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Enchanted

Amy Adams in Enchanted

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

EVERYONE has their favourite Disney movie, whether it’s a classic such as Snow White & The Seven Dwarves or more contemporary fare such as The Lion King. One of the many joys of watching Enchanted is recalling those magical memories of old.

Beautiful princess Giselle (Amy Adams) has found true love with Prince Edward (James Marsden) and plays to marry him in the animated fairytale kingdom of Andalasia. But Edward’s evil stepmother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) bids to thwart the plan by banishing Giselle to real-world New York, where she quickly finds her fairytale ways at odds with the fast pace of life.

When charming divorce lawyer Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) comes to her aid and offers her shelter, Giselle quickly finds herself smitten by a new man and must choose between life in the city and returning to Andalasia – a choice made all the more difficult by the fairytale characters on her trail.

Kevin Lima’s film is a love letter to the Disney back catalogue that cleverly marries traditional values with some wry modern-day cynicism. It functions as a classic fairytale romp that embraces 2D animation, 3D animation and elements of musical, while also poking some polite fun at the expense of more traditional Disney values.

The jokes are a blast, the songs (by eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken) instantly likeable and the set pieces a joy to behold. What’s more, it boasts some truly great performances that succeed in capturing the overall tone in effortless fashion.

Adams, in particular, shines as Giselle, capturing the wide-eyed innocence of her fairytale presence with incredible ease, before adding a little cynicism late on. She is the movie’s brightest revelation and the film works as well as it does because of her.

But then everyone is on top form, whether it’s Marsden’s impossibly camp Prince Edward, Dempsey’s earnest lawyer, Sarandon’s vampish queen or Britain’s own Timothy Spall as her dim-witted henchman. Watch out, too, for a cute chipmunk helper who brings plenty of humour of his own.

New York itself is also vividly realised, especially during a crowd-pleasing song and dance routine in Central Park, while there’s heaps of fun to be had in spotting the numerous Disney references – whether blatant, as in the nods to Cinderella or Snow White, or more subtle, as in the use of names that reference past characters.

If there’s a minor quibble, it’s that Lima can’t resist throwing in one set piece confrontation too many late on, but it’s a small price to pay for a film that enchants in so many other ways. Enchanted is the family movie to see this Christmas – and one that’s definitely worth catching more than once.

Our guide to the Disney references

Certificate: PG
Running time: 1hr 47mins
UK DVD Release: April 7, 2008