Friday, March 19, 2010


Year 2, Day 78 - 3/19/10 - Movie #443

BEFORE: Speaking of Disney films, here's one that's something of a spoof of Disney's "princess" films...

THE PLOT: A fairytale princess is sent to our world by an evil queen. Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer.

AFTER: It warms my heart to see a film that uses cel-animation, live-action and CGI, and appears to know exactly what to do with each one, and the proper way to blend them together.

I also appreciate that this film is both a spoof of fairy-tale movies, and in some ways the ultimate extension of them. By examining the "Cinderella syndrome", in which women pine for their Prince Charmings, this film questions the sensibility of the old ways, and updates the role of the fairy-tale in the modern world.

Giselle (Amy Adams) is part Snow-White, part Cinderella, and part reverse Dorothy or Alice in Wonderland - this is a twist on the traditional "real-girl goes to fantasyland" story - what are the implications of a fantasy character turning up in the real world, and learning about real-world problems like divorce or adultery?

Of course, the fantasy world of Andalasia is no stranger to concepts like "evil", as portrayed by Giselle's future mother-in-law (or more accurately, step-mother-in-law...), Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), who first sends her out of the fantasy realm, then continually tries to kill her with the cliched poison apples.

Giselle is aided by the real-world Robert (Patrick Dempsey) a divorced father who is portrayed as a practical counter to her fantasy-world optimism. As Giselle learns more about the real world, and concepts like "dating", she starts to re-examine her fantasy world relationship with Prince Edward (James Marsden) - to the movie's benefit, it never really takes a stand between the optimistic and pessimistic views of the world, as the real truth probably lies somewhere in-between.

Edward and his companion Nathaniel also leave the animated realm, to seek Giselle in the non-fantasy world of NYC. They look for her in landmarks like Central Park and Katz's Deli (which is my idea of a fantasy world, but for different reasons...) But what happens when Edward locates his princess - will she still be the same sunny optimist, and if not, how will that affect their engagement?

Lots of animated animal sidekicks, as one would expect from a Disney film, but at least they appear here mostly ironically - Pip, the chipmunk is the standout, even though he loses the ability to speak when he leaves the cartoon world. Giselle also commands an army of pigeons, rats and cockroaches to clean a NYC apartment - OK, maybe "clean" isn't the right word...

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would -

RATING: 7 out of 10 pizza pies

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