Watched Aug 09, 2012
I'm going to have to rewatch this one to be sure of my rating. Both of the most recent Amy Adams films that I've watched have given me this problem. This and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day are delightful films that I loved for most of their running times. In both cases they have rather silly endings that taint the greatness that came before it. I gave Miss Pettigrew three stars. I'll have to watch it again to be sure. This time I'll split the difference and give Enchanted a four star. It's lows are lower than in Miss Pettigrew but it's highs are higher.
This is simply delightful. It's a fascinating self-deconstruction of Disney that rather brilliantly validates the Disney Princess fairy tale in the modern world while appearing to address the now common critique of it. The movie begins with ten minutes of gorgeous animation that is, along with The Princess and the Frog, some of the very best stuff Disney Animation has down in the past fifteen years. Then we're brought to the real world and I was quite pleased to find that it was just as good.
Amy Adams is lovely - possibly my favourite modern female star. She's as fine her as always, giving a truly great screwball performance in a movie that is wonderful and truly funny. The movie is wholesome but it's charmingly so and no less funny for it. Patrick Dempsey is fine and nothing more. He's never really developed into a great screen presence for me. James Marsden fits perfectly into his role as the perfect prince. Susan Sarandon has fun but works better in animated form while Timothy Spall is great giving a very fun, impressively diverse performance.
The direction by Kevin Lima is quite fine. Technically the film is very well made. The song sequences are especially impressive with the one in Central Park standing out as the musical highlight. Kevin Lima is not a good filmmaker in my mind. His films include 102 Dalmatians and A Goofy Movie. But he's not bad. And with Enchanted still his most recent movie there's hope that he could become a genuine talent.
Truly this feels like great family entertainment that's exciting and inventive that comes leaping out from a seemingly by-gone era. This is one of those rare great films that works as comedy and drama and thriller and romance and fantasy, all the while being suitable for the whole family and loaded with great songs and colourful characters you care for.
But perhaps the dream really was too good to be true because then the ending came. The film ends as you know it will. It's a bit contrived but it's still very good. But then they tack on another unnecessary finale - looking for a big climactic ending. I appreciated what they were trying to do but they didn't execute it well at all. Visually this second climax doesn't look very good and in general it's unnecessary. The final ending which wraps up all the plot-lines is ruined by the presence of an obnoxious, bad 'Modern Tween Pop' song by Carrie Underwood. In general I also felt that one of the plot lines doesn't end very well ideologically. The movie also endorses the world of shopping and fashion a bit too much for my tastes.
Still, having said all that this movie for 95% of its running time was truly great entertainment and I had a big smile on my face for most of that time. The critic in me feels like I should give it a 3. After all, I greatly enjoyed Iron Man 2 and still punished it for a bad climax. However, every time I lower this to a 3 I can't help but feel like that's wrong. A rating is supposed to summarize what I'd say about a movie. I'd say Iron Man 2 is quite good (although a lot of people disagree, I know). I'd say Bye Bye Birdie, which I just watched, is fully great. With Enchanted I'd say "It's great but...". Still, that doesn't change the fact that I'd say it's great.