HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
   
 
Newest Articles
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ella Enchanted Do as you're told
Year: 2004
Director: Tommy O'Haver
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aidan McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch, Jennifer Higham, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan, Jimi Mistry, Vivica Fox, Parminder Nagra, Jim Carter, Patrick Bergin, Heidi Klum
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: As a child growing up in the enchanted kingdom of Frell, young Ella (Anne Hathaway) was the recepient of an unfortunate gift from her irresponsible fairy godmother, Lucinda (Viveca Fox) - the gift of “obedience.” Consequently, Ella must obey anything anyone tells her to do. As if a lifetime of blind obedience were not bad enough, things grow worse once Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin) remarries. Not only does wicked stepmother Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley) treat Ella with outright contempt, but her spiteful daughters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) unearth Ella’s secret. Poor Ella ends up framed for robbery and forced to spurn her best friend, Areida (Parminder Nagra). Having resolved to track Lucinda down and ask her to remove the enchantment, Ella sets forth on an adventure that leads to encounters with elves, ogres, giants and, most importantly, the handsome Prince Char (Hugh Dancy).

Ella Enchanted was the film whose premise launched a thousand lewd comments on the internet. What if Anne Hathaway were magically compelled to do anything anyone told her to do? Perverted geeks aside, this was based on an award-winning children’s book written by Gail Carson Levine, although the author was bemused by how far the film deviated from its source. Featuring Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle as onscreen narrator, this has an awkward balance of Pythonesque irreverence, Disney cosiness, feminist fairytale and MOR karaoke tunes. Such a mix had already achieved success in Shrek (2001) although the blending of pseudo-medieval setting with anachronistic humour (e.g. carriages styled like New York cabs, hand-turned escalators, pin-up posters of Prince Char, Ella as a right-on campaigner for equal rights for all fairytale folk, giants who dance to Bollywood tunes, gags about botox!) had precedent with A Knight’s Tale (2001) to say nothing of the classic Fractured Fairytales cartoons created by Jay Ward.

Few critics seemed to notice but fairytale spoofs became one of the defining genres of the Noughties. Aside from the Shrek films there was Prince Charming (2001), Hoodwinked (2005), Happily N’Ever After (2006) and Enchanted (2007) to name only a handful. Whether these reflected filmgoers growing disillusionment with traditional concepts of romance, heroism and morality or simply sprang from the desire to see fairytale characters sing pop tunes, the fact remains that few delivered any truly worthy counterpoints to the supposedly outmoded values they held in obvious disdain, as proven by the increasingly misanthropic direction taken by the Shrek sequels. Although commonly considered an inferior copy, Ella Enchanted’s core themes of female empowerment and individuality in the face of state-sanctioned prejudice prove more persuasive than Shrek’s muddled “beauty is only skin deep” message.

The script is solid but Tommy O’Haver’s scattershot direction fumbles several dramatic beats whilst the unfocused storytelling smacks of post-production tampering in the familiar Miramax tradition, losing track of seemingly crucial characters including Parminder Nagra as Ella’s best friend, Minnie Driver as her sweet but magically inept aunt and Aidan McArdle as an elf who aspires to be a lawyer. An eclectic cast also includes Jimi Mistry as a talking book, Steve Coogan voicing an evil serpent, Cary Elwes in an ironic about-face from his role in cinema’s finest fairytale spoof The Princess Bride (1987) as the villain of the piece, and even supermodel Heidi Klum as a giantess. Amidst the hit-and-miss gags stand a number of disarming moments, including one where an ogre (Jim Carter) quotes Rodney King reinforcing the film’s anti-prejudice stance, albeit in semi-jokey fashion, alongside a sweet element to the fairytale romance as Ella falls for Char because he subtly encourages her to do what she wants not as she is told.

Lovely Anne Hathaway makes for a sympathetic, spirited, very engaging lead while Hugh Dancy is a likeable comic foil rather than the usual blandly heroic hunk. Ella Enchanted also gave filmgoers their first sample of Hathaway’s fine singing voice via her cover version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” - a talent she has had too few chances to display since. An ingratiating eagerness to please hangs over the admittedly goofy goings on, right down to the climax that throws an airborne bout between ninjas (!) and a kung fu kicking Hathaway (!!) into the mix before roping the entire cast into a song-and-dance cover of “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart.”

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2304 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: