Friday, 18 April 2008

ENCHANTING!

Once Upon a Time...

Well, only this week, actually, I finally caught up with a film on DVD that was one of last year's surprise hits: Enchanted, and I was... well... simply enchanted!

Giselle is a perfectly straightforward Disney girl... She lives in the animated world of Andalasia, doing what all such young ladies do: chatting with the local woodland creatures, singing songs in a trilling coloratura and dreaming of meeting Prince Right.

When handsome (but nicely dim) hunk, Prince Edward, happens to hear Giselle's dulcet tones wafting through the forest glades as he is galloping around on his big white charger, all ought to be set for a happily-ever-after ending, but it's not as easy as that...

Prince Edward has one of those liabilities commonly encountered in the realm of faery: the wicked Stepmother and the villainous Queen Narissa has no intention of allowing the couple to enjoy married bliss since that would unnecessarily impinge on her own royal status.

Disguised as a crone, the Queen tricks Giselle into taking a turn around the palace gardens in order to make a wish at the local wishing well. Once there, she gives Giselle the old heave-ho, shunting her through a magic portal into another fantastical world - modern day Manhattan.


Once in the 'real' world, Giselle (Amy Adams) takes on human - as opposed to animated - form, as do Prince Edward (James Marsden) when he sets out to rescue the girl of his dreams, Queen Narissa's loyal henchman, Nathanial (Timothy Spall) who is intent upon frustrating the rescue-attempt and Giselle's particular woodland chum, Pip the Chipmunk, who is doing his Disney-best to help...

Truly a maiden in distress, Giselle is aided by a divorce lawyer, Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) and his six-year old daughter, Morgan, who readily accepts that the somewhat kooky lady in the white ball gown might be the princess she claims to be...

There are complications arising as a result of Robert's pending engagement to his current girlfriend, Nancy, and the usual dangers associated with poisoned apples.

But things get really fiery when H M Queen Narissa (the magnificently nasty Susan Sarandon) eventually shows up in person and, as these ladies sometimes tend to do, transmogrifies into a huge, scaly, wing-beating, tail-lashing dragon.

Anyone who has ever seen Disney's classic fairy-tales Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty will recognize the numerous parallels and decode what is a lovingly and charmingly fabricated piece of pure homage.

Enchanted works on many levels. For those who accept the story just as it's told, it is a delightful fantasy and a piece of first-rate family entertainment; while out-and-out Disney-geeks will immediately identify the voice of Julie (Mary Poppins) Andrews as the film's storyteller and instantly spot the cameo-appearances by Paige O'Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast), Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid) and Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas).

Of course, only very sad people will notice - and understand why - the name of Robert's law firm is Churchill, Harline and Smith or why the TV soap opera, which is an important plot device and features the aforementioned Ms O'Hara, has characters called 'Angela', 'Jerry' and 'Ogden'...

And probably no one - other than me - will have realised why the TV reporter was named 'Mary Ilene Caselotti'...

Got it?

Yes...?
No...?

Hmmm...

Well, if you understood that reference, then you get double--- No!--- Treble-bonus points; but then you wouldn't really need to watch Enchanted because you'd probably already be living in Disneyland!

Anyway, here's the trailer - though it is merely a glimpse of the full enchantment in store...






DON'T FORGET: TODAY is the closing date for submissions to the current CA(P)TION COM-PET-ITION

9 comments:

Laurie Mann said...

I love satire and the "Happy Working Song" was an incredible hoot.

I didn't get the name of the reporter until you pointed it out. And I'm enough of a Disney geek to know now!

Boll Weavil said...

...I'll have to wait until this film is on the tv AND it rains on a bank holiday afternoon in order to watch it...hmm shouldn't be too long then.

Can't wait to see the results of the caption competition btw cos I thought it was quite difficult.It must be the first time there's no men in underpants in it...

Brian Sibley said...

LAURIE - Yes, the spoof of 'Whistle While You Work' is brilliant as are so many other sequences - whether set-pieces or passing, throw-away moments.

As I guess you can tell from what I wrote, I loved it; but I confess that I also kept finding myself wondering what on earth (or in heaven) Walt would have thought...

BOLL - Yes, the competition - closing date for entries TONIGHT - was probably harder than some, as seems to have been reflected in the number of submissions received. That fact aside, I really do have to ask - as a concerned friend - whether you've ever considered seeking professional advice about your obsession with men in underpants?! ;-)

Diva of Deception said...

I've just watched 'Enchanted' too! I saw it last Thursday night flying home from the US. Couldn't see it on the way out as the in-flight entertainment.

i think I'm the sad one as I didn't understand any of the growed-up references, only the child-ridden ones and the spoofs on the various moments and songs....

But I really enjoyed it nevertheless....

Now off to read Jo's Boys, the final Louisa May offering bought at her old homestead in Concorde, Mass (or was it Ct?)

See i told you I was sad....

Brian Sibley said...

DIVA - Thank goodness! Someone's finally asked (well, sort of) about those "growed-up references"; otherwise, I'd have to had to write a second blog-post explaining, and that, for the Non-Disney Geeks would have been very tedious!

The law firm of Churchill, Harline and Smith is named after Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline and Paul J Smith who wrote the score for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs...

The TV soap-opera which features Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast) references character-names 'Angela', 'Jerry' and 'Ogden' which is a nod to other members of the Beauty and the Beast voice cast: Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach and David Ogden Stiers, who spoke and sang for Mrs Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth.

And the name given to the TV reporter, 'Mary Ilene Caselotti', is a tribute to the actress/singers who voiced three of Disney's best-loved princesses: Mary Costa (Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty), Ilene Woods (Cinderella) and Adriana Caselotti who was the first and fairest of them all - Snow White.

"Enough, enough!" I hear you cry...

Eudor said...

Hi everybody, I post in my blog the spanish-trailer of Enchanted... in Spain all the movies are dubbing (dubbing?)... well you know... if you have some curiosity...

Brian Sibley said...

EUDORA - You know, I like it almost as much --- in Spanish!

Ian said...

I like to think Walt would have liked it (although maybe he'd have just made sure it never got past the initial proposal!). This turned out far better than anyone could have hoped for I think - a truly magical film. Disappointed that so many of the "shiny disc" reviews have given it 3 out of 5 when I thought it was special enough to have earnt 5 out of 5.

Brian Sibley said...

IAN - Maybe people just can't bring themselves to acknowledge that there is anything truly appealing about those old Disney classics other than as TV-pacifiers for the tots, let alone a new film for sophisticated 21st Centuryites...

Anyway...

Check out Ian's band new Shiny Discs Show" all the low down you need on the latest DVD releases - with insight and, thank goodness, attitude!