Published Apr 01, 2004Cinderella, make way for Ella of Frell! This film, based on Gail Carson Levine's novel, follows the young and beautiful Ella (The Princess Diaries' Anne Hathaway) on an adventurous journey to release herself from the confines of a spell of obedience. The spell, a "gift" from her sexy socialite godmother Lucinda Perriweather (Vivica A. Fox), forces Ella to obey all direct orders, including the sinister requests of her evil stepsister Hattie (Lucy Punch). Ella embarks on a trek through the medieval forests filled with parties of giants and across the dangerous territory of ogres.
In typical fairy tale fashion, Ella does not travel alone. She embarks on her quest with Benny (Jimi Mistry), an intellectual who has the misfortune of being turned into a book by his girlfriend Mandy (Minnie Driver), who is also Ella's nursemaid and companion. Enter Slannen of Pim. Slannen is a sullen elf who dreams of a day when the law forcing elves to assume positions of entertainment (singing and dancing and such) is abolished so he can change the world as a lawyer. But Ella's world changes when she is rescued (for the second time) by teen idol and magazine cover boy Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy). Despite herself, Ella falls for the charms of the prince and gets entwined in the menacing plots of the Prince's deceptive uncle, Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes).
Ella Enchanted has modernised all the popular characters of the fairy tale classic Cinderella (including the hilarious "botox" loving stepmother, Dame Olga, played perfectly by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley). But some of the themes explored throughout the 103-minute movie (shoplifting, celebrity-stalking and racism) are not handled with the delicate care required considering the target audience: pre-teen girls.
Despite that, Tommy O'Haver created a magical film filled with clever modern elements (like the Frell Galleria mall with all the trappings and the "parchment-only" recycling bin) that make Ella Enchanted an enjoyable viewing. (Alliance Atlantis)