Ella Enchanted

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A wild ride of a Cinderella story, Ella Enchanted is based on the book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella of Frell (Anne Hathaway) is a free-thinking teen that was placed under a curse to be obedient. In the town of Frell, there are fairies that bestow gifts on infants. When Ella was a baby, an arrogant fairy, Lucinda (Vivica Fox) was about to give Ella her magical gift when Ella started raising a fit. Lucinda said that Ella was not very well behaved, and Lucinda gave her the “gift” of obedience. The poor kid was now forever bound to do anything she was told to do. After some protest by Ella’s mother (Donna Dent), and their household fairy, Mandy (Minnie Driver), Lucinda informs that she has a no-return policy on gifts. Ella grows up having to deal with the curse, but still remains loyal to her own ideas about how things should be, and sometimes turns her curse around to her own benefit.

When Ella is around twelve, her mother dies, and tells her that the only people that know of the curse are Ella, her mother, and Mandy. Not even Ella’s father, Sir Peter (Patrick Bergin) knows, and her mother tells her to never tell anyone about the curse, because it can be used against her. Ella’s mother passes on, and Sir Peter remarries several years later. Even though he has a title, he is a poor and proud knight. Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley) is a haughty woman with means, and two unusual daughters. Hattie (Lucy Punch) is just arrogant as her mother. Olive (Jennifer Higham) is odd and giggly. Ella does her best to put up with her new family, but finds it difficult. Even at a mall opening, when she goes to protest the current royal policies along with her foreign friend, Areida (Parminder Nagra), Hattie is there, but this mall opening is where things turn around for Ella. She if forced by Hattie to do something terrible because of the curse, and decides to hunt down Lucinda to lift the curse. Ella receives a gift from Mandy to help her in her search. Mandy gives her a talking book. Mandy’s boyfriend, Benny (Jimi Mistry) is trapped in the magical book, the result of a spell gone askew.

The royal regent, Edgar (Cary Elwes), and the crown prince, Charmond (Hugh Dancy) are there for the celebration, and the prince’s fanclub chases him out of the mall. He meets Ella on the road while trying to escape from the boy-crazy teen girls. After a chat with her, he finds her refreshing, even though it seems she does not like him. What happens later will bring Ella and Char together and apart several times, and Ella will meet with lots of new friends of different species along the way. She meets a disgruntled elf, oppressed giants, confused ogres, and an enchanted snake that spies for Edgar. It is fitting that the ruling town of this kingdom is called Lamia, because there are snakes everywhere in the decor. This is a fun movie with great classic rock music, and a basic fairytale theme used in a new and creative way. You never really get tired of it, and all those little princesses in your family will love it, but it’s great for everyone.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆