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254 of 546 readers found this review helpful.
"Modern Fairytale" means many different things to many different people. In "Pretty Woman" it meant bringing the old classic "smokin' hot common street whore can meet Prince Charming if she's true to her heart" story to modern times.
In Ella Enchanted, it means leaving the classic "girl with a horrible curse placed on her overcomes evil and lives happily ever after" story in medieval times, but adding some modern conveniences. Like wooden escalators and horse drawn yellow cabs for instance.
At birth, Ella (Anne Hathaway) is given the present of obedience by a fairy ((Vivica A. Fox) and must do everything she's told. Why there weren't girls like this when I was in high school kind of depresses me, but perhaps "Scraps Enchanted" is just waiting to be written.
Poor Ella's curse is a minor inconvenience for most of her life, until the evil king (an interesting role for usually good-guy Cary Elwes) catches wind of her problem and uses it to attempt his nephew (Hugh Dancy) before he's crowned the new king, and implements all sorts of shoddy management practices, like abolishing slavery and promoting elves, ogres and giants to live freely among the white Anglo Euro-trash of the kingdom. Ah, the nerve of youth today!
Sure, it's a fairy tale, and the ending can be seen 2 miles away without the help of any vision enhancing apparati. But it's cute, and if you've got kids, they'll get a kick out of it.
A few things that bumped it up a couple of cans for me:
-The moral isn't "you need a man to make you complete", but rather a hodgepodge of being true to yourself and how much slavery sucks. A nice change from the Princess fluff Disney cranks out sometimes. Sure, the evil needs to be really, really evil for kids to understand, and it doesn't take a left-wing radical to speak out against it. It was more like the Spice Girls yelling "Apartheid Sucks!" before a concert than a bunch of hungry unemployed third world teenagers wanting to vote, but, hey, we get the picture.
-The soundtrack opted for the Smooth Hits of the 70s for the background music instead of the typical medieval pipes and drums. Kudos! Hell, they even had a singalong of "Somebody to Love" in a bar scene. I love Queen singalongs!
Overall, the movie was cutsie, non-threatening, and sugary sweet. The 30 foot giant played by Heidi Klum was a bit odd. I mean, what do you do with a 30 foot tall supermodel? I couldn't wrap my head around it.
Predictable, yet it provoked enough little smirks to warrant 3 cans out of 5.
Added: Saturday, April 09, 2005
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