Ella Enchanted (2004)


What do you get when you mix a bit of fairy tale-Cinderella world with some Shrek, throw in some Princess Bride, a little bit of Disneys Robin Hood (see Hester the snake), along with a little singing and some random modern-day references thrown in for good measure?  You get Ella Enchanted, Miramaxs newest gem of a film narrated by Eric Idle and starring the lovely Anne Hathaway and the dreamy Hugh Dancy. 


Ella of Frell (Anne Hathaway) has a gift.  Er, I mean, a curse.  A gift, a curse, it all depends on how you look at it: no matter what you tell Ella to do, she must obey.  A rather capricious fairy named Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox) gave baby Ella the gift of obedience: anything spoken to Ella as a command, she must automatically do.  Fast forward a few years: Ella is now a young lady and no one except her aunt Mandy (Minnie Driver) knows about this gift/curse.  Not even her best friend and fellow civil rights activist Arieda (Parminder K. Nagra) is aware of her problem.  When her father brings home a wicked new stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and two evil stepsisters, Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham), Ella must deal with their demanding ways, hopefully without giving away her secret! Her stepsister Hattie is the very obsessive and very active president of the Prince Charmont fan club! She and her friends go absolutely gaga, every time they even think of the hunky prince (much less when they see him). Prince Char (Hugh Dancy) as they lovingly call him, is the heir apparent to the throne currently held for him by his evil uncle Edgar (Cary Elwes).


The coronation day coming soon and the kingdom in a bit of upheaval due to the heavy handed rule of Edgar, ogres, giants, and elves alike are all ready for a change! But will everyone accept Prince Charmont as their new king? One magical day when Ella and Prince Charmont cross paths it is love at first sight for Prince Char. But the feisty and proud Ella is not so quick to fall for the prince; she is sure he is as unfeeling and uncaring as his uncle is. Since Ella actively fights for ogres rights, along with any other magical creature in her kingdom (giants, elves, etc.), she wants nothing to do with the handsome Char. But when their paths keep crossing again and againwhats a girl to do!?! Ella of Frell sets out to find her fairy godmother Lucinda to ask her to take back her gift of obedience, armed with Mandys boyfriend book named Benny (who can picture anyone, anywhere) and elf pal Slannen, they encounter much along the way (including Prince Char!).


They reach the land of the giants only to discover that Lucinda has already left, and Ella is forced by her obedience gift to stay and sing for the giants (her rendition of Someone to Love, is entertaining and very well done!).  But when Ella is finally commanded to do something that tests her very willcan she find Lucinda in time?  Will she end up doing something she will forever regret? This film had very little objectionable content: there were a few general references that will be above most children's heads, very little language (a few words), and only some mild violence. A young girl (with some help) defeats ogres and fights various magical creatures, giants are shown slaving in a field, someone is poisoned, and a giant falls in love with an elf. It's a high energy family-friendly film that reminds you again why every girl waits for her prince and wishes for that happily ever after (but has some serious fun in the process!). The modern day references did not detract from the story at all but added a bit of fun and light-hearted teasing to an entertaining movie. I laughed and laughed at the sometimes silly and sometimes serious jokes that poked fun at various modern day places and things. One particular moment that caused a huge laugh: Ella and Arieda are leaving a building and travel down a medieval escalator (a wooden set of moving stairs with a giant wheel turned by servants).


From Medieval Teen magazine and trips to Ye Olde Shopping Mall, to an elf who wants to be a lawyer and giants who love to sing, from the VI Seasons hotel and Frell Community College, this energetic and colorful film will leave you laughing, and feeling light and free. 

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