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Wayback Wednesday: Enchanted (2007)

Countless rewatches? THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW I love this movie.

I am not a Disney Adult. I’ve never been to any of the theme parks, I’ve never cosplayed as any of the characters and I don’t have any Disney themed tattoos. When it comes to the House of Mouse, I would say that I like them and their content the healthy amount. Just like anyone else though, my life has been enchanted (wink wink) and enriched by their classic animated movies. My childhood is defined by countless viewings of Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994). By the way, check out my reviews for those movies here, here and here. No matter how intense of a Disney fan you are, there’s no denying that one movie that perfectly encapsulates the love we feel for these movies is Enchanted (2007). This exceedingly delightful movie possesses everything that fans of classic Disney could possibly want and manages to do something truly extraordinary: Become a classic in its own right. 

Credit: imdb.com / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Enchanted tells the story of Giselle, an optimistic maiden from the magical animated world of Andalasia awaiting her “happily ever after.” To stop her from marrying her stepson Prince Edward and stealing her throne, the ruthless Queen Narissa banishes Giselle to the live-action New York City. Finding herself in a strange land with even stranger ideas about true love and happily ever afters, Giselle befriends Robert, a gruff lawyer who makes her question what it is she wants in life.

Wow. I cannot believe that this movie was released 15 years ago. 2007 seems like only yesterday! Although, based on the premise Enchanted sounds like the kind of movie that would have been made even longer ago like in the 1990s. And certainly not by Disney. This movie could have been a send up of generic fairy tales made by any other studio but Disney themselves decided to be as in on the joke as possible. Even in 2007 I don’t think anyone would have believed Disney to be capable of being this parodic or satirical. I love that Disney had enough of a sense of humour about themselves to go, “yeah, let’s make a movie that while celebrating the charm and romance of these old animated movies, also pokes fun at how unrealistic or flawed they are.” It’s even funnier when you consider that not only did Disney hire Kevin Lima, who had worked in various roles on various Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin as director, but also Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who had written countess iconic Disney songs. That’s how committed to being tongue in cheek Enchanted is!

It’s also a sign of how much admiration the crew has for these classic movies. From the very beginning and the opening of that animated storybook (with narration by DAME Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins herself) it’s clear that Enchanted is a love letter to the classic animated tales that Disney built a company on. Through cheeky cultural references, obvious winks to the camera and beautiful homages, this movie serves as a heartfelt tribute to the magic and romance that made us fall in love with these kids of movies in the first place. Spectacularly written and directed, Enchanted is more or less a perfect movie. This feel-good musical adventure is positively brimming with soaring romance, terrific humour, grand musical numbers and an explosive finale that’s a satisfying “happily ever after” for all. It’s an underrated romantic-comedy that deserves all the acclaim and more.The cast and crew should be very proud of themselves. Critical acclaim and capturing the hearts of millions of fans is all well and good, but I’m sure what Disney is most proud of is the staggering $350 million box office against a modest $85 million budget!

Although she already had an Oscar nomination under her belt, this was my introduction to Amy Adams. Her role as Giselle came fairly early in Adams’ career and boy oh boy did it pay off. The role catapulted her to stardom and it’s no surprise why. Adams is delightful. She’s so believable as this naive, animated character coming to grips with the harsh realities of our world. In the hands of a less talented or endearing actress this could have been a grating or unremarkable role but Adams understands the assignment and is a joy to watch. Her unbridled joy will make you break into a smile. She bring whimsy and moxie to Giselle, a character that is very much a blend of the romance-minded princesses of Walt Disney’s day and the fiery women of the Disney Renaissance. Her character growth is a subtlety sharp metaphor for how Disney as a studio and their characters have grown. Adams is perfection.

As is the rest of the cast, honestly. As Robert and Edward respectively, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden are sensational scene partners for Adams. Just like Adams, they both completely understood the assignment and their performances are so hilariously on point. Hello, Marsden even already LOOKS like animated royalty! He is chewing all the scenery as the air-headed prince and watching him give the role his all is wonderful. It’s had to tell who’s having more fun in their over the top role: him or Susan Sarandon as Narissa. Marsden is an underrated actor and I simply adore him. Dempsey plays a lovable curmudgeon flawlessly. This is a great role to showcase that the actor is more than a pretty face and watching his and Giselle’s dynamic is a highlight of Enchanted. Plus, they have ALL the chemistry. 

Isn’t it wild to think that Disney cast Idina Menzel in this movie and DIDN’T give her a song to sing? Apparently there was a duet written for her and Marsden but it got cut. Dang Disney, what a missed opportunity! Despite the glaring misstep, Enchanted still managed to score three well-deserved Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. Menken and Schwartz craft timeless songs for Enchanted, ones that while are intended to be loving send ups of Disney musical tropes, are actually bops themselves. Adams performs “Happy Working Song” with gusto, making the already clever and silly lyrics all the more hilarious. Especially when accompanied by the finest animal friends New York City has to offer. Of course, “That’s How You Know” is the movie’s best song, delivering a vibrant and iconic production number that would warm even the chilliest of hearts. Honestly, Enchanted as a whole is a challenge for the coldhearted. You simply can’t watch this movie without your heart filling with sunshine and optimism. A lot of movies will try and convince you that they’re feel-good but when it comes to Enchanted, that descriptor couldn’t be more accurate. 

Like the best fairy tales, Enchanted is a timeless story that will be beloved for generations to come. A gloriously sharp take on what it means to find you happily ever after, when it comes to modern Disney classics, this one really is the fairest of them all. You’re welcome by the way for going practically this whole review without an abundance of fairytale puns!

Have you seen Enchanted? What are your favourite Disney movies?

Let me know in the comments or on social media! 

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