“Enchanted”: Disney animation gets real

Ah, classic Disney. A princess,
a prince, an evil queen and … a divorce lawyer? In Disney’s new movie,

Enchanted, the answer is yes.

Enchanted, due to be released
Thanksgiving Day after a long production
journey
, combines
animation and live action to tell a fairy tale that Patrick Dempsey,
who plays Robert the lawyer, calls "a love letter to Disney."

The story begins in Andalasia, an animated world reminiscent of Sleeping
Beauty
and Snow White. Handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden)
falls in love with the lovely Princess Giselle (Amy Adams).

But the prince’s mother, the
evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) is not pleased. She uses her
dark magic to banish the princess from her kingdom and into present
day Manhattan, where both Giselle — and the movie — transform to 3-D.

The trailer gives us a good
idea of what happens next. And it looks like my kind of movie.

In a recent interview, director Kevin Lima said that
he wanted to take the traditional Disney movie and "turn it on
its ear." For example, the rats cleaning the toilet recall forest
animals that helped Snow White and Cinderella with housework. "They
had rabbits and squirrels and birds. In Enchanted, she has to
make do with what’s on hand — rats and cockroaches and pigeons."

For Adams, the magic of her character is in
Giselle’s awakening to the world without losing her innocence. She revels
in her first shower and the feel of Robert’s chest hair. "She’s
discovering her senses in that moment. She discovers food, she discovers
sound, she discovers discomfort — all things that don’t exist in that
same way where she came from."

The film marks Disney’s revival
of hand-drawn animation, which it hasn’t used since Beauty and the
Beast
in 1991. Enchanted has 14 minutes of 2-D action, making
the movie a genuine tribute to animated film classics. Earlier this
year, USA Today published a lengthy article about the evolution
of Disney animation, including news about The Princess and the Frog,
a 2-D feature length film that will feature Disney’s first black princess.
The piece is a good read for fans of the medium. Tuesday, Jim Hill

posted frames from the first few minutes of Enchanted; hop over there to sample the richness of old-school
animation.

One of the high points of
Enchanted
is sure to be Susan Saradon’s portrayal of the wicked
queen. Her character combines the worst traits of Disney’s classic villains
— and Sarandon loves every minute of meanness.

Somewhere along the way,
Julie Andrews
provides narration, which will leave us all, well,
enchanted. I have a feeling I’m going to like this one.

Is Enchanted on your
holiday movie list? Or is Disney magic long gone? And when will someone
make the fairy tale we really want to see?

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