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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.32%
Worth A Look: 17.57%
Average: 9.46%
Pretty Bad: 18.92%
Total Crap29.73%

3 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Ella Enchanted
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by Jay Seaver

"'Enchanted' may be pushing it, but 'entertaining' fits"
4 stars

I don't get it. It's okay for someone to be a fan of "Shrek" regardless of age or gender, but a thirty-year-old male who buys a ticket for "Ella Enchanted" without the accompaniment of a small, female child is looked at like he's some sort of creep.

Okay, granted, the star of this movie is a young cutie (and my describing Anne Hathaway as "likely to be Julia Roberts when she grows up" is, admittedly, a bit off-putting), and the movie is more squarely aimed at those under 18 than Shrek. It's still the same kind of humor, and not only is Miss Hathaway easier on the eyes than a big green ogre, but the other visuals stack up well, too.

The story has been, I gather, somewhat freely adapted from the source material, with director Tommy O'Haver and five (credited) screenwriters opting to set it in a rather modern fairy tale kingdom where people act like twenty-first century Americans despite the lack of such things as electricity. When a baby is born to a minor nobleman, several fairies come bringing gifts, the rather irresponsible fairy Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox) giving her the "gift of obedience". As she grows up, this is an inconvenience, until her father remarries. Her stepsister figures this out and uses this knowledge cruelly, finally spurring Ella to track Lucinda down. Along the way, she will meet a prince with his own fan club, an elf who dreams of being a lawyer, an enchanted book, ogres, and giants.

I liked the design of this movie; though the opening shot, in particular, is nifty. It appears to be obviously CGI - though the credits list a lot of miniature work - but it establishes the movie's aesthetic and Eric Idle's narration established the tone. It's clean, modern, somewhat satiric but not to the point of self-referentiality. Many of the effects aren't quite as polished as they could be, but in some ways that works in the movie's favor: When Ella and company are meet with the giants, for instance, the less-than perfect compositing actually keeps one's brain from trying to see the characters as the same size (which was an issue I had with the Lord Of The Rings movies). The music choices are somewhat goofy, but not to the extent that Shrek 2's were.

It's also a fun cast; you've got Eric Idle as the narrator, Cary Elwes at the villain, Joanna Lumley as the stepmother, Minnie Driver, Patrick Bergin, Steve Coogan, Jimi Mistry, Heidi Klum, and Parminder Nagra. The kids likely won't recognize these folks, but they're fun for the grown-ups. Likewise, the story and characterization are simple, but not dumbed-down. It's made for kids, but not just for kids.

I like "Ella Enchanted", though it's never quite as good as it could have been.

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originally posted: 06/02/04 14:44:25
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User Comments

7/31/19 Suzanne Anne is pretty and charming, but the movie is schizoid. 3 stars
11/10/14 Dr. Lao Didn't laugh once...I mean not even once! 1 stars
6/13/11 art Anne Hathaway Is a Beautiful PRincess! 3 stars
7/24/10 the dork knight Anachronistic pop culture references, ha ha. It's all been done before, and better too. 2 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. a really good cinderella-ish story. predictable yet likable..for me anyway :P 4 stars
5/14/07 David Pollastrini Anne Hathaway is hot in this! 3 stars
11/23/06 someone this movie is very bad and has many plotholes 1 stars
5/14/06 mooniestar_69 This movie redefines the word crap! Seriously... 1 stars
4/18/06 no Anne hathaway is just a show piece, the movie sucks, READ THE EXCELLENT BOOK 2 stars
4/16/06 I'm not tellin my name cuz i'm not an idiot. I hope you all burn who said Ella reeked. Go to hell. 5 stars
1/26/06 sy the movie is ultra shallow 1 stars
1/24/06 David Bassler thoroughly enjoyable 4 stars
12/24/05 Jim Why, Westley, why? Go back to Buttercup! 3 stars
11/22/05 C.F. This movie is horrible! The book was excellent but the movie is shallow and stupid! 1 stars
3/25/05 Valerie The book is WAY better. Skip the movie, just read the book! 2 stars
3/21/05 reptilesni I was surprised by how fun this movie was! 5 stars
2/02/05 Jeff Anderson The most enjoyable family film I've seen in a long time. ANNE HATHAWAY IS PITCH PERFECT!!!! 5 stars
10/12/04 Viv The BEST! 5 stars
8/22/04 Hyper The book was a LOT better than the movie. I feel sorry for Gail Carson Levine! 2 stars
7/02/04 Priscilla Postlethwaite Second half promising but can't quite rebound from putrid first half. AH gives her best tho 3 stars
6/24/04 Iman If I'd sold the rights to the book, I'd cry myself to sleep every night. 1 stars
5/21/04 kitty greatest movie ever this year 5 stars
5/09/04 Mary Brown I LOVED IT!!! 5 stars
5/06/04 Erin B. This movie was a piss poor adaptation of a great book. Cute, though. 2 stars
5/04/04 Karen Meir This is a great movie, it's my new favorite movie 5 stars
5/01/04 Rebecca Wonderful book, bad movie. 2 stars
4/30/04 illyria this movie sucks more cock than hathaway herself 1 stars
4/30/04 ertwert wrew it is the best movie ever 5 stars
4/27/04 Miss smarty The movie is realy ever thinks it's bad realy sucks!! 5 stars
4/26/04 Georgia It was interesting...but NOT AT ALL LIKE THE BOOK! 4 stars
4/23/04 Shauna I thought it was cute, but I'm rather in love with the book. I say read the book. 4 stars
4/23/04 Dawn an unspeakable butchering of a good book 1 stars
4/23/04 janet arkez It is booty i fell asleep 1 stars
4/20/04 Christina Hathaway's getting star in crap movies 1 stars
4/19/04 paganchyk Somewhere between "Ever After" and "Princess Bride" - cute 4 stars
4/19/04 uh huh very good 5 stars
4/19/04 critical movie reviewer the worst movie I have ever seen. a waste of time. i feel sorry for the book. 1 stars
4/19/04 molly great movie and very entertaining 5 stars
4/18/04 Danielle It was really good! 5 stars
4/17/04 R.J. ROCKS! Go see it! 5 stars
4/17/04 Dylan I Liked it 5 stars
4/17/04 Michael Pleasant, imaginative fantasy w/some bad jokes but it's still fun. Hathaway's very charming 5 stars
4/16/04 Bobbi a fun vehicle, but not serious, Anne Hathaway is good 3 stars
4/16/04 X You would get better entertainment from crapping in a projector 1 stars
4/15/04 A thirteen-year-old says: its so horribly different from the book, if it was closer to the book, i might see it again 2 stars
4/15/04 monica i read the book & saw the movie they are both good but nothing alike 5 stars
4/14/04 Emily I think I'll read the book again, thank you. This movie sucked. 2 stars
4/13/04 Fred Bob I dunno but we did our civiv duty and made a tard happy 1 stars
4/11/04 Annie Cohen I believe the rating you gave this movie was absolutley horrid!This is a wonderful movie!!! 5 stars
4/11/04 Katie Awful and nothing at all like the wonderful book!!! I am so mad!!!! 1 stars
4/11/04 Hope Jenner IT changed my life.I owe everything to this incredible movie. God Bless ELLA!! 5 stars
4/11/04 You know it's bad when... ...the target audience leaves for popcorn and doesn't come back! 1 stars
4/10/04 Allison & Chrissy This movie was horrible and nothing like the book, which was great. It was a poopy mess! 1 stars
4/10/04 Vinnie I don't know about the movie, but Anne Hathaway has a great rack!!! 4 stars
4/05/04 Ray Nice and sweet 4 stars
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  09-Apr-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004



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