Sunday, November 25, 2007

B.W. At The Movies: Enchanted

You gotta understand, I am a sloppy sentimentalist when I want to be. Bogie's speech to Ilsa at the airport - The "richest man in Bedford Falls" toast - "Hey, Dad, you wanna play a catch?" - Malcolm Reynolds' little speech about how love is what keeps a bucket of bolts flying - all of those movie moments have the ability to turn my face into a sopping wet mess of sentimental corn.

Maybe Enchanted just caught me in the right mood, but my cheeks were wet from the frickin' opening scenes, when we meet an animated beauty out of a Disney fairy tale who talks and frolics with all the warm and fuzzy creatures of the forest. From those opening scenes to the happily ever after, this film pretty much had me under its spell all the way - OK, except for the stupid scenes with the dragon at the end that basically make no sense. But everything else is so pitch-perfect I forgive them - nobody can make a movie that perfect, can they???

Poking fun at the conventions of the Disney feature-length cartoons, especially the classics like Snow White and Cinderella, Enchanted envisions what would happen if one of those fairy-tale princesses were thrown into the real world with all of her childlike innocence - but also her magical powers - intact. The scenes where an army of New York's wildlife - rats, mice, pigeons and cockroaches - clean an apartment, and where Giselle (Amy Adams' marvelous forest princess) breaks into song all over Central Park are hilarious genius.

This is very reminiscent of an earlier Disney (Touchstone, to be exact) blending of live action and animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - but of course completely different. That 1988 work of genius took the cartoons into the gritty real world, film noir style. This 2007 work of genius sets up the same kind of collision with a completely different goal: enchantment. delight. exaltation.

I will pick a nit - spoiler alert. After the evil queen discovers her quest is successful - Giselle will not marry the evil queen's son and dethrone her, because she has found her Real True Love in the real world - the evil queen turns into a dragon and keeps trying to kill Giselle, setting up the big finish. Makes no sense, dumb dumb dumb, kind of fun though in its own way if slightly out of the spirit of the rest of the movie. And the rest is so terrific that this misstep is slight by comparison.

Amy Adams is a treasure in the role of Giselle, and everyone else is fun and wonderful in her reflected light. James Marsden is as spirited as Prince Edward as he was flat as Cyclops in the X-Men movies - hard to believe it's the same actor. (Think Natalie Portman comparing her Star Wars performances to V for Vendetta, only if V were a charming musical comedy.)

Charmed. I think that's the word. I was simply charmed out of my skull by Ms. Adams and this film. I can't wait to see it again, and I've spent the last day reliving some of its sweetest scenes in my mind. I think that's the goal of most filmmakers, so it's an enormous success.

Oh wait, there's an even better word: I was enchanted. Duh!



Anonymous kyfho said...

"I am a sloppy sentimentalist when I want to be... all of those movie moments have the ability to turn my face into a sopping wet mess of sentimental corn."

I knew there was a reason I liked you! It couldn't be because our birthdays are only three days apart so we share the same stars...

9:59 PM  
Blogger Wally Conger said...

I saw "Enchanted" yesterday and was, like you, absolutely charmed. Highest of high-points: the song & dance number in Central Park (Patrick Dempsey really soars in this scene by doing little more than walking along and reacting to events around him). I've been singing "That's How You Know" for 24 hours now...

4:47 PM  

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