Saturday, April 26, 2008

Movie review: Enchanted

I finally got to cross Enchanted of my list (the list of great 2007 movies that I failed to see when they came out in theaters) and now I know what everyone else knows: Enchanted is a charming and completely delightful, funny and self-referential movie, an uber-Disney flick, if you will.

Right from the start, the movie is packed to the gills with homages to former Disney classics - from the animal sidekicks, to the restaurant Bella Notte, to the apple falling from the poisoned princess's hand. I'm a big Disney cartoon fan and I lost count of all the references - it must have been so much fun to fit them in.

The musical numbers are a hoot. "The Working Song" was a technical marvel, managing live animals, CGI animals and live children all in one scene. The "How Do You Know" number is staggering in scale, meshing all sorts of NYC performers into one huge production (stiltwalkers, a mariachi band, rollerskaters, hip hop dancers and retired Broadway and movie hoofers - including two guys from West Side Story and one from Mary Poppins!).

The casting director should have won an award. Pretty Patrick Dempsey (whom I like because he's from Maine, not because he's on some soapy doctor show that I've never watched) does an excellent job playing straightman to the fabulous Amy Adams - who is just perfect as a cartoon-come-to-life Disney heroine. The real scene stealer is James Marsden as the Prince, throwing himself wholeheartedly into the silly, heroic, self-important and ultimately sweet Edward.

There's not much to critique here. Everyone's already seen this movie so I'm not going to have any big revelations. This movie is great entertainment, gently poking fun at the familiar tropes that have served Disney so long and so well and yet reminding us all why we love a happy ending.

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