Released: November 21, 2007
|by Dan Goldwasser
on March 12th, 2008
One of the sleeper hits of 2007 was the Disney romantic comedy Enchanted. Directed by Kevin Lima (Tarzan), the film took the classic Disney princess movie formula and threw it on its head. Satirical and yet effectively emotional, Enchanted starts out in the animated world where Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is wishing for her true love. Enter Prince Edward (James Marsden), an over-confident man who rescues Giselle from an ogre and then immediately plans to marry her. But that would spoil the plans of his mother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) who wants to hold onto the throne - so she tricks Giselle (when disguised as an old crone) and pushes her into a wishing well where she falls into our world.
Trapped in New York City, Giselle is lost, scared and confused, and way out of her league. She ends up being 'rescued' by Robert (Patrick Dempsey) a lawyer with a young daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey), who is currently planning on proposing to his girlfriend Nancy (Samantha Ivers). Convinced that Giselle is just mentally unstable, Robert wants her out of his apartment as soon as possible - and Giselle just wants to return to her prince. But getting rid of Giselle proves difficult, as her fairybook ways start to clash with the modern city - especially when Edward comes to New York to find her, along with Giselle's chipmunk friend, Pip. Now with three fairytale characters running amuck in the Big Apple and trying to find each other, Narissa decides to step in by sending her loyal henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) to dispatch of Giselle once and for all. But things don't go exactly as planned, and soon Narissa herself needs to come to town to do the job - but it's possible that the modern world might just take care of the issue in the end.
Enchanted is a delightful film that pokes fun at many Disney animated movie conventions, and at the same time provides a touching romantic story. Like most Disney animated films, this one is a musical as well, with a slew of songs (three of them Oscar-nominated), all written by modern Disney juggernauts Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz (who have twelve Academy Awards between them)! Released on Blu-ray disc, the film has a number of behind-the-scene extras for people interested in the making of the film, as well as stuff for the kids.
The film transfer on Blu-ray is very clean. The opening animated sequence is presented in a window-boxed 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and then the remainder of the feature is shown in anamorphic 2.35:1. The opening sequence is as crisp as it comes - not a hint of artifacts, and solid colors. The live-action sequences in the film - especially the daylight scenes - have a slightly brighter contrast than what looks natural, and so while it's a nicely saturated image, it just feels a bit too processed to feel completely real. But it should be said, that's also how I recall it being in theaters. Otherwise, it's a spot-on transfer.
The audio is presented in English Dolby TrueHD, and English/French/Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. It's a rather discrete sound mix, with dialogue crisply centered and music and sound effects coming from all sides. The musical numbers - especially "How Do You Know" - are very enjoyable experiences.
The extras on the disc are pretty standard. A short (2-minute) blooper reel shows some flubbed lines and people giggling (HD), and six deleted scenes (totaling 8-minutes) with Kevin Lima introductions (16x9 SD). "Fantasy Comes to Life" (HD) is comprised of three behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus on different aspects of production by looking at specific sequences from the film: "Happy Working Song" looks at the music and animal wranglers and visual effects to accomplish that sequence; "That's How You Know" looks at choreography and the logistics of shooting in Central Park; "A Blast at the Ball" looks at visual effects and stunt work for the climactic ending of the film.
Also included is a short film, "Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure" (HD), which is basically a 5.5-minute CG-animated sequel to the film. It's cute and features narration as we fly through a virtual pop-up book- definitely for the kids. The Carrie Underwood music video for the end title song "Ever, Ever After" (SD) is also included. Finally, the Blu-ray exclusive extra "The D-Files" is presented. Unlike other review sites that simply dismiss this as a children's trivia game, this is actually a feature-long multiple choice game that allows you to view approx. 50 HD video segments showing the influence of Disney animated classics on Enchanted, as you gain points for guessing the correct answer to questions. In these video segments we have Kevin Lima and other cast and crew members talking about specific sequences, and how they might reference a sequence in a classic animated film. Some of these focus on character design, costumes, visual effects, makeup, music and more. They're all in HD, and it's interesting to note that all of the reference footage is in HD as well - so while segments from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves looks very good, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin look downright stunning. All of this culminates in unlocking three more behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus on the music score, music video and more. If you got any questions wrong along the way, they do allow you to view any segments you missed at the end of the film with a menu - but you have to play the game all over again if you want to get to that point. It's kinda frustrating in that regard (there should be a backdoor to the extras) especially since there is literally about 30-40 minutes of additional behind-the-scenes stuff that you might be missing out on.
There is no theatrical trailer or commentary, so I wonder if there might be a slightly larger "special edition" of Enchanted down the road. Still, this is actually a pretty solid package, and with a very enjoyable film and crisp transfer and sound, it's definitely one for the whole family to enjoy.
|by Dan Goldwasser
on November 20th, 2007
The last Alan Menken Disney musical was Home on the Range, a film I admittedly didn't see. However, his past collaborations with lyricist Stephen Schwartz have been rather fruitful. So it was with some anticipation that I saw Enchanted, the romantic comedy from Disney that not only pokes fun at what a "Disney movie" is, but also branches between animation and live-action. After being "rescued" by Prince Edward (James Marsden), Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) plans to get married - after only one day. Sensing a threat to her throne, the evil step-mother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) banishes her into the "real world" - where her fairy tale mindset is in sharp contrast to the bustling and grimy New York City surrounding her. Taken in by compassionate mediator Robert (Patrick Dempsey), he and his daughter initially think Giselle is crazy - but soon come to realize that she might indeed be telling the truth about who she is. As she waits for Edward to rescue her, Robert helps acclimate her to the real world - but at the same time, Giselle helps open up Robert's eyes to the possibility that there is more in this world than what is just in front of you. Of course, Narissa won't have any of that, and dispatches her trusty henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) to eliminate Giselle with a poisoned apple.
Structured as a straightforward romantic comedy, the tongue-in-cheek references to Disney films and fairy tale conventions are quite effective. In the beginning. there are the woodland creature friends who aide Giselle - but in NY, there are only pigeons, sewer rats and cockroaches. People burst into song to express their feelings (which they wear on their sleeves), and it's there that Menken and Schwartz deliver the goods. The songs are catchy, and in the classic Disney style. The score is big and epic, and Menken delivers a solid effort. Directed by Kevin Lima (Tarzan), the film moves at a good pace, delivers fun sequences, and has a great soundtrack. It's truly fun for the whole family.
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