Enchanted is a breezy romp from cartoon fairytale land once upon a time to gritty New York City reality happily ever after. There is Giselle (Amy Adams), a beautiful maiden who sings lovely ballads, entrancing all manner of wildlife with her soulful joy and hope. She longs for her prince, her knight in shining armor, who will sweep her off her feet in song, dance and marriage. Who needs courtship when destinity awaits in music, yes? And so Prince Edward (James Marsden) comes prancing along on his horse, slaying trolls and catching Giselle when she falls precipitously in his arms from a tree while trying to escape the evil troll. And they ride off into the sunset amid a chorus of sighs and even a sentimental tear or two. But it is only a fairytale and everyone knows it. And that is when things begin to take an interesting, if predictably funny, and sometimes heart-touching, turn.
Enter the evil, conniving step-mother (Susan Sarandon) of Edward, the Evil Queen of their land. She conceives a plot to send Giselle to a place where there are no happy endings, New York City. Imagine the shock of a fairytale princess-to-be, when she finds herself thrust into the harsh, bitter reality of city. Eventually she meets up with a jaded, yet latently hopeful Divorce Lawyer (Patrick Dempsey), eventually to fall in love with him, rather than her briefly betrothed. Imagine the conflict that suggests as he also gradually falls for her.
Plot turns abound, although the outcome is never really in doubt. But the audience is quite accepting of the fairytale dimension because they have become enchanted by the outstanding song and dance numbers, the emotional connection of the two protagonists, and the hope that through it all, there is somehow a possibility for dazzling, yet mature courtship and marriage in the real world.
Enchanted is Rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo. In one situation the six year-old daughter of the Divorce Lawyer tries to explain why boys are trouble for girls, but then admits she does not really know, herself. She says “Boys only want one thing.” When Giselle inquires as to what that might be, she shrugs and says, “I don’t know.” I recommend great caution to parents of young children for this reason alone. Think of it this way. Are you really ready to have that conversation with your children? Also, do you really wish for your child to have this view of boys?
The scary images are not really so bad, but they might frighten sensitive children who are prone to nightmares about monsters. Also, there are poisonous apples, a dragon and a troll, all looking to wreak mayhem on our protagonists, especially Giselle.
I like this movie. It is a breath of fresh air to the Disney apparatus in terms of over-all storyline. Yet, I was underwhelmed by the CGI effects. I got the impression that it was not nearly the priority and this is the only real achilles heal I perceive in the movie.