It’s to the shame of this writer, a paid-up classic Disney animation devotee, that Enchanted completely passed him by at the movies. And that’s because, with reservations, it’s a real treat, harking not just back to some of the Disney values of old, but also showing a modern day ability to wink at the audience.
It’s a marriage of live action and traditional hand drawn animation (and isn’t it great to see the latter back in a mainstream release?), telling the story of a stereotypical Disney princess, Giselle, who’s about to marry a stereotypical Disney prince, until a Disney villain manages to send them into the middle of modern day New York. And in the tradition of the underrated Brady Bunch movies of the 90s, it then becomes a fun fish out of water story, as Giselle brings her naïve innocence to the midst of a contemporary big city, Disney-style.
Referencing a number of Disney classics of old, Enchanted also has a trump card that lifts it further: Amy Adams. We first saw her in the excellent indie movie Junebug, but here’s her star-making turn. Perfectly balancing the need for reverence, humour, likeability and fun, Adams’ Giselle is brilliant, whether misunderstanding the modern world, or launching into one of the impressive musical numbers that scatter the song.
It’s not a perfect film though, sadly. Much though it manages to tick the boxes of various Disney trademark feature films, it does mess up one of the big ones: a good villain. Susan Sarandon, as the evil Narissa, is in excellent form, but she gets so little screen time that there’s no space for her to be particularly sinister. It’s a sizeable misjudgement, that leaves Adams and co without anything to really push against.
But still, Enchanted is a hoot, and we can only hope it gets Disney back into the swing of the strength of family entertainment it was once renowned for, without having to rely on the Pixar guys (Meet The Robinsons was a further step in the right direction). And, also on the plus side, it’s not got any sign of High School Musical anywhere near it. Hurray!
The high definition transfer looks as radiant as the film. You’d expect that of the animated segments (and it’s great to see Disney doing hand drawn work again), but the bright and colour live action also enjoys its time on a 1080p display. Backed with a vibrant, broad audio mix, that shines particularly in the musical numbers, there’s no let down on the high definition elements here.
Extras-wise, there’s not too much to get excited about, although the Blu-ray exclusive game is at least worth having a play with. The rest of the extras don’t dig into the questions worth investigating though, such as the fusing of the live action and animated elements, the decision to rely so much on hand drawn animation, and the careful tongue-in-cheek leg-pulls aimed at the Disney universe. Instead, a smattering of generally vacuous filler featurettes take the bulk of the work, although the deleted scenes aren’t too bad.
There’s, at some point in the future, a stronger collectors’ edition of Enchanted surely likely to hit the shelves. For now, the strength of the film and high definition elements make it a warm recommendation anyway. Enough of the truckload of ads at the start of the disc though, eh?The Film The Extras