Enchanted Enchanted on Blu-ray Disc

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Reign of Fire
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

By Jim Bray

It had so much potential, and it does so many things well, but in the end Enchanted left me frustrated by an ending that, when push came to shove, threw away everything it had worked for throughout the film.

Enchanted is kind of like Sleeping Beauty/Snow White meets Crocodile Dundee and it has a lot of charming moments. It begins in Andalasia, the animated kingdom where everything except the evil queen is beautiful and life is so darn neat it's hard not to break out into song. Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) finds that life is a fairy tale where she meets her charming prince just when she needs to. Things look magical.

Then that queen (Susan Sarandon) unleashes a plot that banishes Giselle from her "drawn out" existence and puts her smack dab into present day live action New York City where, it appears, no one has even considered living happily ever after. From here it's the classic fish out of water story where Giselle learns about "a whole new world" (to coin a phrase), manages to influence the people she meets in the new world, gets hundreds of Central Park visitors to sing and, well, you get the idea.

It's infectious and for the most part it works very well, but that darn ending ruined it. The whole story leads up to her being rescued by her charming prince (James Marsden) and living happily ever after, but the producers turn this on its head in an extremely unsatisfying and superficial manner I won't recount here lest it spoil the movie for you. Let the movie spoil itself for you!

Amy Adams is delightful as Giselle, though she's far too old for to be completely believable as a fairy tale princess - a character who usually seems to be about 16 years of age. But she manages to light up the screen anyway, in a performance that's just over the top enough to make you remember that she's really a fairy tale character and not a real, live girl. Giselle, not Amy....

The supporting cast is also very good, with Sarandon bringing just the right cartoonish menace to her performance. And hats must also be taken off to Rick Baker for his terrific old hag makeup.

The score is by Disney stalwart the great Alan Menken, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It isn't close to Menken's best outings such as Little Mermaid and Little Shop of Horrors, but who better today to score a film such as this?

The Blu-ray is excellent. The animated part at the beginning is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, until Giselle appears in the "new" world, at which time the screen grows to its full 2.35:1 glory. It reminded me of Douglas Trumbull's Brainstorm, where the "live" sequences were narrower than the "Brainstorm" parts.

Strangely, though, subsequent scenes in Enchanted's animated world remain at 2.35:1, and to be honest we wish they'd left the beginning that way, too.

But the 1080p picture quality is gorgeous. The animation, which is also gorgeous, looks spectacular, crisp and clean and colorful - and it even exhibits good depth. The live action parts are also rich and detailed and clean, with pure blacks and very good depth.  It's an excellent presentation.

Disney has presented Enchanted's audio in Dolby TrueHD (48Hz/24 bit), rather than the uncompressed PCM 5.1 of other titles, but it's as good as the picture, warm and enveloping, with good dynamics and excellent fidelity. There's very good low bass and, though the surround channels are restrained, when they're used it's appropriate to the movie's action.  

Extras include "The D-Files," which uses film clips to challenge you on the many references to past Disney films in this one. You watch clips, then answer multiple choice questions, and you can save your progress, quit, and come back later.

Other bonus features include deleted scenes and some rather lame bloopers. You also get "Fantasy Comes to Life," a three part featurette in HD that's kind of a "making of some of the movie",  the music video (sung by Carrie Underwood) of the Ever Ever After song (in standard definition, alas), a Pop-up Adventure suitable for the ankle biters, and some trailers - including one for the upcoming Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty that made me salivate in anticipation.

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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