This movie is primarily a parody of 3 classic Disney features: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella. The producers didn’t need to worry about the iron fangs and razor claws of Disney’s Intellectual Property lawyers because Disney is the distributor.
In the magical kingdom of Andelasia a beautiful maiden named Giselle (Amy Adams) falls in love with a brave, handsome and somewhat dim-witted prince (James Marsden). Before they can get married the evil queen (Susan Sarandon) banishes her to “a place where there is no ‘Happily Ever After'” (New York City); a place so awful that the only person willing to help Giselle is a cynical divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey).
I don’t want to be too hard on this movie. Particularly at this time of year people are looking for films that they can take young children to, but which will not cause acute pain for any adult who must sit through them. This is probably the best of the lot. The movie is watchable. It has one scene that is extremely funny, one that is very cute, and one that is almost scary. But it falls well short of greatness.
Fantasy generally works best when the writers take it very seriously. Satire works best when it is merciless and unforgiving. This story falls between two stools. Are fairy tales ridiculous or aren’t they? The writers aren’t really sure.
For anyone familiar with the original movies that are being parodied, it doesn’t help that the animated sequences in this one are not nearly as good as the originals. It suggests the apprentice aping the master. The climax gives us the occasion to ponder the differences between 3-D and 2-D animation. As usual, 2-D ends up being more effective.