Enchanted

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Enchanted
Review (8.5/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

Once upon a time, little girls were enamoured by the notion that Prince Charming was waiting to whisk them away to the land of happily ever after.

Somewhere along the way, though, that bubble burst and the fairy tale became a myth. The notion of settling for Prince Charming became less appealing to a generation of women who were able to buy the castle themselves and forge their own lifetime of happiness.

I, for one, preferred the fairy tale and, after kissing a few frogs, I eventually did find my Prince Charming. Sure, life has not been quite like the fairy tales advertised (I do not recall seeing Snow White picking up Prince Charming's socks from the floor), and there has been the occasional day that I have wondered whether I could sue Disney for negligent misrepresentation, but I can honestly say that my Prince and I have comfortably nestled into the land of (mostly) happily ever after.

Among my friends, though, I am actually the exception rather than the norm. In reality, in a society where the roles of men and women are becoming increasingly interchangeable, it is difficult not to question whether Prince Charming even exists anymore.

Just when it appeared that a changing society was about to render Prince Charming obsolete, Disney intervened to assure us that, although the fairy tale may have changed, Prince Charming and his land of happily ever after can, and do, still exist in our modern world.

Disney's Enchanted takes us into the charmed life of Gisele (Amy Adams), a maiden living in the forest with a group of furry friends. One day, Prince Charming (James Marsden) arrives to spirit her away to his castle in the land of happily ever after. Just as her fairy tale is about to begin, Gisele has a chance encounter with Prince Charming's wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon), who banishes her to the land of happily ?never? after (a place which looks remarkably like New York City), where she meets Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a cynical divorce lawyer. As she waits for Prince Charming to rescue her, Gisele begins to discover that true love and happily ever after may not be quite what she had come to expect from fairy tales.

Enchanted is a truly enchanting film. Original and light, it is a wonderful addition to the holiday film lineup.

The film begins with an animation sequence that combines elements from the Disney classics, ?Snow White?, ?Cinderella? and ?Sleeping Beauty?. This sets the stage for the fantasy film that follows, and allows the viewer to forgive it for being completely implausible. This also provides a frame of reference for most of the film's key characters, thereby allowing the script to move quickly to the heart of the story without the necessity of lengthy introductions.

The key to this film is in its casting. Gisele's glass slipper fits perfectly upon the foot of Amy Adams, whose doe eyes and angelic singing voice give the film its heart and soul. James Marsden, who is probably best known for his role as Scott Summers in the X-Men franchise, proves for the second time this year (the first time was in ?Hairspray?) that he is more than just a pretty face. Not only can he act, but he can sing and dance as well.

Patrick Dempsey was a reasonable choice for the role of Robert. His role could have been filled by any number of young, handsome actors, but there is a reason that Dempsey has earned the nickname ?McDreamy?. While his acting performance is not likely to generate any awards, the audience (or at least the female members of the audience) can understand why Dempsey's Robert may have given Gisele a pair of cold feet prior to her departure for the land of happily ever after.

Rounding out the cast is Susan Sarandon, who makes an all-too-brief appearance as Queen Narissa, Prince Charming's stepmother. Sarandon nearly steals the film from her co-stars by portraying a witch so devilishly delicious that she could easily give Maraget Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West a run for her money.

Enchanted is a wonderful film for children (I would recommend it for children over the age of eight) and their adult companions. It is an original spin on a trilogy of animated classics and a delightful diversion during a busy holiday season. This is one film that is guaranteed to transport even Scrooge himself to the land of happily ever after.

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