Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It's Me, Charming!

How does she know, you love her?

Probably by bringing her to watch Enchanted, a movie with the words "chick flick" rubber stamped all over it. I've got to admit my friend offered to hook me up on a blind date with a hot chick because she wanted to watch this movie, and I had unsuccessfully persuaded him to bring her out on this movie date himself. Anyway if you're reading this, you should, because it has a winning formula!

The trailers would have suggested that this was going to be a madcap time, with a Disney movie poking fun at most of its classics, drawing inspiration from, and then taking a mickey out of it. You have a princess-wannabe Giselle (Amy Adams), an animated character modelled quite generically from beauties like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty et al. Thrown in too are a Prince Charming type named Edward (James Marsden), and his evil stepmother The Queen (Susan Sarandon), with evil hag disguise to boot. And with her greed to hold onto the Kingdom, she prevents the love-at-first-sight/song couple from marrying, and banishes Giselle to The Big Apple.

With zero help and all the wrong moves and polite demeanour, she finds herself in the unlikely friendship of Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey). And here's when the movie starts to come alive with its inane scenes drawn from the Disney archives to bring on the chuckles, down to full blown musical numbers that are just plain charming. If Disney animated movies of yester-years have lovey dovey songs (listen carefully to the background music to spot some recognizable Disney tunes), poisoned apples, dragons, henchmen, magic mirrors (ha!), witches, glass slippers, gorgeous costumes and cute furry animals, this movie has them all. But aside from the predictable elements that make a Disney cartoon a Disney cartoon, it boiled down to what's core in such fairy tales:

True Love's Kiss. The one thing that every Disney female character yearn for from their hero. It's a typical fairy tale plot, but in its fish out of water storyline, it offered a clash of two different worldly views on the notion of love. For Giselle, it's always been happily ever afters after a shotgun meeting - boy meets girl, girl loves boy, they get married and live in a huge castle. In the real world we're so familiar with, Robert epitomizes the modern day notions of long drawn courtships, the trying to find out everything you can about the other half, for compatibility reasons, the contemplation whether you can live forever (which is such a long time) with the other half, and the option to divorce always hanging overhead when things don't work out. It's a clash of two different perspective from different worlds, and needless to say opposites do attract, henceforth providing a sort of dilemma as both parties are to be married to their respective partners.

Amy Adams is Enchanted, without whom the movie will fall flat. She sings the songs, dances the joyous dance, squeals in delight at every new experience, and is the typical bambi-eyed beauty who finds positivity in everything, even when they are heading south. I guess I'm attracted to optimism, and no doubt, her character of hope had naturally struck a chord in me (same thing goes for Kirsten Dunst's Claire in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown). When she opens her mouth and sings to invoke the innate powers of all Disney heroines, the ability to charm animals from afar to do her bidding, you've gotta see this one as it just cracks you up with the type of beings she conjures in New York. In her own ditzy manner, her Giselle will undoubtedly find a soft spot in your heart.

Playing her two leading men are Patrick Dempsey as the world-weary divorce lawyer whose pessimism is soon to take an hard knock from Giselle's infectious attitude towards love, and James Marsden as the very himbo-like Prince Edward, all brawn, a naturally glib tongue, and perhaps a hint of an airhead (Is it me, or are female characters these days becoming more Alpha-typed?). Susan Sarandon got top billing too in this movie, and while she looks quite the part as the evil Queen, it's a pity that her screen time had been severely limited, lending more of her voice instead rather than appearing in the flesh. Throwaway characters include Timothy Spall as the no good henchman Nathaniel, and an animated chipmunk Pip (noises by the director Kevin Lima himself in the NY version) which seems to be the precursor to more of the same once Alvin and the Chipmunks hit the screen next month.

In true disney fashion, Enchanted goes back to basics with its message, that there must always be hope that one day you'll meet your true love, whether they drop in from the sky, or crawl out of the sewer. Almost a no-brainer choice for dating couples looking for fluffy chick flick entertainment.

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