Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Friday, 22 April 2011
In the cartoon fairy tale land of Andalasia, Giselle (Amy Adams) is about to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden), only to be pushed into a portal that takes her to the real world of New York by Edward's evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon), who yearns to remain Queen. In New York she is taken in by lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and struggles to get her head round the idea that she is now in a place where happily ever after is impossible and bad things are everywhere.
The concept of New York being chosen as the place of no happily ever after and much sadness is quite a subtle, yet frank, dig at today's society. New York may be a wonderful tourist attraction with great amounts of culture and history, but like every major city in the world it is full of crime, and of course has a high rate of divorce - sadly nearly every city/county/state in the world has something like 1/4 marriages minimum ending in divorce. Naturally, New York is the most obvious choice out of anywhere in America, as there is a lot less hustle and bustle in other cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia, plus a number of famous sites are used at some point in the screenplay - most notable examples being Central Park in a wonderfully choreographed musical number, and the Woolworth Building in a climax full of bold special effects, and some wonderful and potentially vertigo enducing cinematography.
Adams and Marsden give hammy and overexaggerated performances, however, this works as they are playing characters who were once cartoon, so to be so overexaggerated means that they still seem like the cartoon characters that they ultimately are, and the fact that Adams and Marsden managed to get this just right is an attribute to their talents. Sarandon also does a good job of making Narissa appear like a classic Disney villain - cold, wicked and heartless. However, this is quite unoriginal as she is a cross between The Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Malificent from Sleeping Beauty (1959), but she handles the role well.
Where this film ends up flawed is the fact that it is trying too hard to be like Disney animations. Giselle is a cross of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel of The Little Mermaid (1989), so there is no original quality to her, while Edward is way too much the dashing hero. And as for the musical sequences, although they are well choreographed it seems that they are trying to make them as big as possible, so the lyrics in all honesty don't work too well. Ultimately, there is too much effort to be a homage to Disney animations that it all ends up being a bit too much. There are only so many unoriginal ideas you can cram into one film. If there was a bit more originality to it then it would be superior to what the final result is.
Ultimately it is quite entertaining, but too over the top and too unoriginal. It's still worth a viewing though. And also you could do what I once did - play a game of spot the Disney reference. There's hundreds - everything from Snow White to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).
Stars: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey, Jeff Bennett, Kevin Lima.
Oscar nominations: Best Original Song (That's How You Know - Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz), Best Original Song (So Close - Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz), Best Original Song (Happy Working Song - Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz).