I’m going to answer just a couple of questions before I get started: Ella Enchanted was NOT a Disney film when it was released (Miramax was sold by it’s parent company Disney but they still own the rights of the film), nor a musical in my opinion, it is a fairy tale film but it is more than that. Based very loosely on the beloved 1997 book Ella Enchanted was released in 2004 and while I understand why some are more upset the film did not follow the book exactly I still love this film. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
There is a narrator to the story (Eric Idle.) Ella (Anne Hathaway) has lived the small town of Frell her whole life. When she was born the was given a gift, more like a curse, by Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox) a well meaning but extremely misguided fairy. Her gift: obedience, Ella has to do what she is told; for example if you tell her hold your tongue she will that’s how bad it is. Ella’s mother (Donna Dent) and house fairy, who is not so great with spells, Mandy (Minnie Driver) are the only ones who know about the gift. Before she dies Ella’s mother has Ella promise not to tell anyone else and gives Ella her necklace. Meanwhile the kingdom Frell is a part of Emir has not improved; after the king was allegedly killed by an ogre his brother, the ambitious and evil Sir Edger (Carey Elwes) forces the kingdom’s magical creatures into new laws such oppressing elves and giants, turning them into entertainers and workers.
Years go by and Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin) remarries, out of money not love. Ella’s stepmother Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley) along with her stepsisters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) are very cruel to Ella. Figuring out she does what she is told they take full advantage of it, costing Ella her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra). Fed up Ella decides to find Lucinda and make her take back the curse. Mandy gives Ella her book boyfriend (remember I said she wasn’t great with spells) Benny (Jimi Mistry) to help, but Ella makes a few friends along the way including an elf named Slannen (Aiden McArdle) who wants to be a lawyer, a few giants including one who likes Slannen (Heidi Klum) and the crown prince, the handsome Charmont, or Char for short (Hugh Dancy). Ella opens Char’s eyes to how cruel his uncle is to the creatures and they soon fall in love, much to the dismay of Hattie who is just a little (a lot) obsessed with Char. Seeing how this girl is changing Char and ruining his plans to take over the kingdom Edgar, along with his pet snake Heston (Steve Coogan), decide to use Ella’s gift to their advantage. About as far as I can go without giving away the rest of the film.
I loved this movie when I was younger and I still love it today. Anne Hathaway is one of my favorite actresses of all time and it was actually because of this film. This was my first time watching Anne is a movie and she did not disappoint me (she actually has yet to disappoint me in a movie.) I also did not know at the time that she could sing, but she blew me away with her rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” It was also my first time watching a few people in the film. Hugh Dancy is not only handsome; he is a great actor. Minnie Driver is fantastic, the actresses who played the step family are so evil as is Carey Elwes. Aiden McArdle was a good sidekick, and has one of my favorite scenes not just in this movie but in film all together (when he has to get Ella out of her cell I die laughing every time). Lastly Vivica Fox is not only stylish but she is so good as Lucinda. This fairy tale rom com is funny, has the right mix of fairy tales and comedic timing and was just perfect. There is a musical number at the end of the film with the cast singing Elton John’s and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
There is a soundtrack to this film and features some fantastic songs. Anne’s version of “Somebody to Love” is on there, along with her version of “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” while a different version of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” sung by Anne and singer Jesse McCartney. Other songs included cover versions of “Respect” sung by Kelly Clarkson, “True to Your Heart”, sung by Raven-Symone, “Strange Magic” sung by Darren Hayes, and “Walking on Sunshine” sung by Jump5. Other songs that stick out for me are “It’s Not Just Make Believe” by Kari Kimmel, “Once Upon a Broken Heart” by the Beu Sisters and finally “If You Believe” by Andrea Remanda and Bryan Adams.
If you have not seen Ella Enchanted I would recommend it. It is cute, funny, a fantastic cast and soundtrack, and overall just a good time.