Enchanted - Princess No More
| Walt Disney has had great success before mixing animation and live action. Mary Poppins and Roger Rabbit are artistic masterpieces. However they have also produced fairly average fair such as Pete’s Dragon and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Their latest attempt, Enchanted rises above the mediocrity but doesn’t reach the heights of the masterpieces.
In Enchanted, Disney takes a winking poke at itself and all the conventions of American animation. It’s all quite cute but hardly revolutionary. Dreamworks beat them to it with their Shrek series and Enchanted doesn’t break any new ground. Both of these films rely on fairly common clichés. Oh look, isn't it funny that they are all singing and dancing. Ha, ha, the little animals are helping her clean the house. Hilarious (insert sarcastic tone here). We've seen all this before and it's not that clever. However, near the end Enchanted starts into a new direction, one that Shrek, in all its irreverent mockery, never dares go.
Enchanted saves itself by getting beyond just spoofing the typical conceits. It starts to question the underlying assumptions of the “happily ever after.” Suddenly we are asking ourselves what the goal of the supposed princess should be. By the end we see the heroine reject the fairytale ending that she is supposed to pursue at all costs for her own business and we get to see her grab the sword and rescue the knight in distress by slaying the evil beast.
By twisting the ending and our assumptions about children’s stories, Enchanted becomes more than just another post-modern fairytale redux. However, it still remains fairly common with its pedestrian story and lackluster art direction. It doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the studio’s previous “fusion” efforts. Still, there is an important message for little girls out there in the audience, that they can be their own heroes and don’t need to wait for prince charming to rescue them.