Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: N/A
THE spirit of Shrek runs rife throughout
Ella Enchanted, a better-than-average take on the Cinderella story.
Anne Hathaway (of The Princess Diaries fame) stars as Ella, a
teen princess in waiting who is forced to endure a spell of complete
obedience bestowed upon her by an over-enthusiastic fairy (Vivica
Fox) while she is still a baby.
The spell means she is compelled to do anything she is commanded
- a device used to mischievous effect when her father (Patrick
Bergin) re-marries the dastardly Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley) and
Ella is forced to befriend her two spiteful daughters, Hattie
(Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham).
Determined to break the spell, however, Ella sets off to find
the fairy responsible and sets off on a journey frought with peril
in order to do so, befriending a cheek elf (Aidan McArdle) along
the way, as well as the idolized Prince Char (Hugh Dancy), heir
to the kingdom currently ruled over by the scheming Sir Edgar
Needless to say, the ensuing adventure finds Ella falling in
love with the prince, while also exposing the evil and corruption
that is rife throughout the kingdom.
Ella Enchanted is designed as a 21st
Century take on the fairytale genre and comes packed with magic
and music, ogres and elves, giants and wicked stepsisters, as
well as some contemporary humour to boot.
Yet as enjoyable as it is for young children, the film cannot
escape comparisons with better films in the genre - most notably
Shrek, which follows a similar, smarter path thanks to its ability
to cater for both the adults and kids alike.
Ella, while sweet and good-natured, seems to be trying too hard
to make everything perfect, especially when tackling issues such
as racism and persecution, which don't really sit well with the
general tone of the film.
Hathaway does, however, provide an endearing guide, proving much
more likeable than she did in The Princess
Diaries 2, and several of her companions (most notably McArdle
and Minnie Driver's fairy) add some nice touches of humour whenever
they are around.
Director, Tommy O’Haver, also keeps things lively, packing
his film with some nice visual moments, which do much to keep
the kids enthralled - for anyone who relished the childhood charm
of first watching The Wizard of Oz or The Princess Bride there
is much to admire.
Yet for all of its enthusiasm, Ella Enchanted falls short of
achieving the feel-good factor of many of the films it is trying
to imitate and is neither as enchanting, nor as memorable, as
it would probably wish to be.