Fluff, but enjoyable higher-end fluff, "Enchanted" is the latest live-action picture from Kevin Lima (better known for his animated efforts, such as "Tarzan"). The picture opens in the animated world of Andalasia, where we meet Giselle (Amy Adams), who dreams of meeting her Prince Charming, complete with nifty musical number. Soon after, she crosses paths with Edward (James Marsden) and falls for him. Not so pleased by the marriage plans for the two, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) - Edward's rather tempermental step-mother - banishes Giselle to New York City, and that's the point where the picture jumps from animation to live-action.
Once in New York City, Giselle finds herself lost in a sea of people who either disregard her on their way to work or think she's crazy. The only ones to offer some help are Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his young daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). They think she's crazy too, but are at least nice about it. Meanwhile, Edward has found out about Giselle's disappearance and heads to New York City to find her, although he's a little too dim to accomplish much.
Despite a few surprising skills, such as getting birds and other creatures to do housework (as well as making fashionable dresses out of curtains) , he's about to send her packing after she gets him in trouble with both his boss and girlfriend. Still, her kind nature and general cluelessness about the world makes him want to look out for her. Giselle, on the other hand, starts to wonder if Robert might make a better Prince for her than Edward. And, despite his general irritation with her, he realizes that he's kinda fallen for her, too.
Elsewhere, furious with her assistant (Timothy Spall)'s inability to do away with Giselle, Narissa heads to the real world herself to try and take Giselle out of the picture once and for all. "Enchanted" is a slight whisp of a movie, and it takes a touch here-and-there from other classics. However, the reason the movie works is commitment. Adams commits herself 100% to the role of a sweet young woman who only knows her perky cartoon universe. Marsden is also amusing as the dim-witted Prince, and Dempsey and Adams have good chemistry. There's also a cute little CGI chipmunk, who offers an entertaining little supporting effort. The picture's CGI may not be remarkable, but it works well for the tone of the picture.
"Enchanted" is the kind of picture that the sour cynic in me went in ready to hate, but "Enchanted" manages to be so gosh darn likable that it won me over. It's not without a few issues - the picture could have been helped if it was a little tighter and not as utterly predictable - but it's still an enjoyable piece of cinematic cotton candy nonetheless.
VIDEO: "Enchanted" is presented by Disney in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC), although the opening animated scenes are windowboxed before the movie becomes 2.35:1 once the movie turns to live-action. Overall, this is, without a doubt, an extraordinary presentation from the studio. Sharpness and detail are often breathtaking, with small facial features (you can see a tiny bit of fuzz on Adams' face during the close-up of the kiss at the ball late in the movie) and other minor details presented with remarkable clarity and definition. You can practically see pores on faces (or fuzz, as mentioned above), which makes one wonder what actors must have to worry about in the age of HD. Scenes on the streets of NYC are also quite stellar, with superb depth to the image.
Colors simply sparkled throughout the movie, often looking rich and bold, with impressive saturation. Colors looked more vivid overall on the Blu-Ray than the standard DVD. Black level also remained first-rate, while flesh tones looked spot-on. No edge enhancement, artifacting or other concerns were spotted. This was a truly excellent presentation, and one that clearly leaves the DVD version (which, mind you, wasn't at all bad for standard DVD) in the dust.
SOUND: "Enchanted" is presented in Dolby TrueHD on this Blu-Ray edition. I went in with the belief that this would be a straightforward sound mix with a narrow focus and the majority of the audio in the front speakers. What I found wasn't a stunningly aggressive mix, but the film put the speakers to work fairly often, with the surrounds kicking in at times to offer some pleasing ambience and enjoyable sound effects. Audio quality was marvelous, as the score remained rich and full, while dialogue sounded crisp and clean.
EXTRAS: First up are a couple of minutes of surprisingly unfunny bloopers. Liked the movie, but apparently no one ever screwed up in a really entertaining fashion. We also get a trio of featurettes: “Happy Working Song”, “A Blast at the Ball” and “That’s How You Know". 6 deleted scenes (some of which are extended) - each with introductions by director Kevin Lima - offer some mildly interesting clips, but nothing that should have found its way into the movie. Finally, we get an interactive story game and a Carrie Underwood music video. Overall, surprisingly little in the way of substantial extras for such a big movie. Given that Barry Sonnenfeld's a producer on the film, I would have loved to have heard another self-depricating, lightly sarcastic and dryly funny track from Sonnenfeld, similar to his tracks on the movies he's directed.
Available as an exclusive feature on the Blu-Ray edition, "The D-Files" is an interactive game that plays along with the movie. Right answers get points, as well as a jump to a very brief featurette that has to do with the question. After each featurette, we are taken right back to the movie. This is an enjoyable little feature that will be fun for kids.
Final Thoughts: "Enchanted" is not without a few issues - the picture could have been helped if it was a little tighter and not as utterly predictable - but it's still an enjoyable piece of cinematic cotton candy nonetheless. The Blu-Ray offers magnificent image quality, solid audio and a few good extras. Recommended.
The Film B