Disney has reached a new maturity. For more than eighty years, the studio has enchanted us with its tales of fantasy and fun. No other source can compare to Disney's quality and consistency to cast a spell and steal our hearts. The world of Disney is a beloved place where we have always found happily-ever-afters. But what if the formula were reversed? What if a beautiful princess, an evil witch and a handsome prince came to visit us? Now we know!
Needless to say, a princess does visit us, and Disney's latest feature, Enchanted, takes us along for her amazing ride. This is not another cookie-cutter princess movie. Enchanted's six reel sojourn is an endlessly clever homage to all of Disneyana. Masterful satire both honors and pokes fun at all that preceded it. You'll delight and savor every minute!
This Disney princess can not only survive a trip to Manhattan, she can thrive there! Just ask Giselle, played effortlessly by Amy Adams. She first appears as a 'toon direct from Disney central casting. Evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) sends her off into peril pushing her into a wishing well that ends in Times Square. Suddenly, Giselle is no longer a 2-D character; she's an innocent 3-D royal lady, fully-costumed, in the middle of Manhattan. Giselle's adventures in The Big Apple are a perfect stage for Amy Adams' comic brilliance. How she kept a straight face throughout these scenes I'll never know, but she should receive an Oscar for her portrayal.
As anyone who has visited a Disney theme park would know, they are experts at glorious enthusiastic parades filled with jubilant characters. This joy has been artfully captured in a masterpiece musical gem, "That's How You Know," staged in New York's Central Park. Hundreds of actors, in brilliant costume, never miss a beat of their complex choreography from location to location. Watch Princess Giselle as she leads her entourage like a Pied Piper. What a magnificent moment in movies!
I won't add spoilers here, but there is a very happy ending! Giselle's devoted (and nutty) Prince Edward (James Marsden) shows off his comedic flair. Wait until you see where he finds his magic mirror! Gray's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey shines as the straight-man romantic divorce lawyer who doubles as Giselle's knight in shining armor. Watch how he becomes enchanted himself! Susan Sarandon plays a most-wicked queen and a delicious ugly evil witch. Both of her characters should win awards for makeup and effects. You will be running from shiny red apples long after you see her dastardly offering to Princess Giselle.
Speaking of critters, another wonderful musical number, "Happy Working Song," may just change your mind about pigeons, rats and cockroaches. They can sing and dance and clean the nastiest bachelor pad you've ever seen. The cutting-edge computer graphics and special effects are first rate. Enchanted's finale, "Ever, Ever After," provides the backdrop for a perfect ending crooned by hot newcomer Carrie Underwood. The score was written primarily by legendary songsmiths Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. I guarantee you'll be humming long after the final credits end.
Enchanted is an absolute must-see for anyone who loves a Disney flick. Watch it four or five times (and make sure you bring your kids!) Each viewing will reveal more and more nuance and tribute for your delight and discovery! (See if you can pick out the performances of Disney regulars Julie Andrews, Jodi Benson and Paige O'Hara!) It would make a perfect romantic first-date movie, too! My advice: Go now while you can still see it on the big screen. You are certain to fall under its spell!