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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enchanted


The USA channel has been playing Enchanted all weekend there, and will play it again tonight at 9PM Eastern time. (The movie is not to be confused with Ella Enchanted.)

When my brother first told me I'd enjoy it, after the first ten minutes (which are in cartoon format) I openly mocked him. But you must see those first ten minutes in order to understand the story, so please stick with it.

It's far more clever and intelligent than most movies, and that alone makes it worth watching. As with most movies, the first hour is probably the best. (The early James Bond movies with Sean Connery are probably the best examples of this.) Enchanted gets a little sappy, but the movie also makes fun of itself, making the sappiness more palatable. (The low point on that score is probably the Central Park song/dance scene, where some choreographer was given way to much leeway.) The ending is downright ludicrous, but it is, after all, a fairy tale.

If you don't like it, be as insulting to me as you like; I promise to publish your comment anyway.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think we may have missed the movie, but given your (unlikely) recommendation I will look out for it when it shows again. We were busy taking in "Invictus" - Morgan Freeman is terrific - and the visually gorgeous "Avatar". I found the latter reminiscent of the Roger Dean cover art from 70s LPs and found many other references to stuff I enjoyed way back (The Dragonriders of Pern anyone?). If you are a scifi movie goer, look out for Ridley Scott's "Forever War" which may be out next year.
G

John Craig said...

Thanks Guy. Avatar is definitely on my list, the first movie I've wanted to see in a theater in a long time. Science fiction movies are tricky; a lot of people swear by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, which I found to be an overly stylized fashion show, and the Lord of the Rings series, which struck me as more spectacle than story. On the other hand, I thought Total Recall ingenious.

Anonymous said...

Avatar has been crticized for its trite storyline and liberal politics. My advice is just enjoy the immersion, the adventure and the fabulous visual feast.
(I greatly enjoyed Blade Runner and LOTR, which is really fantasy rather than scifi, but found the filmmaking of Total Recall rather crude. I'm not a huge fan of Verhoeven - he has done a lot in the scifi genre - Robocop, Starship Troopers - but he relies excessively on blood and guts for impact IMHO.)

Anonymous said...

PS Many great scifi novels have been done very badly on screen - "Dune" is the best example.
G

John Craig said...

I'd heard about Avatar's politics, and even though I'm against the Iraq and Afghan wars, I don't like being preached to like that. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the movie.

I know what you mean about the film making of Total Recall, but I found its basic concept -- implanting dream vacations into peoples' memory banks -- brilliant. I remember walking out of the theater thinking, that was really a cut above what we normally get from some 28 year old screenwriter. Then when I found out that it was based on a story by Philip K. Dick, that was a real "aha" moment.

You're right, Robocop was moronic and Starship Troopers came across as a generic template of a scifi movie. Not a fan of Verhoeven, but a huge fan of Philip Dick. BTW, when are they going to make some movies based on Heinlein?

John Craig said...

Couldn't agree more about Dune. Loved the books, hated the movie. Of course, it's hard for a movie to live up to a great book in any genre. Bonfire of the Vanities is a prime example.

A lot of people loved the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I don't see how you could possibly have liked it if you really liked the book. And Jack Nicholson, despite all the kudos he received for that role, was miscast as Randall P. McMurphy. In the book McMurphy was a big, red-haired, healthy, lusty, brawling Irishman. Nicholson is not that at all. Pauline Kael described him best: "He always looks like the all night bus passenger who just woke up to find he missed his stop."

Anonymous said...

I haven't read anything about other Heinleins being brought to the screen, but I did some googling and saw that "Stranger.." was a project with Hanks and Connery in the late 80s. There's a lot in the scifi greats library yet to exploit.
A scifi movie I have yet to see but have heard some good things about is "Enemy Mine". It may look quite dated by now.
G

Anonymous said...

PS Sorry I have diverted this quite a long way from "Enchanted"!
G

John Craig said...

Guy -- You have nothing to apologize for, I've enjoyed the discussion every step of the way. And "enchanted" is scifi of a sort (I guess technically it would be classified as "fantasy.") I'll check out Enemy Mine if I stumble across it.

symondss said...

OMG, John! The Central Park song/dance scene is hands down my favorite part of the movie! Sadly, it has been totally butchered...edited so much that it's a sad ghost of the original which can now only be seen if you own the DVD.

John Craig said...

Steve --
Thank you for reading the blog! (You're a man of your word.)

We'll just have to agree to disagree about that one. I found that song/dance scene way too long, with its only redeeming virtue being its self-mockery.

symondss said...

Yes indeed. John. If I say I'm going to do it...I do it. As you well know, this character trait wins you as many enemies as it does friends. But, "to thine own self be true".

Speaking of "enemies", Enemy Mine is an interesting movie, I wouldn't call it a "great" movie but worth a see. If you have Netflix, you can get it streamed to you for free...such a deal! If you aren't set up for this just let me know. Setting up consumer electronics devices and networks is a special love of mine (as is counseling college kids).

Best to your beautiful wife...

John Craig said...

Steve -- I admire people who do WHAT they say as well as AS they say.

Thank you for that generous offer but I'm afraid if we had Netflix we'd never get away from the TV, which all of us watch too much of already. I will keep my eyes peeled for "Enemy Mine," however.