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Monday, March 31, 2008

Enchanted

I was hoping for more from Enchanted, as it had gotten some decent reviews. The premise - a Disney cartoon happily-ever-after-wedding gone wrong so that the cheery bride climbs out of a manhole into live-action New York - was great, but they could have cut the saccharine by half and still had something kid-friendly. It felt as if someone was afraid they were going to come up with something original (pronounce that "unproven") and started picking "fantasy" elements off a shelf to throw them in: gloomy practical father, unworthy girlfriend, egotistical prince, cute motherless child, brave forest creature, wicked queen...come ON! And instead of using those things to give a truly different spin on the story - as that WAS the point - all they did was blunt the sharpest edges and make all the characters less interesting with less to actually DO. I liked the message that love needs to be based on more than one perfect kiss, but...ok, let's go behind the veil for spoilers...

...it would have been nice if they had given the heroine a MIND to go along with the message. Saying "oooh, I'm angry" and then giggling about it, does not equate with depth of character in my book - even in my fairy tale children's book!

Other beefs: I found the animated opening cute, but it went on way too long, as if the people lampooning the Cinderella bluebirds and instant true love secretly preferred the "old ways." I saw no basis for the attraction between the (now) ex-girlfriend and the prince, except that they were both leftovers. I couldn't decide what Nancy (isn't that always the name of the ex-girlfriend?) was supposed to be except Not Right for the hero - she liked museums, I think, and she liked it when Robert seemed spontaneous and romantic. The child was never used - except to "not like" Nancy and "like" Giselle. And to demonstrate that her father was an idiot - he gave her a book of strong women (like Madame Curie) instead of fairy tales. Now what message are we trying to get across here? How fun if the kid had wanted BOTH books!! Sigh. I love fairy tales, but the bits of danger and darkness make them richer - and just a FEW bits of intelligence can make them great.

7 comments:

barb michelen said...
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sex scenes at starbucks said...

something original (pronounce that "unproven")

This made me lmao, Carol.
My kids have shown no interest in this movie, and they're the target audience.

carolwriter said...

One thing I love about JK Rowling is that she can write kid level humor, real emotion, and real danger in the same book. That's what makes her stories rich. I got the feeling that Enchanted was another source of marketing spinoffs for Princess birthday parties.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Funny you should say that since my daughter was invited to one! (She's not a dress girl so she wore her jeans along with the one boy invited...)

Ashling said...

It's interesting to hear your review of Enchanted. I have yet to see the movie, but most people around me have been raving about it. (I'm not sure why.) I'm disappointed to hear that it lacks originality, because I thought that might have been one of the selling points. Perhaps the -premise- of the story is original ( classic fairy tale suddenly thrown into the real world), but I guess they took a step forward and then jerked to a halt because they weren't sure how to cater to both adults and kids (and ended up stuck somewhere in between?)

The recent Disney is not exactly know for its innovative stories, I also wish that they would just move -beyond- the whole simplistic formulas of either 1) fair maidens in distress, meets prince charming (or not so charming at first), overcomes obstacles, happy ending, or 2) the underdog achieves his/her dreams through hard work and never giving up, and then everything works out. I know that the themes are very positive, which is not a bad thing, but the way they're usually presented is so obviously dumbed down that I actually feel it's an insult to kids' intelligence. They deserve much more.

And we as adults also deserve animated films that we would feel compelled to watch (with kids or no kids) and be immersed in.

carolwriter said...

I rented the film because I had heard good things, too. I don't think of myself as a tremendously demanding critic - I can be entertained in a lot of different ways. I just felt a big letdown.

Ashling said...

haha I can empathize with you on that, especially if you've had some sort of expectation for the movie beforehand.