Posted on 3/25/08 12:03 PM
[left][size=4][font=Garamond]I did not want to watch this movie. I was fully prepared to dislike this movie, despite the fact I like Amy Adams. My preparation for hate has to do with a complex story involving the Walt Disney Company and how I think they are, in fact, Satan. The reason I didn't see this in the theatre, despite the pleading of my wife, was that I wasn't giving Disney another penny of my money until they apologize for a number of sins committed against us, former Disney addicts.
I may have gone tangental there for a second, but I feel we established that I was not anticipating this movie. Additionally, I thought the premise was dumb and there was no way they were going to pull it off without turning it into a hamhanded spoof of their past animated glories. Not only was I wrong, not only did I love this movie, but I would say it's the best original Disney fairy tale in the last 15 years.
The premise is pretty simple. Sterotypical fairy tale land with the maiden waiting to marry the prince is disturbed by the evil queen who banishes the maiden to the real world. The prince and others follow after her and their fairy tale world collides with New York.
Here Amy Adams just shines and throws out a "fish out of water" performance comprable to Tom Hanks in Big. No, the material isn't as good as Big's, but then Tom Hanks doesn't have a Broadway-quality voice, so we'll call it even. What starts as a one-note performance becomes increasingly complex as she begins to be affected by the nuances of reality and she, in turn, begins to positively affect the jaded New Yorkers around her. There's one scene in particular where she realizes she's angry and she's never been angry before and she's amazed and astounded she's feeling angry and a bit pleased by it, but is still angry that Amy Adams accomplishes pretty much all with her eyes and it's stunning. Not only did she deserve an Oscar nomination, but were it not for Ellen Page, I probably would say she earned the statue.
The movie pokes fun at the conventions of Disney musicals without denigrating them. There's one scene where Amy Adams has begun to sing and all of Central Park gradually joins in and a befuddled Patrick Dempsey (who is great along with James Marsden in supporting roles) mutters, "How does everyone know this song? I've never even heard this song?" The score and songs, by the way, were stellar and it was nice to see Alan Menken return to early 90's form.
I felt the Disney magic. Despite my ongoing feud with them in real-life, this movie made me feel the way I did when I was a kid watching their fairy tales. It made me smile, it impressed me, and several days after watching it, it's making me smile still. That's a magic trick in and of itself.