I recently watched Disney's new fairy tale spoof, Enchanted. After Shrek my expectations were high. The preview looked funny. I was in the mood for a good time. I wanted to see Susan Sarandon as the evil queen. Sarandon did a pretty good job, by the way. The acting was good. This is a pretty, amusing trifle which reinforces Disney's core values.
Disney mocks it's franchise characters in a toothless way. When the princess, like Snow White, whistles for animals to help her clean a dirty aparment, the New York city wild life come to her call. Pigeons and rats swarm into the apartment to clean the toilet and wash the dishes. Cockroaches swarm out of the drain in formation and clean the bathtub to the the princess's cheerful song. It's the best scene in the film.
The fairy tale premise is simple and effective. The prince falls in love with the heroine but if he marries, his mother, the Queen, will lose her status. To prevent this, the evil queen banishes her potential daughter-in-law to New York City, a place with "no happy endings." One is tempted to point out that in New York, you can pay for those... Ooops, sorry. This is a family film review!
There are some cute jokes. Prince Charming is vain and foolish. He tries to rescue "peasants," (New York commuters) by plunging a sword into the roof of their bus. His encounter with the tough female bus driver is comic, but predictable. There are prat falls and the princess has a cute habit of cutting herself new outfits out of her rescuer's window curtains.
What a rescueer he is. A rich, jaded New York divorce lawyer, he falls in love with the innocent Disney princess. He shows her his world and teaches her that it's nice to date and talk and get to know your true love before you marry. In a parallel development, his long-standing, sensible girlfriend runs off with Prince Charming. She has finally met a man who won't make her wait five years while he decides to commit.
What's wrong with that? Nothing. It's a fairy story with a fairy-tale ending. The heroes are young and pretty. The bad guys are old and ugly. The bus driver is black and the dancers at the ball are rich and pretty. The helpless heroine is sweet and innocent and looks up to her man. There is dancing and music. Why am I the only one bothered that this older man needs an innocent, child-woman to make him believe in love again. Complicated, real women; who needs them?
Could my brother really be right about Disney's conservative anti-feminist agenda after all? I've always defended Disney because those animated musicals are just so darned watchable. Toddlers and kids in the primary grades will watch them over and over and over...
It's a pink (and greenbacked) corporate world out there. Maybe 'the medium really is the message.'
Labels: Film, Humour