Last night, Georgie and I went to the Mayfair Cinema to see "Enchanted". Our strategy was to go to a late show on a weeknight to avoid the probable hordes of kiddies that would be showing up anytime on a weekend, and it worked well: we enjoyed the film in a near-empty theatre occupied by two other adult couples.
"Enchanted" is a sweet, funny, sentimental movie suitable for all ages. it isn't hilariously funny, and doesn't satirize the fairy tale conventions to the extent that the "Shrek" films do, but it kept us amused all along.
When I was running Dungeons and Dragons on a more regular basis, I created a character for the players to encounter that I called the "True Princess," based largely on the Disney "Snow White" and "Cinderella" movies. Not only could she feel a pea under a matress, her sheer purity gave her almost saintly powers, in that wild animals would befriend her and bring her food, vicious beasts would not attack, and even low-level villians couldn't bring themselves to do her harm (although they would abandon her in the forest on their master's instructions). A dragon or a giant won't eat her but would take her home and add her to their treasure hoard. Attemting actual harm toher person requires will power only found in master evil doers. Just about everyone else likes her on sight.
"Giselle", played by Amy Adams, is such a being. We find her living in the woods attended by a coterie of friendly talking animals and dreaming of the prince she hopes will find her. The kingdom is ruled by the witch-queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), who is, in somewhat of a twist, the step-mother of handsome "Prince Edward," (James Marsden). Edward is content to let Narissa rule while whiles away the time catching trolls and desultorily looking for a maiden to marry. Narissa knows that when a new queen is found her ruling days will be over and she is determined to prevent that happening.
Giselle is a total naif, having always successfully relied on the kindness of strangers, but not actually dumb. Edward, on the other hand, is actually a bit thick, the kind of role often played by Brendan Fraser or patrick Warburton though not as broad as Dudley Do-Right or The Tick. Nevertheless, they come together under the natural laws of "Andalasia" (the name of this particular province of Far Far Away), by singing to one another. Queen Narissa is a more decollette version of the Wicked Queen from "Snow White," with the same trick bag of scrying, old hag disguise, and poison apples, plus a dragon transformation borrowed from Malificent in "Sleeping Beauty." Narissa nobbles the wedding by putting on her hag shape and shoving Giselle down a "wishing well" which is actually a portal to the World We Know--specifically, Manhattan.
Giselle is of course clueless about our world (not to mention hampered by her cartoon wedding dress), and baffled by the indifference of the people she meets. This is the weakest sequence for Giselle. One can understand her disorienttion, but then she cannot tell the difference between a castle drawn on a billboard and a real building. (OK, it looks like the cartoon castles they have where she comes from--). I was tempted to assess that Giselle didn't stack up very well, gumptionwise, to some of the other Disney Princesses, but then remembered the sequence when the terrified Snow White is lost in the woods at night, and thought perhaps Giselle didn't do too badly. She keeps her wits about her and doesn't either break down or run distracted, although her only plan is find a safe place and wait for Edward to come for her.
Of course, he does, but not before she is reluctantly rescued by attorney Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) and his fairy-tale loving six-year old Morgan (Rachel Covey). Robert is about as cynical as one might expect a New York lawyer to be, but is at heart a nice guy and soon finds himself becoming charmed by her, as are more and more of the New Yorkers. A walk in Central Park turns into a glorious Bollywood-style song and dance number, for example.
Complications ensue when Edward and "Pip the Chipmunk" are joined in Manhattan by the queen's besotted henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall), and eventually Narissa herself, all of whom have impact on Robert's ordered life and pending engagement to sensible girlfriend Nancy (Idina Menzel).
The plot works out in a very satisfying fashion, mostly as you might expect, but with a few twists I won't disclose.
OK, one question: When the "Old Hag" disquise appears in New York, that is NOT Susan Sarandon under that cowl. The cameo's uncredited as far as I can find, but could it be--Quentin Tarantino? You be the judge.