Enchanted is an American movie that was produced in 2007. The movie is written by Bill Kelly and directed by Kevin Lima. The plot of the movie focuses on Giselle, a Disney Princess, who moves from her animation world of Andalasia, though by force, to the real world to the city of New York. The movie stars Hollywood actors and actresses Amy Adams, James Mardsen and Susan Sarandon.
After its release, the movie received a lot of praise from critics, and according to a survey carried out by the Rotten Tomatoes; the film garnered an overall 92% approval rating that was based on reviews by 156 critics (Rotten). Another website the Metacritic gave the movie a rating of 75%, (Metactitic).
The Rotten Tomatoes voted the movie as the 9th best reviewed movie released in 2007 and crowned it as the best family movie of the year (Rotten). Other critics were not impressed by the movie and according to the TIMES, the movie “cannibalizes Walt’s vault for jokes” and “fails to find a happy ending that doesn’t feel two-dimensional” (Times). The Guardian also unforgiving and according to journalist Peter Bradshaw, the movie “assumes a beady-eyed and deeply humorless sentimentality.”
He continues to say that the only good performance in the movie was that of Adams, he says, “only decent thing in this overhyped family movie covered in a cellophane shrink-wrap of corporate Disney plastic-ness” (Bradshaw). This paper will look at the plot of the movie, cast, themes and finally make recommendations.
The protagonist, Giselle, (played by Amy Adams), lives in an animated world called Andalasia. In this fairy tale world she can speak to animals, break into song and dance at will, and generally lives a “happily ever after” life. She is designated to be married to Prince Edward, played by James Marsden, after he saves her from a troll.
Prince Edward’s stepmother, Queen Narissa, played by Susan Sarandon, is an evil person and does not want Prince Edward marrying because she would lose her throne once Edward is married to Giselle. Queen Narissa schemes to get rid of Giselle and throws her into a portal. The portal transports Giselle into a world that has no “happy ever afters”, which we later learn is the city of New York (Stewart).
After travelling through the portal Giselle emerges at Times Square. Her first experiences in the real world are marked by misadventures, for instance, an accident, she gets in a moving crowd finding herself on the subway, and her tiara is stolen in Bowery by a homeless man. After these misadventures, Giselle meets Robert Philip, played by Patrick Dempsey, who is a tough divorce lawyer although he is friendly to her.
After the meeting, Philip’s daughter, Morgan, played by Rachel Covey, argues her father to let Giselle stay with them, which he reluctantly agree. At the Philip’s apartment, Giselle follows the ways of the fairy tale world, Andalasia, and recruits animals to help clean the apartment as she made a dress out of curtains in the house. The funny thing in this instance is that the animals she recruits include cockroaches, pigeons, and rats that we learn are pets in Andalasia (Magid).
Philip’s girlfriend, Nancy, played by Idina Menzel, gets into an argument with him over Giselle’s stay at the apartment. Nancy storms off and we learn that Philip is contemplating of proposing to Nancy though he has not mastered the courage to do it. To avoid further arguments with his girlfriend, Robert asks his secretary Sam, played by Jodi Benson, to find a way to get Giselle back home. Sam searches for transportation to Andalasia, but she is unsuccessful.
Deciding that the time had come for him to part ways with Giselle, Robert takes her to Central Park and offers her some money. She however, almost gives her money to an old woman, who tells her that she had seen a young man, Prince Edward, fighting and stabbing an MTA bus (after he thought it was a giant steel beast that was eating people) around the Times Square (Wood). Robert joins Giselle after he makes up his mind that she is in need of his protection from the mayhem of New York.
As they walk through the park, Giselle asks Robert about how he shows his affection for affection before she breaks into song and dance. The whole city joins into singing and dancing and this reminds us of the Andalasia way of life where the people break into song and dance to express their feelings and emotions. Giselle helps Robert to rejoin with his girlfriend, Nancy; he presents her with flowers and tickets for the Kings and Queens Ball (Stewart).
In Andalasia Narissa commands her henchman Nathaniel, played by Timothy Spall, to follow the prince and his ever-loyal companion, a talking chipmunk called Pip. The prince is on a quest to get back his love, Giselle, and marry her. Nassira gives Nathaniel three poisoned apples which Giselle must taste by all means (reminds the movie watchers of the story about sleeping beauty).
When he arrives in New York his first attempts of having Giselle eat the apple, comes when he tries to sell the apple to Giselle as she walked with Robert in Central Park. He masquerades himself as a fruit vendor and gives Giselle the apple. This attempt fails because Giselle accidentally throws the apple in the air. The apple lands on a cyclist’s helmet and burns through the helmet leaving the poor guy bald.
Nathaniel and Prince Edward later spend the night in a cheap motel and it is here Nathaniel starts to have doubts about the kind of relationship he has with Queen Narissa. He watches a soap opera on the TV and this gets him thinking hard about changing his character. Prince Edwards watches the TV in amazement and actually call the TV a magic mirror. When Nathaniel finds Giselle and Robert dining at an Italian restaurant, he makes his second attempt.
He disguises himself as a waiter and serves Giselle a poisoned apple martini. Pip although now incapable of speaking in the real world after leaving Andalasia, thwarts Nathaniel attempts and this infuriates the queen. Seeing no progress in getting rid of Giselle, the queen leaves Andalasia for the real world to get the job done right (Magid).
As Robert and Giselle spend time together, Giselle falls in love with him and discovers that the real world is much different from the life she has been used in Andalasia. Robert admirers Giselle and is influenced by her optimism and idealism. He develops feelings for her, but he is torn because he is slate d to be engaged to Nancy.
Edward continues with his quest of finding Giselle and he eventually finds her at the Robertson’s home. Prince Edwards is happy and cannot wait to take Giselle back to Andalasia and making her his wife. Giselle is skeptical about getting back to Andalasia and asks Prince Edwards to take her on a date. This she asks out of her experiences in the real world where she learns that before marrying a person has to go out for a date with the other person.
During their date they end up attending the King’s and Queen’s ball. In the dance, Robert dances with Giselle while Prince Edward dances with Nancy. Robert sings to Giselle softly and she realizes that he is her true love and not Prince Edwards. Edward and Nancy seem to realize this, but this does not affect them because they too are falling in love (Stewart).
Queen Narissa using a disguise manages to poison Giselle, but she is stopped by Prince Edward before she escapes. After fighting with his conscious Nathaniel exposes the queen’s plot and admits his role in trying to poison Giselle.
He tells Prince Edward that the only way to break the poison apple spell is kissing Giselle before midnight. Edward kisses her, but the spell is not broken. Robert tries and this time round she wakes up from the comma. The spell was only to be broken if Giselle was kissed by her true love and this is the reason Prince Edward did not succeed.
Using the crowd as a distraction, Queen Narissa escapes from her captors. She transforms into a dragon and tries to kidnap Giselle. During the melee , she tries to pick Giselle, but Robert protects her. Narissa picks Robert and lures Giselle out of the window on top of the Woolworth building. Narissa’s intention is to kill Giselle, but with the intervention of Pip, Narissa falls from the building and plunges to her death. Giselle manages to catch Robert as he fell from the roof, and find themselves in a romantic embrace.
In a Cinderella story, Prince Edward picks a shoe belonging to Nancy and puts it on her foot. Both Prince Edward and Nancy leave the city and head for Andalasia where they get married and they live happily ever after. Giselle remains in New York and she uses her magical powers to make dresses and opens a successful boutique, where she uses the help of animals and human workers.
Nathaniel also remains in New York and he becomes a successful author specializing in writing self help books that he bases on his experiences. Pip he follows his loyal friend to Andalasia and he too becomes an author also specializing in “writing self help books based on his experiences”.
The role of Giselle is played by Amy Adams. Giselle is a princess who lives her life to the fullest and ends up living her dream even when she is transported from Andalasia to the real world. The character presents similar characteristics to other Disney princesses, with some traits heavily borrowed from the likes of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
The character of Robert Phillip is played by Patrick Dempsey. Robert Phillip is a distrustful divorce lawyer who lives in New York with his daughter Morgan. He is very distrustful of people and their actions, but we see him in the end falling for the beautiful girl Giselle. The character of Prince Edward is played by James Mardsen. Prince Edward is a narcissist person who lives honorably and will do anything to get his love back.
He fails to get her back and loses her to Robert, but this does not affect him because he fall in love with Nancy. Idina Menzel plays the character of Nancy Tremaine who is the girlfriend to Robert. After losing Robert to Giselle she and Prince Edward leave New York and marry. Timothey Spall plays the role of Nathaniel. Nathaniel is a servant at the castle and he works for the evil queen. The queen manipulates him because he is infatuated by her beauty and lack of his own self-respect.
He agrees to whatever she says and when he is sent to kill Giselle he follows her into New York although half-heartedly. After realizing the evil nature of Narissa, he breaks ties with her and remains in New York. The role of the evil Queen Narissa is played by Susan Sarandon. Queen Narissa is an evil sorcerer and she stands to lose control of the kingdom once Prince Edward is married to Giselle.
To prevent this she plots to kill Giselle and the movie revolves around the attempts of her henchmen trying to kill Giselle. The character of Narissa represents other Disney villainesses such as Maleficent and Evil Queen. The character of Morgan, Robert’s daughter is played by Rachel Covey. Morgan is a six-year- old girl who believes in fairy tales and magic despite her father disapproval (Richards).
Theme of contemporary Feminism and Love as Evident in the movie
The movie is no doubt entertaining, with a cast that propels it in a very interesting way, but in the attempt to appealing to the audience who seeks the “happily ever after” moments of a film, the at the heart of the movie is so much twisted that it is not hard to criticize its sincerity. One of the major themes of the film is contemporary feminism.
The filmmakers go to great lengths to portray Giselle as a strong young woman, and at the end of the film, we see her picking a sword to save the day and give a happy ending to the story. The truth is, the movie is about a young woman who is seeking to find true love and keeps on falling for the first man she comes across. The first time we see her she falls in love with Prince Edward after he catches her from a falling tree.
When she finds herself in New York city, the first man who shows kindness to her, Robert, she finally falls in love with him and even claims to be her true love. The movie also shows that problems facing little girls can be solved by breaking into song and dance, or better yet stealing a parent’s credit card and going shopping. In one of the early scenes, we see Robert giving a book to his daughter about accomplished women in history, but his daughter is uninterested.
This same little girl out rightly falls for Giselle after they meet and Giselle becomes her role model. In the film, the camera lingers on the cover of the book that has pictures of Rosa Parks and Marie Curie, which shows how old and plain the two women are. At this juncture, a viewer cannot help but wonder if the filmmakers are advocating that the only women who are worth admiring are the young and beautiful (Richards).
Besides the theme of contemporary feminism, the movie revolves around the theme of romance and true love. Giselle is a beautiful young woman, and she falls in love with the young prince after he saves her. She is deeply in love with the prince and they plan to marry. The prince’s stepmother is evil and transports the young woman into a new world where Giselle experiences many hardships.
After her arrival in the new world, she is lost in time and does not know what to do until she is rescued by Robert Philips. The experiences she has on the real world and with Robert makes her change her perception of love. The prince after losing his love follows her and is on a quest to rescue her once more and finally make her his queen. Giselle stay at the Robert’s apartment is causing trouble with his girlfriend and he actually contemplates on leaving Giselle on the street to appease his girlfriend Nancy.
When Giselle and Prince Edward meet, Giselle realizes that her love for him has changed and she insists on them having a date. When they go to the King’s and Queen’s ball it is evident to her that she does not love Prince Edward as she did Robert, although she has difficulty telling him. The theme of love and romance is clearly presented when Giselle is poisoned by the queen.
After she collapses, Nathaniel announces that the only thing that will save Giselle is if she is kissed by her true love before midnight. After Edward kisses her and she fails to wake up, Robert kisses her and this time she wakes up and they embrace. The other instance where romance and love manifest itself in the movie is when the Robert is falling from the rooftop and Giselle catches him.
This is one of the most emotional scene in the movie as we see Giselle pulling Robert and they end up embracing in a romantic way. After Nancy and Prince Edward realize that Robert and Giselle are meant to be together by fate, they do not stand in their way, but opt to forge their own relationship. We see them going to Andalasia and here they marry and live happily ever after (Richards).
The movie is a must watch for young people and the young at heart. Although the movie depicts life in a rather unconventional way, a “happily ever after life”, everyone has that place in their heart that will want to believe in this, and the movie will not disappoint. The movie is good for young children as it teaches that truthfulness, honesty, and honor will always prevail against evil.
As the first Disney movie that encompasses both live action and animation the producers were successful in offering audiences a film that brings fun through the animated characters such as Pip and the live action actors such as Narissa.
Bradshaw, Peter. “Enchanted.” The Guardian (London). 4. Jan. 2008. Web. <http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Critic_Review/Guardian_review/0,2227039,00.html>.
Magid, Ron. “A new wrinkle in the face of evil”. Los Angeles Times. 20. Nov. 2008. Web. <http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/02/entertainment/ca-enchanted2>.
Metactitic. “Enchanted.” Metacritic. 8. Jan. 2008. Web. <http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/enchanted>.
Richards, Olly. “Reviews: Enchanted.” Empire. 4. Jan. 2008. Web. <http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=11163>.
Rotten, Tomatoes. “Enchanted.” Rotten Tomatoes. 23. Sept. 2007. Web. <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/enchanted/>.
Stewart, Ryan. “Enchanted”. Premiere. 26. Nov. 2008. Web. <http://www.premiere.com/Review/Movies/Enchanted>.
Time. “Downtime: Enchanted.” The Times. 4. Jan. 2008. Web. <http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1623143_1687170_1687164,00.html>.
Wood, Jennifer. “Amy Adams Enchants Kevin Lima”. Movie Maker. 26. Nov. 2007. Web. <http://www.moviemaker.com/directing/article/amy_adams_enchanted_kevin_lima_20071126/>.