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I had so much fun watching this movie, a piece of light hearted fun
that everyone can enjoy. *If* they remember the opening lines of the
movie; this is a fairytale. And is therefore not to be taken seriously,
it should be watched for the pure enjoyment of getting away from the
I have seen this movie twice and both times the audience was literally buoyed by the fun of the movie, though I must say the best parts and lines come from Uncle Edgar(a deliciously evil Cary Elwes) and Heston the snake(the slimy voice of Steve Coogan is wonderful). That is not to say that the two leads(Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy) are not bright and funny in their parts, they are. Only that the wonderful and memorable lines come mainly from the more evil characters.
Joanna Lumley (as the evil Dame Olga) and Minnie Driver(one of her best yet, possibly only beaten by her surprisingly good turn in "Phantom of the Opera") are also great in their minor roles, providing colorful characters and not just filling in screen time. Aidan McArdle(Slannen the Elf) is wonderful comic relief each and every time he appears, as is Lucy Punch as the horrid Step-Sister and chief fan-girl(shudder). Eric Idle, Jeniffer Higham, Jimi Mistry and Parminder Nagra are also memorable, particularly Jimi as Benny, Eric as the Narrator and Parminder as Ella's best friend, though I think Parminder's talents are woefully under recognized in this film and I would love to see her in more main roles like in "Bend it like Beckham".
But I digress.
Hopefully those watching this movie will remember the fun it is supposed to be and not fall into the trap of over analyzing this piece of light-hearted happiness.
Boy, I'm glad I saw this movie before reading the comments here. I found
this film to be delightfully funny and sweet. sure it's utter predictable
but so what? Yes, in the 'fractured fairy tale' department it's a far cry
from the genius of Princess Bride or Shrek, but it's an entertaining enough
90 minutes. The effects are decent (they can't all be Lord of the Rings
perfect) and I found myself laughing frequently.
I'm certainly glad I was completely unaware that this was based on a book as most of the negative comments here seem to be from people who complain about changes. I can say, that not knowing the original, this story flowed just fine. Certainly, if one were to over-analyze the plot one could come up with innumerable ideas based on the idea 'if she must always obey, why doesn't this happen?' but that's not really the point here is it? it's a fairy tale for young girls. My partner's 18 year old little sister (who made me watch this as I never would have on my own) loved it, and I had to admit that I liked it enough to give it a thumbs up 7 out of 10 rating.
The story of young Ella who was given the gift of obedience is a very
frustrating movie, it should be wild and charming and funny and the best
thing since sliced bread, or if not sliced bread then The Princess Bride,
but some how it doesn't quite work as whole.
The cast is game, the special effects are good and the direction seems to be mostly on target, but somewhere along the way the movie decided to be too hip, too happening, too many things all at once. Its a comedy, fantasy, adventure, musical and a few other things all at the same time. It has timeless humor and humor that is in danger of dating very badly. It feels some times like a TV movie for kids and at other times something that should be on the big screen for everyone. It doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Somehow I think that there were too many people with too many ideas (good ideas) but no one to say too much is a bad thing.
I like this movie a lot, the pieces much more than the whole, but I can't help but wanting to beat up everyone involved in it because this should be so much better.
Six out of ten. Wait for video.
Given the recent success of fantasy movies, it was probably inevitable
that "Ella Enchanted" would get its turn on the silver screen. Like
"Harry Potter," Gail Carson Levine's delightful re-imagining of
Cinderella has been popular with both readers and critics, and contains
plenty of imagination and engaging characters. One only wishes it had
translated to screen better.
Levine comes up with a clever explanation for the reason why Ella (played in the film by Anne Hathaway) must slave for her horrid step-family: at her cradle, a well-meaning but rather dim fairy godmother (Vivica A. Fox) granted her the "gift" of obedience, forcing the poor girl to comply with any direct order regardless of how ridiculous or dangerous. Refusing to be resigned to her lot, Ella sets out to return the unwanted gift--and en route, find romance with Prince Charmont ("Char" for short, played by Hugh Dancy).
Unfortunately, it is here that the similarities to the source material end. In the film, Ella comes off as far less resourceful and clever as she does in the book, and mostly seems to wind up getting into embarrassing or awkward situations through her enforced compliance. Which is a shame, because Hathaway is a vibrant and talented actress who could have easily imbued the character with more spunk had she been called on to do so. It doesn't help that the screenwriters have seen fit to muddy Ella's quest with a standard-issue villain in the form of Char's Claudius-esquire uncle (Cary Elwes, channeling the spirit of Prince Humperdink and accompanied by a very unconvincing CGI snake), and some business about the oppression of the kingdom's non-humans.
Like "Shrek," "Ella Enchanted" takes the fractured fairy-tale route, throwing in sly references and anachronisms at every opportunity. Some of these work (I liked the man-powered escalator in the medieval mall), but more than a few fall flat (mostly Char's squealing fan club, who are perhaps too accurate in their annoying behavior). Hathaway and Dancy play it more or less straight, but everyone else camps it up grandly, especially Elwes. Unfortunately, both Fox and Minnie Driver as Ella's more sensible godmother feel miscast, and Parminder Nagra (the talented star of "Bend it Like Beckham") is virtually wasted as Ella's foreign-born friend.
"Ella Enchanted" is nice enough to sit through--Hathaway's presence keeps things going, and there are enough nice visuals. But in a genre that in the past few years has seen "Harry Potter," "Lord of the Rings," and "Shrek"--with "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" among the films on the horizon--it takes more than nice to distinguish oneself in the field.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Warning--if you have read the book, do not see the movie--you WILL
become violently ill! O'Haver, the director, looked at the story (a
beautiful, classic book by Gail Levine that everyone should read), and
decided that he didn't like the current plot--so he made up a new one,
and still had the gall to say that it was "based" on Levine's
masterpiece of a book (kudos to "I, Robot" for actually being truthful
and honest enough to say that the movie was "inspired" by the
books--it's something for O'Haver to one day aspire to). He also made
up new characters and changed the old characters to fit his new
plot--Char's parents are dead, and there's a new evil uncle (Elwes)
with a cheesy snake servant who is trying to kill Char and take over
the crown--there's also a new elf friend of Ella's who wants to be a
lawyer (can you say Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?), but is forced to
only sing and dance by this new evil and tyrannical uncle created by
O'Haver--ogres are also now not evil, but only "misunderstood"! And
Ella's father is nice and caring, Mandy is no longer her caring,
sensible fairy godmother, but a ditz and a magical klutz, and the
wonderful old-fashioned world created by Levine has been warped and
cheapened by the director so that it's a faux modern world (the modern
costumes add to the cheap and fake look of the film). Overall, the
movie bears little resemblance to the book in anything but the title
and character names, and is the worst adaptation I have ever seen, as
well as a silly and stupid movie in itself. Hathaway does indeed
reprise her role in Princess Diaries (another terrible adaptation with
changed character names, setting, roles, etc, though not as bad as this
one)--to the extent that there's even a debate scene that mirrors the
one in Princess almost exactly (forget finishing school--they have
modern school in the movie!).
In short, don't waste your money on this film--use the money instead to read Ella Enchanted--believe me, you'll get much better and higher quality entertainment this way, for a lesser cost!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you've ever read Ella Enchanted, you will be shocked that a movie
studio couldso thoroughly ruin an excellent story. At it's heart, Ella
Enchanted(the book), is a story of love, frustration, and other human
emotions.Although you may find yourself smiling at times, it is more of
a romantic/angsty fairytale than a comedic fairytale, complete with one
graying fairy godmother, two banister-sliding protagonists, and three
masque balls (excluding Sir Peter's and Dame Olga's wedding reception).
What Ella Enchanted does NOT contain is an evil talking snake. When
Ella finally is able to find the strength to save not only herself, but
Char and the entire kingdom, you are so happy for her that, chances
are, you cry. As a matter of fact, I would say I cried more than I
laughed reading this book.
Watching the movie, I was speechless. It was extremely tacky and went for cheap, easy laughs. At best I can call it a poor imitation of Shrek, except that would be an insult to the highly entertaining Shrek. There is no place in Ella Enchanted for an evil royal uncle and his talking serpent, and definitely no place for a singing Ella, or a dancing cast. (Nor a screaming fan club!). The well-developed character of Areida, which I'm sure Parminder Nagra could have played well, was cut down to a mere cameo.
This movie lacked human emotion. Ella was not nearly as frustrated as any normal person would be at her curse. (Hello? She breaks out in song and dance!) Don't get me started on the range of emotions Areida could have covered. And of course Hattie is way too obnoxious and not nearly as manipulative (read: not obviously annoying, but cruel) as she could have been. If it were one actor's performance I would call it poor acting. In this case, I would have to lay my blame almost entirely on the director and screenwriters. With such promising material, they managed to create an hour and a half of rubbish.
Even the movie's visuals gave it a much more modern feel, with colors too vibrant for any over the age of 4. Half the time I felt like I was watching the Teletubbies. I would say the maximum age that these cheap laughs could amuse is 8 years old.
I read the book when I was probably around 10 or so, and have read it innumerable times since then. It truly appeals to all ages, because, unlike its movie version, it deals with true emotions, not cheap humor and anachronisms, which, honestly, do not add to the story.
In short, forget the movie, read the book!
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it was clever, original and entertaining. The interesting opening scenes were great as they transported you to the fairytale world. I was very happy to see Eric Idle was the narrator and Anne Hathaway was brilliant and instantly likable as Ella, with Hugh Dancy the perfect handsome prince. The Elf (another familiar face- Dudley Moore in 'Not Only But Always') is wonderful as the sidekick. I also thought the story was very good, it was slightly predictable at first, but then there were some interesting twists, where I think the usual fairytale storyline was changed to great effect. The way the Fairytale land echoed aspects of home were amusing, with wooden escalators, taxi carriages In a way, I liked it more than Shrek, because of the fact that it was less 'polished' and maybe more British. I would definitely recommend 'Ella Enchanted' to anyone who wants a fun and entertaining film.
Ella Enchanted, starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Minnie Driver, and Eric
Idle, is a contemporary epic fairy tale, sitting on the top shelf with such
classics as The Wizard of Oz, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
A deeply telling and romantic tale, set in the land of magic, with many important messages, ranging from personal freedom, self empowerment, truth, and equality, to the simple pleasures that create the beautiful contrast of fairy tales, humor, song, beauty, friendship.
A family movie, Ella Enchanted will be enjoyed by adults and children, and is sure to bring a warmth to your heart.
Anne Hathaway steals your heart with her charm, personality, and ability to carry the movie no matter where it leads, with great beauty and skill. The supporting roles are cute, witty, and fill out the movie in all the right places.
This is one for the vaults, and the DVD collection.
It seems that many, many commentators disliked this movie because it wasn't at all like the book. Fair enough, I suppose, but movies seldom are. In any case, I haven't read that book, and was blissfully unaware that this film was supposedly adapted from one. I found it surprisingly cute. Many of the campy things hit the mark, like the "medeival modern" anachronistic setting, reminiscent of The Flintstones cartoon wherein it was filled with modern things constructed from prehistoric materials; and the modern songs transposed to the time setting herein. That last was a bit like Moulin Rouge, which annoyed me at first, but then grew on me. I don't believe that I've seen this Anne Hathaway before, but she is intriguing. Her vivacity and wide smile remind me a bit of Julia Roberts. Can't say that I was much impressed with Hugh Dancy or Aiden McArdle. Minnie Driver was most charming as the incompetent fairy, and Vivica Fox was quite amusing as the lush fairy. It's too bad that Parminder Nagra's part was so small, as she always lights up a screen. And Cary Elwes couldn't hide his amusement with the material as he munched on the scenery. I say check this out, if you aren't going to throw a fit over the book.
This movie was gifted with a spell of fairy tale which was likable. From the beginning Ella Enchanted was good and all thanks to the beautiful Anne Hathaway who seemingly sparkled. Great work of escapism, such that though it's stupidity can be considered, it is shadowed by its modernism and it's attempt to drive the audience into attention by it's sarcastic humor present at certain desirable instances. Anne Hathaway stole the show there seemed to possess an invisible halo on her making her the most preferable Ella. However I did ruminate over the fact that is that all Anne Hathaway can play- this character had almost cloning gestures as her character of Mia in The Princess Diaires so is that how much her talent can expand? Well as for the other cast member - There was a casting perfection as taking into consideration Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver and Vivica Fox, all were matched perfectly to their designated roles. In conclusion I would not suggest this movie to grown ups- as they would certainly NOT enjoy this step out of reality however this would be a great movie for kids and may be pre teenagers and if you are an Anne Hathaway fan like me well than don't miss this.
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