Watching Ella Enchanted, as silly as it is, it is easy to see how great an actress Anne Hathaway would become. And besides being a great early performance from the actress, it’s a pretty fun film too.
In a classic fantasy realm Ella (Hathaway) could have had a pretty easy life, but unlucky for her she turned out to have a pretty crummy fairy Godmother, Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). Lucinda gives Ella the gift of obedience when she is born, so she must do whatever anyone else tells her. Her mother does a pretty good job of hiding this fact from the rest of the world while she’s growing up. However her mom dies and her dad remarries and now she’s stuck with an evil step-mother (Joanna Lumley) and two evil step sisters. One of the step-sisters, Hattie (Lucy Punch), figures out Ella’s gift/curse and begins to abuse it.
However, not all is lost for Ella. She meets the Prince Char (Hugh Dancy) who isn’t as mean as everyone thinks he is, he’s actually kind of nice and oblivious to all the horrible things his uncle the king (Cary Elwes) has been up to. When Hattie pushes Ella too far she sets off on a quest to find her fairy Godmother and get the her gift reversed.
Ella and Char have quite the exciting, if not very silly, adventures, meets some friends along the way and grow as people and all that. It’s a pretty standard story with some goofy humor thrown in, often poking fun at the fantasy genre.
It’s the caliber of acting that really makes this film more entertaining than it really has any right to be. Along with the above actors, it also features Eric Idle, Minnie Driver, Steve Coogan and others. Hathaway really sells her character and situation and it’s a lot of fun seeing Elwes go from being the Princess Bride to playing the villain this time.
The film uses a lot of modern movie it in, which is odd to see in a fantasy film like this, and while it annoyed me, I guess it might work for some. But those scenes really took me out of the film. This film is certainly a kids film and I guess the kids might like this kind of music, but the adults? Not so much. Luckily the music doesn’t overpower the film and despite this setback still manages to be a fun and entertaining film.
This film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Some of the computer special effects are pretty dated in this film, but that also kind of adds to part of its charm. It’s a very good transfer and looks and sounds as good as one could hope.
Commentary: with director Tommy O’Haver, Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. This is a pretty fun commentary. You can tell they are having a blast revisiting the film and they provide some fun behind the scenes tidbits. Deleted Scenes: (9 min.) Available with optional commentary, some of these are actually kind of funny. Extended Scenes: (5 min.) These scenes are okay, not as good as the deleted scenes. The Magical World of Ella Enchanted: (28 min.) A pretty typical making of. Spends a lot of time talking about the crappy music throughout the film. Red Carpet Premiere Special: (23 min.) Kinda the same as the other behind the scenes, but hosted by the singers on the album, so it’s even more annoying. Music Video “It’s Not Just Make Believe” by Kari Kimmel: (3 min.) A really terrible song.
I wouldn’t call Ella Enchanted a great film, but I expected to hate it and I didn’t and that came as quite a shock. It’s actually pretty funny. I can see why kids would really dig this film and parents might actually enjoy it too.
Miramax and Lionsgate present Ella Enchanted. Written by: Laurie Craig, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith, Jennifer Heath and Michele J. Wolff. Based on the book by Gail Carson Levine. Directed by: Tommy O’Haver. Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle, Joanna Lumley and Lucy Punch. Running time: 96 minutes. Rating: PG. Released: October 16, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Lucy Punch, Minnie Driver