Enchanted is an absolute miracle. At the risk of cannibalizing its own brand — which included decades of fairy tale films — Disney was somehow able to pull off a very entertaining self-parody while also paying homage to all its previous princess stories.
And I would say that risky bet paid off since Enchanted earned more than $340 million at the box office.
Enchanted stars Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, but in my opinion James Marsden (known as Cyclops in another life) steals the show as Prince Edward. I don’t know if it’s his passionate knuckle biting or the obsession with his own handsomeness, but when the prince is asked the question, “Sire, do you like yourself?” I wholeheartedly agree with his answer:
The cast also includes Susan Serandon, Timothy Spall, and the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem.
There are also some great Disney cameos. Julie Andrews (also known as Mary Poppins) narrates it, and there are also funny appearances by former Disney princesses like Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid), Paige O’Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast), and Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas in… another film, the title of which escapes me at the moment).
My one real complaint is the whole dragon scene. Unlike Frozen, which switched up the “male rescues female” thing in a very clever and natural way, this movie’s climax felt a bit forced and entirely unnecessary. The ending after the dragon part was still good, though, which I attribute solely to Patrick Dempsey’s little hoedown prance.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: If you ever produce a musical and you have just one Tony Award-winning actress in your cast, be sure to let everyone else sing but her.
To me, the most interesting aspect of this film is the blatant reversal of the Disney formula that has worked for so many decades. This is not a story of an ordinary woman becoming a princess, but a princess becoming an ordinary woman.
Giselle gradually moves from her naïve idea of love being based on instant attraction and “true love’s kiss” to a more grounded perspective that includes getting to know a person before jumping into a relationship.
On the flip side (suddenly I feel like giving someone a backwards high-five), Robert learns that we can still be aware of the realities of disappointment without being a downer all the time. Cheerful optimism does not have to equal naivete.
So I guess our Valentine’s Day lesson is temperance. True love is not manifest in our temperamental swings to emotional extremes, but in our temperate, constant, and enduring devotion to one another.
“Charity suffereth long, and…is not easily provoked.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7