Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kids flick preview 1: ENCHANTED

Thank you for looking after my bride, peasantsENCHANTED begins as a closely observed spoof of Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY. A handsome prince meets a beautiful princess but their fairytale marriage is ruined by a wicked stepmother who can transform into a dragon. She banishes the lovely Giselle to New York - "a place where no-one lives happily ever after". Giselle (Amy Adams) is quickly followed by her Prince Edward (James Marsden), his treacherous servant Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) and finally by the wicked stepmother herself (Susan Sarandon). Giselle is taken in by a handsome, cynical, divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) and his cute daughter, Morgan.

The movie manages to have its cake and eat it. ENCHANTED wants us cynical ironic post-modern audiences to have a little more faith in true love. But it also wants the Disney heroines of old to have a little more pluck, and perhaps go on a date or two before falling in love at first sight. It's a far more delicate and honest approach to the position of the fairy-tale cartoon in contemporary cinema than those aggressively post-modern CGI flicks.

The best parts of the movie takes us along with them because the actors are playing this preposterous scenario absolutely straight. Dempsey and Marsden do well in this, but it's Amy Adams who is truly charming. I felt that Timothy Spall and Susuan Sarandon were a little too broadly drawn - simply too camp - especially Sarandon in her platform heels and glitter lipstick. Frankly she looked like a drag queen, as though she was consciously sending up Disney and winking at the audience. This broke the delicate balance between fairy-tale and modernity but thankfully her role in relatively small and the movie survives this small mis-step.

ENCHANTED is on release in Italy, Indonesia, the Philippines, the US, Israel, Russia, Singapore, Spain, France, Malaysia, Portugal and Estonia. It opens next week in Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Venezuela. It opens on December 14th in Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Brazil and the UK. It opens later in December in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Turkey, Australia and Norway. It opens in Australia, South Korea and Poland in January 2008 and in Taiwan on February 7th. It opens in Japan on March 14th.

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