Blast From The Past: Enchanted
One of the most memorable movies of 2007 for me was none other than the Disney live action film, Enchanted. I remember sitting in the theater with my brother and my parents that November excited for a Disney princess that would not be animated. It’s funny to think back on that now and to consider the talented cast that starred in this film. Amy Adams, now an Oscar winner, plays the to-be princess Giselle. James Marsden plays the daft Prince Edward. Patrick Dempsey surprisingly plays a divorce lawyer named Robert, and Susan Sarandon portrays Queen Narissa. Their performances in addition to a witty script make Enchanted the fun adventure that it is.
When it begins, we are introduced to the animated world of Andalasia through the narration of Julie Andrews. We meet the fair maiden Giselle singing with her furry friends in the forest, and her singing attracts Prince Edward. He swiftly rescues her from a threat, and much to the Queen’s displeasure, Edward and Giselle finish each other’s duet and declare that they will be married the following morning. On that morning, though, the Queen, disguised as a hag, pushes Giselle down a deep well that transports her to a place where “there are no happily ever afters.” As it turns out, that place is New York, and Giselle struggles to adjust to this place where people are not friendly, old men are not necessarily wise, and real palaces are nowhere in sight. She is helped by the cynical divorce lawyer Robert and his daughter, Morgan, and is given lodging for the night by them. As Robert tries to help Giselle get home, though, their two different perspectives come clashing. Robert thinks Giselle has a dreamy view of love that leaves you heartbroken; meanwhile, Giselle quickly becomes frustrated with Robert about his distorted and cynical view of love. The story builds as Edward comes looking for his true love, and it hits an all-time high when the Queen comes to do her own bidding after several failed attempts on Giselle’s life.
This film pays tribute to many of the most popular fairy tales Disney has given us such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty. As in all those classics, we have the somewhat naive leading lady who manages to sing her way through the story, furry animals that help our heroine, and an evil to overcome. Enchanted is no different, and while it is reminiscent of those classics, it also manages to poke fun of some of the shortcomings of their own stories. They portray Prince Edward as the pretty face with not much more going on, as is common with all of their princes. They pick at the idea of marrying someone after having known them for only a day. They have characters bursting into random song, which some characters realize is not normal. Instead of cute woodland animals to help her, Giselle instead has mice and cockroaches to help her along her journey in New York. Even the language Giselle and Edward use show how out of touch these characters can be from the real world, and it’s hilarious to see that contrast played out.
It’s a balancing act that Disney plays within the story of Enchanted, and somehow they manage to pull it off. They successfully pick at the whole idea of true love’s kiss being the most powerful thing in the world while also managing to elevate the idea of true love. They take the traditional two-dimensional princess and transform her into a whole person who experiences more than just happy emotions by the end of the story. They truly adapted the classic fairytale into the modern world. It has humor integrated into every facet of the film, and as all Disney movies do, they still have heartwarming themes. So, if you want to revisit a cute yet fun and hilarious film from 2007, Enchanted is the one to watch again.