I went to see Enchanted, the new Disney movie, in theaters. Now, I had heard interesting things about it and wanted to see what the talk was about (No, I don’t mean Doctor McDreamy Patrick Dempsey). I had heard that it was a Disney movie making fun of Disney movies. Now as I am always for self-deprecation humor, I thought it might be fun. Either I vastly over-estimated Disney or Disney vastly under-estimated itself.
You see, the idea of Enchanted was to make fun of all of the over-the-top song and dance Disney movies. It partially succeeded. The movie was about a cartoon princess, Giselle, who falls from a tree, directly into the arms of a prince, and they fall instantly in love. However, to not lose her crown, the evil Queen Narissa (apparently all queens come with requisite magical powers) sent her down a magic well into the real world.
She bumbles around New York City for the day, gets her tiara stolen by a homeless man, and finally falls off a billboard onto the face of Robert (Patrick Dempsey) who is baffled by exactly why a woman in a princess gown was on a billboard. But his daughter persuades him to bring Giselle back to their apartment. After she falls asleep on the couch he allows her to stay. This leads to a scene where Robert’s girlfriend catches Giselle in a towel and gets angry, but don’t worry, Robert makes it up to her by getting tickets to a ball in the Chrysler Building.
When she wakes up in the morning she makes a dress out of their curtains, she sings a song to coax pigeons, rats, flies, and roaches into cleaning the apartment. It is one of many parodies. When Robert sees this he tries to abandon her in the park, but he just can’t, so they take a walk and talk about love. They talk about how in the fairytales it is possible to fall in love at a glance, but in the real world that isn’t how it works. Then there is another ridiculous dance number, Disney tries to make fun of itself again, and back to the cartoon we go.
The Prince decides to go after her, and so does his loyal sidekick, who is actually working for the queen. Not to mention a fat chipmunk who can talk in the cartoon world but not in the real one (because chipmunks can’t talk in the real world). While the Prince searches, the servant tries to kill Giselle using various different forms of a poisoned apple.
Eventually the Prince finds his lady, who continues to make dresses out of curtains, but by this time she has learned what a “date” is and how to fall in real world love, and she has…with Robert (remember, Robert has a girlfriend). She tells the Prince that, before they go back to the cartoon, she would like to go on a date which ends, as you might expect, at the same ball Robert is at. After some dancing and a loving moment between Robert and Giselle the Queen, who has come to the real world to kill Giselle. She feeds Giselle a poisoned apple and she falls over.
The Prince realizes the only way for Giselle to be saved is for her to get loves kiss. He tries and she stays dead. After a brief argument, Robert’s girlfriend tells him to go ahead and kiss her. He does, and she lives, but the Queen turns into a giant dragon and grabs Robert. The takes him to the top of the building, but Disney changes it up one more time and has Giselle pick up a sword and go after the dragon to save her man. She does, and they have a lovely kiss on the roof. The prince runs away with Roberts’ girlfriend and they all live happily ever after.
Now it sounds like a fairly innocent movie, right? But my complaint is that, along with mediocre acting and out of place dance numbers seemingly thrown haphazardly into the movie simply for the parody value, I don’t think they understand just how cheesy Disney movies usually are. I mean come on, if you really want to parody it you have to do more than have Giselle’s crown stolen by a homeless guy. She has to be part of a drive by. She needs to get mugged. I swear I was sitting in the theater waiting for her to get knifed. See that would be a good parody.
But with a parody you have to follow through with it, and clearly this movie did not. The last half of the movie was not parody. It was back to the old Disney where they all find true love in the end. It was like a cartoon without the cartoon. It was the same movie they’ve made every year for the past forever, and it did just what I expected to. It made me want to reach over and choke the person that brought me.