Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Apt Title - Enchanted - Movie Review - More Proof Amy Adams Deserves To Be A Star

Written by Bill Kelly
Directed by Kevin Lima

At this point, there are enough reviews that will say that Enchanted is enchanting. On the other hand, how can one argue with such an apt title? How else do you describe something as enchanting as Enchanted? And how do you not use that word when it comes to describe the sensation of (re)discovering Amy Adams (all over again)?

It's a Disney fairytale. It's a fish out-of-water story. It's a musical. It's a spoof. It's not a spoof. It's a cartoon. It's animated. It's liveaction.

It's also the vehicle that should (and better) propel Amy Adams into a star. Sure, she has a little thing called an Oscar nomination already (What? Yeah. She does, in the amazing little movie called Junebugwhich you all must see if you haven't already, and see again if you have), she's been dumped by Jim for Pam on the Booze Cruise at The Office (Yeah, that was her!), and she was the creepy fat girl obsessed with her weight on Smallville.

Here, Amy Adams plays the naive and optimistic Giselle, a cartoon character (literally) in search for her prince to come, but when she finds him, a gloriously handsome if simple Prince Edward (James Marsden totally rocking the roll but I'll get to more on that later), the evil Queen Narcissa, afraid of losing her reign, banishes Giselle to the netherworld where no hope survives: New York City.

From there, Giselle meets a cynical Robert (Patrick Dempsey and his hair) and his daughter Morgan who help her as she waits for her prince to save her. In the meantime, she tries to help Robert win back Nancy (Idina Menzel, being unWicked as the other girl) by bursting into song in Central Park. There's so much more but I don't want to spoil anything. I mean, it's not like you can't figure it out anyways since the story is built upon the traditions of the fairytale movies of Disney's classic vault (with TONS of references, some blatant, some slyly not), but Enchanted brings it all into the modern ages, sprucing up the girl-power touch and updating the modern cynical views onto the romantic nature of the Disney fairytales.

Anyways, why over analyze something that was meant to be delightfully enjoyed? Once Amy Adams wins your heart over (after breaking it in Junebug), Enchated let's us also delight in James Marsden as Prince Edward. I must say, the pretty boy Cyclops has completely won me over this year with his double musical punch of Hairspray and now Enchanted, wowing us with his great singing voice and having some comedic chops I didn't expect from him.

The evil Queen Narcissa, designed to be drag queened away in Halloween's to come, is played by Susan Sarrandon, and while I felt she could have even gone even farther with it (she was better as the cartoon), it still made for a proper nemesis.

The great Brit Timothy Spall (Harry Potter, Topsy-Turvy) is Nathaniel, Queen Narcissa's bumbling servant, desperate to win her love.

Then there is Patrick Dempsey, who underplays the modern day regular charming man (no prince here) and while I think his hair did more emoting than he did, it was still fine, even if he does get lost a little under the overwhelming fantasticness of the rest of the cast.

There are large musical numbers by the returning (thank god) Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast) and Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked, Pocahontas), many paying homage to previous Disney classics, only now with a humourous twist, and for Broadway fans, Idina Menzel as a rival for Robert's heart that plays out nicely in a non-catty way. There's a great animal sidekick Pip and the ridiculousness of it all is that it actually makes New York seems like the fantasy fairytale world we've all been dreaming about.

There are missteps along the way and I felt some of the story could have been tighter and a few songs were instantly hummable but not all, and there could have been an even higher laughter count, but the laughs were still split between the adults and the children with hilarity's spread about for all so who am I to really complain?

Enchanted becomes such a delightful instant classic that harks back to what made Disney famous that while the movie was not quite perfect, it definitely warrants repeat viewings. With a simple but ingenious premise mixed with the radiance of Amy Adams, the hammy delight of James Marsden and a giant musical number with a gigantic cast singing and dancing around Central Park (why can't they do these big musical numbers like this anymore?), Enchanted really becomes... and I'm going to say it just once more... enchanting!

Anyways, here's a much better, more succinct list of reasons of why Enchanted rocked!

Enchanted = B+ or 8.5/10

More photos below:


mB said...

Amy IS delightful. She's come a long way from that Tara-centric Buffy episode where she played Amber Benson's cousin... of course if anyone is good they had to have been discovered by the brilliant minds over at the Whedonverse first :P

Vance said...

Oh man, I need to watch that Buffy again. I don't remember that anymore. Speaking of which, what happened to Amber Benson? She rocked too!

Anonymous said...

One of the editors at National Geo (where I work) took the natural history approach to this movie and posted a silly yet challenging How Much Do You Know About Chipmunks quiz: