Walt Disneys original feature-length cartoons were based on timeless fairy tales but recent cartoon features have broken from that tradition, focusing on pop-culture humour, slapstick buffoonery, marketing tie-ins and catchy musical numbers. Enchanted returns to the roots of the Disney tradition and demonstrates that the heart at the centre of a fairy tale doesnt need gimmicks to keep the story beating.
Enchanted begins in the magical cartoon land of Andalasia, where the sweet Giselle (Amy Adams) and her furry forest friends are waiting for a handsome Prince to sweep her off her feet. When Prince Edward (James Marsden) hears Giselles beautiful song, he comes running and the two fall instantly in fairy tale love. When the Princes wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon) learns of the impending marriage, she fears that her Queendom is at an end and devises a wicked plan to dispose of young Giselle. Disguising herself as an old hag, the Queen pushes Giselle into a magic well that leads to real life New York City. Prince Edward follows his true love to the real world to bring home his bride-to-be before trouble befalls her.
The opening animated sequence of Enchanted is so reminiscent of Walt Disneys original cartoons that it makes you long for the simplicity of those classic features, without the gags, "hip jokes for adults and "wacky sidekick characters. Thankfully, writer Bill Kelly doesnt turn on the giggle switch, instead he focuses on creating a charming "fish out of water fairy tale that will delight children and adults alike. The only inside jokes in the film are a few allusions to classic Disney films, such as Cinderella and Snow White, but these references work well considering the characters come from a fairy tale land that seems much like the Magic Kingdom (the imaginary place, not the theme park).
Enchanted is truly enchanting. Parents, children and the young at heart will find the straightforward storytelling a refreshing change from the usual family fare Hollywood has been churning out. (Walt Disney/Buena Vista)