Ella Enchanted (Fullscreen) product details page

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Ella Enchanted (Fullscreen)

Hugh DancyCary ElwesVivica A. Fox

Director: Tommy O'Haver

rated: pg

- Suitable for Teens, Adult Language, Adult Humor

released: August 24, 2004

format: DVD

Rating: Not rated: write a review
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Ella Enchanted is a surprisingly effective realization of its simple fairy-tale concept. A medieval teenager (Anne Hathaway) must do whatever anyone tells her, a curse that ranges from mildly annoying to incredibly problematic. Humorously, it also highlights our conversational use of command words, especially their literal interpretation. One such example comes when a castle guard tells a fleeing Ella to freeze, and she's forced to pause mid-leap, legs akimbo. The filmmakers are so true to their premise, even when the prince uses a common argument technique to focus her attention -- "Look, Ella" -- the girl gives a glance back over her shoulder, in deference to the gimmick. The same high level of care applies to the film's terrific-looking storybook world, which employs modern sensibilities (such as a medieval mall opening) in a charming way. Production designer Norman Garwood brings his Princess Bride pedigree to the project, joining the CG artists to conjure majestic "helicopter shots" of the kingdom's countryside, as well as inventive creatures and other details that go beyond what's usually required of a teen romantic fantasy. But despite its attempts to be more than that, Ella Enchanted's inescapable teen focus may prevent it from fully appealing to other demographics. Prince Char (Hugh Dancy) is a little too much of an olden-times Backstreet Boy, and Hathaway may be too identified with the Princess Diaries movies for older audiences. Plot-wise, there's also a potentially frustrating, unexploited loophole to Ella's curse -- namely, that Ella's goofy aunt (Minnie Driver) should be able to save Ella by ordering her to do the opposite of what her various adversaries tell her. But then, as they say, there would be no movie. Ultimately, only a real ogre could stay grumpy at Ella Enchanted for very long. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

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