We have seen some movies about characters from parallel worlds coming to our own before, but this the first one to use the classic animated fairytale world. Sure there was The Purple Rose of Cairo, back in the 80s which featured an adventurer from a 1930s movie serial, and a similar mini-series, The Tenth Kingdom, brought characters from a fairytale land to New York, as what has happened in Enchanted. Even Tin Man brought people over from Oz to collect the story’s main protagonist. Those two stories were far more serious and a bit more mature than this one. Hey, it’s a Disney family movie, and it brings the two classic Disney formulas together beautifully!
At the beginning of our story, we find a fiery-haired maiden living alone in a forest in the kingdom of Andalasia, surrounded by her talking animal friends, singing and playing together as they do household chores. Giselle (Amy Adams) is dreaming of her true love’s first kiss, when her voice is heard by Prince Edward (James Marsden) as he is out riding through the kingdom with his companion, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall). He is entranced by the lovely sound, and even more amazed by the young lady whom the voice belongs to. They fall in love at first sight, and agree to be married the next day.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel reports this to his true boss, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), the prince’s stepmother and kingdom regent. She has been doing her best all these years to keep her throne, and will lose it if Edward marries. She is bound to stop the wedding, and works her evil magic immediately. As Giselle comes to the castle to meet her groom, she is confronted by an old crone in the garden, offering up magickal wishes from an enchanted fountain for a perfect wedding day. She takes Giselle to the fountain, and pushes her in. After lots of sparkles, glittering lights and flashes, Giselle finds herself in a dark place with a round thing on the ground in underneath her with a light coming through it. She moves the thing, which happens to be a manhole cover, and emerges in New York’s Times Square. Thus begins a very bad day of misadventures for the soon to be princess of Andalasia. After being drenched in a storm, and still dressed in her fairytale wedding gown, she sees a castle on a billboard, and thinks it might be the way home. She climbs up to the castle, and is spotted by Morgan (Rachel Covey) and Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey).
A little history about Robert and Morgan. He is a divorced father raising a young girl on his own. She dreams of princesses and fairytales, like most young girls do. Robert wants her to take a more practical approach to life, and stop dreaming of magickal kingdoms. He wants her to look to real-life strong women like Marie Curie and Rosa Parks as role models. That pretty much ends when Robert rescues Giselle from her doom after slipping from the billboard. They take the drenched Giselle home to clean up and dry off. Morgan is excited that a real princess is living in her home, but Robert won’t have this illogical, and very strange woman staying there.
Giselle’s animal magick still works in New York, and she calls on the street creatures to help her in cleaning up the apartment. Robert also has a girlfriend, Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel) whom he has been dating for years. He is ready to settle down with Nancy, but Giselle has messed this up with her bright presence.
Meanwhile, in Andalasia, Edward has set off to find Giselle, along with Giselle’s chipmunk friend, Pip, and soon comes to Times Square, and is soon on the search for Giselle and stirring up lots of culture shock. Queen Narissa has sent Nathaniel after them to stop Edward from finding her and just to make sure the job is done right, she also gives him three poison apples. Later on, these apples end up in some pretty strange places.
This clash of animated fairytale and modern New York comes together well, and makes for one great romantic comedy that even the kids can enjoy. Even if your boys watch and complain about the “mushy girl stuff”, they might become silent and keep watching or will laugh along with you, and if you find their eyes are a little glazed over at the end, that is just some awesome leaking out.
I give this film a Musing review of