Saturday, April 17, 2010


Giselle is beautiful, with masses of red hair, and lives in a tree house which her animal friends are happy to assist her in maintaining, at least until the man of her dreams appears in her life, as she is sure he will.  Edward is a handsome prince whose main pastime is troll hunting, but who is beginning to feel something is missing from his life.  Both of them tend to burst into song quite a lot.  When Giselle literally falls into Edward's arms, they immediately agree to get married the very next day, because we are not just in Disney Land or Disney World, kiddies, this is the Disney Universe, beautifully rendered in the kind of 2D hand-drawn animation that not even Disney does much any more.

The obligatory evil queen/witch is Edward's stepmother, who fears being deposed if Edward marries.  So she pushes Giselle down a magic well, and Giselle, now played by Amy Adams, emerges from a manhole in Times Square in her ridiculously poofy wedding dress.  Robert, the cynical (or realistic, if you like) divorce lawyer whose young daughter demands that he rescue the princess in distress, thinks she escaped from a Hallmark card, which is not far wrong.  Luckily one of Giselle's friends (a chipmunk) witnessed her fall into the well, so before long Prince Edward and Pip the chipmunk also burst out of the manhole in search of her.  Queen Nerissa can't have that, so she sends a henchman to sabotage any attempt at rescue, and later follows herself to make sure the job is done right.

I really liked this movie.  I am, of course, susceptible to fairy tales, and make no mistake: this is an affectionate sendup of all the Disney classics--pay attention to who's on the screen when you hear snatches of other cartoon soundtracks!--but it is a fairy tale in its own right, not a subversion of the genre.  I saw it with my friends the Brit and the Frenchwoman earlier this month, and the Brit was kind of disappointed in the conventionality of the happy ending (and I'm not giving anything away here, because come on, it's Disney); she liked Robert the lawyer's early attempts to protect his daughter from fairy tale expectations.

I never had any illusions that Prince Charming was coming for me on a white horse, even as a kid.  But I do like a movie with a happy ending.

Originally posted at MySpace 12/24/07

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