Kevin Lima and Adam Shankman direct Amy Adams , Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Idina Menzel and Maya Rudolph in this fantasy musical romcom series where an animated Disney Princess comes to life and hits the streets of New York.
There’s a perfect overhead shot near the start of the original Enchanted. Giselle – stuck in a massive, impractical meringue of a fairy tale wedding dress – is forced down into a Time Square subway by the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, only to re-emerge dishevelled and transported, shell shocked, up into another borough without a noticeable edit. A family movie doesn’t need this level of sweep. But every element of Enchanted is just that setting better than it needs to be. Especially Amy Adams, who hits every song, joke and sexy naïf moment with aplomb. She’s the best fish-out-of-water to lose it in the Big Apple since Mick Dundee. In a strange way this could easily have been the last great blockbuster of the Eighties. It just arrived a couple of decades late. The movie was a deserved sleeper smash and landed her swiftly on the A-List.
15 years is probably far too long to wait to reheat what worked. Though you can completely understand why they have returned to the well for Disenchanted. The overly fussy plot takes 50 minutes to get to the central hook (Giselle makes a bad wish that threatens both worlds, and is slowly turning her into an evil stepmother). There’s only one good song. Amy Adams is lit rather tragically rather than just accepting her natural mature beauty. The jokes aren’t really there. It looks flat, washed out, uninspired. At least Idina gets a tune this time.
Neither film in the series are perfect. The finales feel perfunctory – never fully exploiting their well cast and strongly established villains. You always crave a little more time in the perfectly animated Andalasia (which looks more Don Bluth than Disney Renaissance). Dempsey is a creaky himbo romantic interest. Yet what the first movie had was eager charm, the second one certainly feels more craven. We come to these films to see magic and romance triumph. Not algorithms and contract fulfilments.
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