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"The Real World and the Animated World Collide." 

Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Enchanted

Director: Kevin Lima

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Timothy Spall

As usual, there is trouble in paradise. The beautiful princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is set to marry the charming prince (James Marsden) when she is plunged into another world by her evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon). So far, so Disney. But the world Giselle finds herself in is far, far away from her 2D roots. Stranded in the very real and very un-Disney New York, Giselle tries to get to grips with her new surroundings while waiting for her prince to rescue her.

This is no “Shrek” imitation, however, as the film manages to be both slyly self-deprecating but at the same time undeniably enchanting. For not only is Giselle changed by what she encounters, for example, her two dimensional personality is challenged and fleshed out by her friendship with the weary New Yorker Robert (Patrick Dempsey), but the real world also finds itself affected by her fairytale enthusiasm. A musical number breaks out in Central Park, while Giselle’s absolute belief in true love starts to affect Robert’s clients as a divorce lawyer.

This would all be a little difficult to swallow if it were not for Amy Adams as Giselle. Her complete believability as a pure soul is the anchor to the otherwise potentially clichéd and predictable plot. Ably supported by a cast gleefully hamming it up, Adams allows her character to come to life, knowing that once the audience’s guard is let down, they will, as New York does, fall in love with her.

What permits this film to avoid the pitfalls which have claimed many similar attempts before it is that, while it doesn’t take itself too seriously as a romantic comedy, it takes itself very seriously as a Disney film. Everything is perfect, reminiscent of the studio in its prime: the songs are catchy, the jokes are funny, and there is something undeniably dark and disturbing about it. Granted, Susan Sarandon’s evil queen will not haunt many nightmares, but seeing Giselle lose her naivety and spark in the big city is certainly no fairytale.

Enchanted manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of having its cake and eating it. It works as a playful dig at its own heritage and formula, but it also works as part of that heritage in its own right. Disney may have lost their way of late, amidst the CGI explosion, but if they stick to doing what they do best with more films like Enchanted, then there may yet be a happily ever after for them too.

Peter Lefort

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)