By John H. Foote
Imagine having to portray an animated character come to life. I cannot imagine, yet that was the challenge put forth to Amy Adams as Princess Giselle in Enchanted, a perfectly delightful Disney film. The film opens with animation, and we encounter Giselle as she waits for her “one true love” Edward to deliver “true love’s kiss” when suddenly she is sucked up a vortex and onto the mean streets of New York City. No longer ink and colour, she is a beautiful young woman, but an animated young woman who will behave as animated princesses do.
She bursts into song, she calls city creatures (birds, rats, bugs) to help her clean and begins to sing and dance in Central Park. She loves life, and is delighted by everything she sees, and that love is infectious. We simply cannot take our eyes off Adams throughout the film. She flutters about the room, her arms like little hummingbird wings, threatening to lift her off the ground. She seems always on her tip toes, arms at her side so it appears she is in flight, always smiling and possessed by an innocence that is childlike, she is an absolute delight. And as in the cartoon world, she bursts into song whenever the spirit moves her and expects others to do the same with her, which sometimes happens but most of the time does not, leaving her dejected. She cheers herself up by making clothes out of the curtains, lavish ball gowns for herself.
And her smile is almost always present.
When her one true love manages to get into this world too, Edward (James Marsden) she is thrilled he has found her but has begun to fall in love with the man she met in the real world, portrayed by Patrick Dempsey, a single father with a hyper alert girlfriend.
The pair, Adams and Dempsey, dance around one another until they realize they are in love, and he, not Edward, is her one true love.
When the witch makes her way into New York, Giselle will fight her for love, and conquer, deciding to stay in New York. Do not weep for Edward, he hooks up with Dempsey’s dumped lady, Idina Menzel in a non-singing role.
Hey – Wicked casting people? Menzel and Adams would soar in Wicked. Just a thought.
Adams was campaigned for an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and truly deserved it but had to settle for a Golden Globe nod instead. As a frequent Oscar nominee I remain stunned she was ignored for the nomination here, when she deserved it so completely.
Never has a live action character so totally inhabited an animated character…it was astounding.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.