Saturday, November 21, 2009

“Enchanted” – A throwback to old school talent.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m married and we take turns picking our movies on Netflix. I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t want to see “Enchanted.” For one, it’s a nice break from all of the action and horror movies I’ve been watching. Second, I have some attachment to Amy Adams, as she graduated from the same high school as me. I also think she’s a good actor. All that aside, “Enchanted” also received a lot of great reviews, so it was hard to come into this movie with much skepticism. I actually found myself hoping that it wouldn’t suck, so I wouldn’t wish I had those two hours back.

“Enchanted” is Disney’s latest film and not a PIXAR film. It’s kind of relieving to get a film that’s a throwback to the old days of Disney, where they mixed animation with live actors. In this film, Giselle (Adams) is set to marry Prince Edward (James Maarsden) in the land of Andalasia. Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) will lose control of the kingdom if the prince marries his true love, so she sends Giselle to the real world, landing her in the middle of New York City. This is the point in which the movie really takes off. I’m sure actors would tell me how difficult it is to do voice-overs, but I’m going to stick with my opinion of a voice-over being a walk in the park. Once the characters cross into the real world, the actors are forced to act. What’s more, they have to act like cartoon characters in the real world. I believe this actually is difficult and takes quite a bit of skill.

The rest of the plot is very typical of a Disney film. Giselle meets Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce attorney. She is rescued from the streets by Philip and his daughter and he gives her a temporary place to stay. Meanwhile, Prince Edward jumps through the portal to New York to find her and Narissa sends her lackey to get to Giselle first. I could go on, but if you can’t guess where this one is going, you probably believe Neverland is real. I’d like to get back to the acting, as that is what makes this movie stand out.

Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress and the fact that she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar is further proof that the Academy is filled with snooty members who hate the fact that they can’t make movies or be in them. Throughout the entire film, Adams kept her performance flawless, even down to the way she held her hands and twiddled her fingers. She also proved, along with Dempsey and Maarsden, that she is a very good singer. They all had several numbers during the film, which made it even more enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, just when you thought you were watching one of the best films of the last ten years, Susan Sarandon showed up. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to cast her in this movie, but that person should never be allowed to work in Hollywood again. Sarandon was awful as Queen Narissa, especially in the real world. Her makeup and costume were especially hideous and we were all glad that in Disney movies, the witch usually dies. She accomplished the opposite of the rest of the cast, proving that her acting abilities are nowhere near what they used to be or on par with the rest of this cast. Gratefully, Adams was so good that she overshadowed Sarandon’s slop and kept this movie from being a waste of time.

I recommend you see this film, if you haven’t already, even if you don’t have kids. It’s abundantly clear that with the exception of Sarandon, all of the actors were clearly enjoying themselves. We can only hope that Adams continues to land roles in which she is allowed to stand out and is not playing second fiddle to a larger star. And if you don’t care about acting, this film is worth watching to see how Giselle gets her other outfits and how she cleans Dempsey’s apartment. Now, I’ve got to go catch another zombie flick.

Rating: Worth your time and money. Just remember to keep your singing to a minimum.

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