an in­ter-di­men­sional worm­hole which spits the help­less maiden out into live-ac­tion mod­ern-day Man­hat­tan. Much to the poor Giselle’s sur­prise and dis­may, the denizens of New York City are not re­cep­tive or car­ing of her plight. All hope seems lost for our Dis­ney damsel un­til she is res­cued/grudg­ingly as­sisted by di­vorce lawyer Robert Philip (Pa­trick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”) and his six-year-old daugh­ter Morgan (new­comer Rachel Covey.)

Hi­lar­ity fol­lows as Giselle tries to ad­just to life in the real world. Com­i­cal high points in­clude a scene where Giselle tries to re­pay Robert’s kind­ness by re­cruit­ing all of Man­hat­tan’s an­i­mals (cock­roaches, rats and pi­geons) to clean his apart­ment much to his dis­may and a mu­si­cal num­ber in Cen­tral Park where street per­form­ers and park em­ploy­ees alike break out into a spon­ta­neous song and dance rou­tine.

While ba­si­cally for­mu­laic, “En­chanted” turns the old Dis­ney script on its head by mak­ing fun of tra­di­tional Dis­ney fan­tasy stereo­types — the Prince Charm­ing char­ac­ter is a buf­foon, Giselle’s help­less­ness is kind of an­noy­ing and the most heroic char­ac­ter in the film is a talk­ing chip­munk called Pip.

“En­chanted” also caters to 21st cen­tury sen­si­bil­i­ties which weren’t present in ear­lier Dis­ney princess tales of the mid-20th cen­tury. The evil step­mother car­toon has pro­nounced cleav­age, there is the veiled men­tion of pre­mar­i­tal sex and Morgan takes karate lessons.

Most re­ward­ing to see is Giselle’s evo­lu­tion from a twodi­men­sional car­toon whose only thoughts are of find­ing her one true love and fig­ur­ing out what dress to where that day to a three-di­men­sional char­ac­ter who be­gins to ques­tion her whirl­wind ro­mance with Ed­ward. By the end of the film Giselle has ceased to be a damsel in dis­tress and has taken con­trol of her fate while at the same time im­part­ing some very im­por­tant life lessons to Robert on the power of love.

Grade: A-

Walt Dis­ney Pic­tures

Fairy tale princess Giselle (Amy Adams) finds her true love in New Yorker Robert Phillip (Pa­trick Dempsey)

Rachel Oswald

Film critic

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