Like most families in America, my family had its traditional way of celebrating Thanksgiving. Since it was just the three of us (my parents and me), we never went through the trouble of preparing a big feast. Instead, we would sleep in and then head out for late lunch/early dinner.
But aren’t most restaurants closed on Thanksgiving?
Yep — but that did not stop us from going to Morrison’s Cafeteria. Where we lived, Morrison’s was in the mall with the movie theater (AMC when AMC was not as big as it is now) . So we would go eat and then enjoy a movie. Even though I live on my own, I still try to uphold the tradition of seeing a movie on Thanksgiving. So I found myself heading to the Altamonte AMC after a fine dinner at Brian’s and Leona’s house.
So what movie did I honor with the title of Matt’s Turkey Day Selection 07?
At this point, some of you may be snickering or downright laughing at me — so be it. I have always been a sucker for Disney animated films and I had been hearing good things about this one all week. So I paid my money, got my snacks and headed in to the theater. The previews were ok — I am interested in the new Ryan Reynolds movie coming out in February; it is made by the people who made Notting Hill and Love Actually.
The movie hit its stride right off the bat by appealing to the older crowd, raised on all of the Disney classics, by starting with the storybook seen at the beginning of Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, etc., and by having Julie Andrews serve as the narrator. Then the traditional 2-D animation that people love from Disney starts. The story is basic enough — Girl looking for true love, hero comes in and saves her, and they ride off into the sunset, singing.
Wait a sec — it’s only 10 minutes in. How can the story be over?
Thus the twists begin. The intro of the evil stepmother, the plunging of the princess into darkness and despair.
Except the princess now finds herself in real form in NY City — yet she still thinks of things in fairy-tale fashion.
What follows is a pleasant enough story with predictable, yet enjoyable, plot points. I agree with other reviewers out there regarding the casting. The use of New York City as the backdrop works as a nice contrast to the animated world.
What I really liked was the care that Disney put into this movie. Many people, including me, have complained that Disney was forgetting its legacy. I feel that Michael Eisner had a big hand in that forgetfulness. Enchanted is a good start to renewing the faith of those raised on Disney classics. Here are the things that rang true to me:
- Julie Andrews — A double-nod to Disney legacies. Dame Andrews has always been looked to as an example of grace and charm. Given that Mary Poppins was the first to mix animation and live action, it is fitting that 34 years later, she serves as our guide on this journey.
- Mary Poppins, Roger Rabbit — Every twenty years, Disney likes to combine live action and 2-D animation. The twist here is that the worlds only collide mentally.
- The use of Jodi Benson and Paige O’Hara — Having “Ariel” and “Belle” play small parts is testament to the impact of the characters they created voices for in the early 90’s. Amy Adams does a nice job of reminding the watcher of past singing heroines with her own melodic voice.
- Alan Menken — If you are going to do it big, bring in the man with the Oscars from Disney’s last animated musical heyday. I did like the incorporation of Ariel’s and Belle’s themes into the music.
Disney also did a good job of allowing some adult humor to creep in, as with Aladdin. What message is Disney sending when the hero defeats a huge “ogre” that looks a lot like another animated heavyweight? The jokes were never over the line and actually showed that Disney could poke fun at itself and its competitors without being mean-spirited.
So was there anything I did not like? Well, Patrick Dempsey’s character needed some more development; Susan Sarandon was under-utilized; and the few number of songs for a movie touting the power of song.
My advice: Grab your feinds and loved ones and go see this at the theater. This is a movie that helps capture the idea of going to the theater and gives you a very good time. Seeing this movie, you can’t help but feel happy the rest of the day…