Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Three by Three

Three things I liked about Enchanted.
  • The score and songs. Alan Menken is by now easily the most important tunesmith Disney has ever hired, the ubiquity of "When You Wish Upon a Star" in Disney marketing be damned. His return here to writing pretty and witty vivacious melodies for oversized Disney characters is beyond welcome - it's inspired. The awe-inspiring catchiness of the steel drum-inflected "How Does She Know?" is remarkable, but just as welcome, and less remarked upon, is his big, swooning scoring, which does just as much heavy lifting as the songs. And there are lots of great homages to classic Disney melodies (including some of his own) sprinkled throughout.
  • Amy Adams. She's pretty much perfect as a one-dimensional cartoon character who gradually throughout the course of the film discovers and blossoms into new emotions. Completely un-self-conscious, beautiful, and possessed of magical timing, she's a treat.
  • The way the film has its cake and eats it too - both mocking and celebrating all the big Disney princess, fairy-tale cliches the studio has made such hay of over the years. That it's Giselle who saves the man, and not the man saving the woman, at the end comes across not as forced feminist girl-empowering role reversal, but as fully a earned natural movement of the story.

Three things I did not like about Enchanted.

  • The lack of screen and story time given to the Patrick Dempsey character's girlfriend. I like that she wasn't the typical shrew, horrible woman second fiddle character (although the kind significant other that steps aside when the lead of the film finds true love with another is rapidly becoming a stock device of its own - one Dempsey was on the other side of in Sweet Home Alabama), but a good decent woman in her own right, but wish we knew her better - it would have made her getting the prince at the end all the more fitting.
  • The move to New York feels rushed and forced - Giselle is just kind of pushed down a magic well, and we really don't get a good sense of the Queen or her motives.
  • The chipmunk's thick Joe Pesci-esque accent. Jarring and out of place.

Until Whenever

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