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PCR #401 (Vol. 8, No. 48) This edition is for the week of November 26--December 2, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Enchanted"  by Mike Smith
Robert Sandsmark - R.I.P., DVD Grindhouse: "Rats...Night of Terror"  by Andy Lalino
DVD Review: "HELP!"  by ED Tucker
Metal Health....Mr. Karloff....House of Dark Shadows to DVD?  by Matt Drinnenberg
I Know They Have Hannauka Songs, I've Heard Them .... Giving Up His Day Job .... Ho Ho Honolulu .... Hogan Knows Best? .... And So This Is Christmas .... Passing On .... Andy's Challenge .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 35: Next Week!  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon.
Directed by: Kevin Lima
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 47 mins

If you’ve seen one fairy tale film about beautiful princesses, evil step-mothers, magical animals and, of course, Prince Charming, you’ve seen them all, right? Wrong. Leave it to the Walt Disney Company, who pretty much invented the whole “lived happily ever after” genre seventy years ago with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” to conjure up the magic needed to bring the fairy tale into the 21st Century with their new film, “Enchanted.”

In the animated kingdom of Andalasia, beautiful Giselle lives in the woods, where she has been spirited away by the evil stepmother of the local prince, logic being as long as the prince does not find his true love then there won’t be anyone to replace her as queen. A chance meeting between Giselle and Prince Edward causes the queen to panic and she lures Giselle to a wishing well, enticing her to lean forward and make a wish. A friendly shove sends Giselle to the bottom of the well and beyond. Well, actually beyond beyond. Giselle, now in human form (Adams) emerges in the middle of Times Square. Not understanding what has happened, she innocently walks along the streets, trying to find a friendly face. When she comes across a vertically-challenged gentleman, her first reaction is to call him Grumpy. After mistaking a neon sign advertising the Palace casino, she is “rescued” by Robert (Dempsey), a divorce lawyer who is raising his young daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey) alone. While Robert tries to teach Giselle about the “real” world, Prince Edward (Marsden) and his valet (Timothy Spall) travel via the sewer, along with Giselle’s pet chipmunk, Pip. And the adventure begins.

What better way of Disney to honor the heritage of its past then by having a veteran of its classics on hand to direct. Lima, who directed “Tarzan,” also has the added experience of having worked on several animated films in the past, including the one that returned the company to the top of the animated list, “The Little Mermaid.” Lima has surely done his homework here, with each character and scene a perfect homage to the studio’s past. Even Julie Andrews, as the narrator of the story, just seems a natural choice and what a perfect fit it is to have Mary Poppins herself telling the tale. The cast is outstanding, with Adams outstanding as a princess brought to life. An Oscar nominee for 2005s “Junebug,” Adams adds a beautiful singing voice to her already dramatic talents and never delivers a false note. Marsden, who already sang and danced this year as Corny Collins in “Hairspray,” also delivers. Neither he nor Adams allow themselves to slip into parody, something that would have turned “Enchanted” into a low rent “Airplane.” Sarandon is both evil and beautiful as wicked Queen Narissa. And sharp-eyed fans will enjoy spotting Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara and Judy Kuhn, the singing voices of “Little Mermaid’s” Ariel, “Beauty and the Beast’s” Belle and “Pocahontas” herself, in cameos.

The songs, by “Pocahontas” Oscar-winners Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, are cleverly written, with each one evoking a Disney classic from another period. Menken has received an astonishing fifteen Academy Award nominations in his career and has won eight Oscars for his work on such Disney hits as “Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” I can safely say that a couple more nominations for his work here wouldn’t be a surprise.

A classic tale with a modern touch, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Enchanted”

This week's movie review of "Enchanted" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.