These days, it is hard to find a film that can be truly enjoyed by children and the parents that get dragged with them. Sure there are family movies but many of them are either too childish for the parents or too grown-up for the children. When there is a film in the theater that is directed toward children, it usually contains jokes and material that only the kids would find amusing. Along comes Enchanted, the first Disney princess film to hit theaters since Pocahontas in 1995. The great thing about this film is that it allows Disney to get back to the formula that made them one of the largest corporations in the world.
Although the majority of Enchanted was filmed live action, it still stays true to the classic Disney formula: Princess meets prince, they fall in love, and live happily ever after (with an evil stepmother causing trouble along the way). It would be one thing for Disney to just simple make a live action version of Cinderella or any other Princess movie. The key that makes Enchanted an instant Disney classic is the way that the film constantly, and often subtlety, able to parody or just poke fun at the past cartoon princess movies.
Enchanted makes use of such comical clichés such as talking animal friends and impromptu musical numbers. The film wouldn’t have worked as well if this was all that was done to make the film unique. What makes Enchanted extra special is the way these clichés are then twisted to make fun of them. The best part was after Princess Giselle (played by the perfectly cast Amy Adams) exits her fantastical cartoon world and enters the “real” world of New York. In the fantasy world of Andalasia, Giselle has talking “woodland creature” friends such as squirrels, rabbits, and deer. After coming to New York City, Giselle, naïve as she is, tries to create new friends with the creatures of New York’s underbelly, creatures such as flying bugs, pigeons, cockroaches, and hordes of rats.
Summing up Enchanted is a simple task. Basically, if you ever wondered what a Disney princess film would be like in the real world, Enchanted is the movie to see. The film begins in the make-believe cartoon world of Andalasia. Giselle is a typical Disney character who is poor and outcast but destined to meet her Prince Charming (following in the footsteps of Cinderella and Snow White). When she finally does meet the “man of her dreams,” Prince Edward (James Marsden), the prince’s stepmother vows to get rid of Giselle. She does this by banishing her to the very real world of New York City. Obviously, NYC is nothing like Giselle’s perfect, friendly forest in Andalasia. Throughout the whole film hilarity ensues as Giselle is taught the “ways of New York” by McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey. Of course, Prince Edward journeys to the far off land of NYC to find his future bride. Tailing behind him is his evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon) determined to find Giselle before Prince Edward does and get rid of her for good!
I really cannot express in words how entertaining and heartwarming Enchanted is. Trust me on the one, if you have ever, at any point in your life, enjoyed a classic Disney cartoon then you will definitely not be disappointed by this one. It truly is an enchanting film. There are only two films in the entire year of 2007 which I have given a perfect A+. The first was this summer’s blockbuster comedy, Superbad and the second is now Enchanted. Go see this movie because I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
The Expendables stars a whole bunch of tough guys, but mainly Sylvester Stallone. Sly plays Barney Ross, the leader of a group of mercenaries who travel to South America to overthrow a corrupt dictator. Sounds simple right? That’s because it is! You remember those testosterone-ridden flicks from the 80s? None of them really had much of a story but it didn’t matter. The only reason people (guys mostly) went to see them was to watch someone like Arnold, Sly, or Dolph take down hundreds of bad guys with one bazooka. Luckily, that is exactly the kind of entertainment that The Expendables provides: Not much of a story but a butt-load of butt-kicking.
Stallone is the lead lead actor in this film but in reality, it is an ensemble piece. Stallone’s mercenary team incorporates a nice mix of action stars from the 80s (for those of us who remember those films) and stars of today (for the younger crowd who don’t even know who Dolph Lundgren is). Below Stallone are Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and to a lesser extent, Mickey Rourke. If you had to look at the cast as the earth it would be as follows: Stallone is the inner core, the rest of the mercenary team is the outer core, Eric Roberts is the mantle, his hundreds of baddies are the crust, and Schwarzenegger and Willis are satellites orbiting the earth.
Eric Roberts returns from under a rock to portray the main bad guy in The Expendables and he does a great job. He did exactly what he was supposed to which was make the audience hate him. Former wrestler, Steve Austin, portrays Eric Roberts’ head henchman.
With such a huge cast of tough guys, it was difficult to see how this movie would slip up. I was skeptical because I had not been a huge of fan Stallone’s past directorial pursuits. The Expendables, however, changes all of that. He did a fantastic job. He delivers just what the fans wanted: huge explosions, gun fights, and countless knife fights that no one would ever survive in real life but somehow find a way in this movie. I walked out of the theater wondering how many people I has just seen get there head chopped, blown, and ripped off.
All you really need to know is that if you love mindless action flicks that defy the rules of human mortality, this is definitely a movie for you. It also doesn’t hurt that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the king of those 80s movies, makes a brief cameo. Seeing him on screen for the first time since Terminator 3 was, for an Arnie fanboy like me, mesmerizing (I choose not to recognize Jackie Chan’s Around The World In 80 Days). It was so refreshing that I didn’t even care that Bruce Willis appeared in the same scene.
I give The Expendables a B+ and cannot wait for the inevitable sequel.
Poor Bruce. You made us laugh so hard with your Godlike antics in 2003 only to have your name dragged through the mud in 2007 with Evan taking over as a ridiculous Moses look-alike. And shame on you Evan! Shame for thinking you could make us laugh as hard as Bruce did!
Ok, so I may be exaggerating a bit, possibly even a lot. Evan Almighty was not all bad but it was nowhere near as hilarious and heartfelt as 2003’s Bruce Almighty. The always entertaining Jim Carrey played the title role in Bruce Almighty and audiences loved it. This said, I am sure that Steve Carell knew he would have a difficult time trying to make this sequel anywhere near as funny at the first. For those of you who don’t know, Steve Carell had a very small, but memorable role in Bruce Almighty as the television anchor who is made of a fool of by Bruce. Both Carrey and Jennifer Aniston declined to return to star in the sequel. Usually when this happens, it makes me think that the actors from the first film didn’t think there was even story to be told in a sequel.
Even though the lead actors from the original don’t return, Steve Carell does return for the lead role. In Evan Almighty, Evan Baxter is no longer the cocky television news anchor he was in the first movie. The film starts just after Evan has been elected as Washington, D.C. congressman (How you go from being an upstate New York TV anchor to a congressman I’ll never know). As Evan and his family get settled into their new home in Virginia, strange things beginning happening around Evan. Morgan Freeman returns to play God for a second time. This go around, he appears to Evan and tells him to build an ark for the eminent flood. Long story short, Evan builds the ark with an array of comical antics happening along the way. In the end, the film tries to spin an ethical aspect of the story into the mix but it falls through.
Evan Almighty wasn’t a bad movie but it just seemed that all the jokes were forced. The hilarious scene from Bruce Almighty where Jim Carrey has fun with his new found powers as he walks down the street is a perfect example of how comedy seamlessly comes natural to him. I like Steve Carell but I have two problems with him. First, he doesn’t have the star quality or the consistent box office draw that Jim Carrey has. Second, Carell is funny but he seems to be forcing the comedy rather than just letting it come naturally.
Basically, if you are looking for a film that is just good-natured, family fun, see Evan Almighty. Just remember that this film is no where near as entertaining as it’s predecessor. I give Evan Almighty a C+.