Every time I finished reading a fairytale, I used to wonder – what would happen if a fairytale princess departed her delightful animated land and came into our world? Can a true love’s kiss actually break the spell cast by evil? Then, as if to answer my question, came Walt Disney Pictures with one of its most exquisite works. Enchanted, directed by Kevin Lima, is a partly animated fairy tale, a blissful love story which takes us back to the splendid Disney classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast etc.
Giselle is a beautiful and charming princess who lives in the cheery animated world of Andalasia and sings along with her chirpy woodland friends. The movie begins with the song “True Love’s Kiss”; she dreams of her Prince Charming coming into her life to sweep her off her feet, and she even builds a statue to represent him. Her desire to meet her true love is soon fulfilled, as she meets the handsome and courageous Prince Edward, who rescues her from a troll and proposes marriage to her. Dreams seemed to be coming true for the animated princess, when on the wedding day, Edward’s stepmother, the evil Queen Narissa, is unwilling to get them married and give up her throne. She banishes Giselle from the magical land to ‘a place where there is no happily ever after’.
Dressed in her wedding gown with puffy sleeves and a big fluffy skirt, Amy Adams now appears as Giselle, who is startled to find herself in the non-animated, cynical land of New York City. Wandering the streets of the city, the bewildered princess meets Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce lawyer, who reluctantly takes her to his apartment when pleaded by his 6-year old daughter Morgan, who believes that fairies do exist. Giselle realizes how different their world is from her magical world, but she awaits Prince Edward to appear and take her back to Andalasia. With her mesmerizing songs and loving nature, she continues spreading magic in the lives of Robert and Morgan and tries to bring him close to his would-be fiancée, Nancy. Initially indifferent and discourteous towards her, Robert soon realizes that he has been smitten with this wide-eyed, joyful princess. Meanwhile, Giselle is seen coming out of her fantasy land and turning into a woman with real feelings. James Marsden as Princess Edward finally arrives to take his beloved back to their world. She is elated to see him, but experiences ‘something’ preventing her to part from the Real World. What follows is Giselle’s voyage to discover who proves to be her true love; the animated hero or the real world prince!
Prior to its release in November, 2007, the movie was first premiered at the London Film Festival on October 20, 2007. It was well-received critically and also proved to be a commercial success, earning more than $340 million worldwide at the box office. It was nominated for 18 awards in total, out of which it won 5 – Best Live Action Family Film from the Phoenix Film Critics Society, Best Family Film at the 13th Critics’ Choice Awards and three Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Actress for Amy Adams and Best Music for Alan Menken.
There are a few scenes that can captivate you. Like pigeons, cockroaches and rats helping Giselle with the cleaning of Robert’s apartment, or her enlightening Robert on how to display affection to Nancy, on the song “That’s How You Know”, with everyone in the park performing with her.
Amy Adams is extremely adorable as the enchanting fairytale princess, and was nominated for Best Actress at the 13th Critics’ Choice Awards, Teen Choice Award and at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards. Her mesmerizing voice, doe eyes, and perky performance can actually induce one to start believing in fairytales. Her transformation into a real-life woman is reflected in her dresses, which becomes increasingly less fairy tale like as the film progresses. Her modern ball outfit at the end of the film is completely in contrast to her wedding gown at the beginning. James Marsden fantastically portrays the egoistic, daring and earnest prince, who spontaneously breaks into song. He adds life to the character of Prince Edward, especially when he searches the streets of New York for Giselle, with a sword in hand. Since he doesn’t adapt to the real world, he has been shown wearing only one costume throughout the movie. Designer Mona May’s aim was to try “not to lose him in the craziness of the outfit, where he still looks handsome”.
What I love the most about the film is its music. Alan Menken’s breathtaking music, coupled with Stephen Schwartz’s lyrics leave a deep impact on the listener’s mind. However, the three songs Giselle sings; “True Love’s Kiss”, “That’s How You Know” and “Happy Working Hours” can be linked to earlier Disney films. Though Enchanted received three nominations for the Best Original Song category at the Awards, it did not win.
Although argued by many to be inspired by other Disney movies, the concept of discovering love and real emotions is a striking aspect. Being a brilliant blend of animation and dazzling performance by the leading actors, it gives a break from the usual family, or war based violent movies. A fun filled package of heartwarming musical-comedy, this film makes a perfect film for both kids and adults.