Ella Enchanted Review
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If Prince Charming had met Cinderella in the world of Shrek, and you added humor, imagination, and a soundtrack of 70s music, you’d have one tasty and satisfying casserole of a movie.

Ella Enchanted is based on the popular novel by Gail Carson Levine. It’s one of those fractured fairy tales with a modern day sensibility. It takes the seemingly familiar, gives it a twist—and mostly succeeds.

The lead character is a twenty-something, intelligent girl (Anne Hathaway), who was cursed at birth with the “gift” of obedience. She must do whatever she is told. When her mother dies and father remarries, it’s the elder of two stepsisters, Hattie, who exploits this knowledge. This drives Ella directly into the path of the soon-to-be king, Prince Charming (Hugh Dancy).

  
 
Ella must find her not-so-nice fairy godmother (who gave her the curse) so it can be removed. Her quest leads her to an elf who wants to be a lawyer, a band of hungry ogres, and once again, the Prince. Charming and the elf accompany Ella to a lively wedding in Giantville, where humans are neither expelled nor welcomed. Sadly, the fairy godmother has already left the scene, and, after a musical number, a new plan is devised.

Ella’s fortunes rise, then fall, until a startling self-discovery, culminating with a confrontation with the evil king before Charming’s coronation ceremony. Will Ella expose the king for his past deeds? And will Prince Charming believe her? Will giants and ogres help save the day?

I went to the film with my wife and eleven-year-old daughter, plus a friend. My daughter (who read the book last year) told me afterwards that she was a little disappointed that the movie strayed from the original story in places. But she also said it was “fun and adventurous.” I agree. Also, it kept my interest throughout, which says a lot.

Not all family films end up being “fun for the whole family”—but this one was.

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