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Enchanted - Film Review

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published December 23rd 2012
An homage to past films

To watch this film is to witness the birth of what was a new art form: we can see how the Soviet innovator Sergei Eisenstein could praise the work as a landmark of cinema." (Matthew Sorrento)

The critique claimed that by taking the stereotypical Disney princess, which our culture has been brought up with ever since Walt Disney's masterpiece Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, (1937) and placing her in the real world brings a new type of film to the screen. Enchanted is, when taken down to its lowest common denominator, a parody of everything that makes up Disney. Though the film took as long as seven years to get approval because of its risqué nature of mocking itself, when it finally did arrive to the screens in 2007 it earned as much as £217.96 487, 260 worldwide, and has even been compared, by critic Peter Travers to one of its sister live-action/animation films Mary Poppins (1964); this has probably got to do with the fact that Julie Andrews provided the voice narration at the beginning of the film.

From a feminist point of view you can see how the film goes through a series of changes as the story progresses, beginning with the a usual fairy tale setting of princess Giselle looking for 'true loves' kiss', with her heroic, masculine hero coming to the rescue. It mocks the 'love at first sight' cliché that has been present with most fairy tales, for example Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, (1937), Cinderella, (1950) The Little Mermaid (1988), and then turns it upside down, when Giselle gets transported to Manhattan and meets Robert, who teaches her how 'most normal people get to know about each other before they get married'. Unlike at the beginning of the movie when Edward, the handsome prince comes to the rescue, Director Kevin Lima creatively manages to create a feminist twist at the end where Giselle rescues Robert from the dragon on top the skyscraper, cinematographer Don Burgess creating a brilliant homage to the film King Kong (1933).

While parodying is an important part of this film, sound is also a critical part of its success, with three Oscar nominations for best original motion picture songs. What makes the songs particularly interesting is that it is often diegetic as the film is also a musical. Not only are the lyrics within the telling of the story, but also the music itself, as proved in the song 'How Does She Know', when the song starts with the Jamaicans playing the Congo drums; the music doesn't just create the atmosphere, but it also progresses the story, something that does not usually occur in films. During this number, there are parallels to The Sound of Music (1965). The similarities are evident when the following scenes are compared: In the scene when Julie Andrews runs out in the field singing 'The Hills are alive with the sound of music' and then with Giselle running out onto the grass of the Central park where the camera zooms in on Giselle from a distance as she runs into the camera.

Although the film is an homage to the past, it stand up well in its own right. It is a film that kids will love, but that adults will equally adore because of all the references to their childhood favourites.
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Why? For the family
When: Anytime
Where: At home
Cost: £6.16 on Amazon
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