Monday, December 3, 2007

Moofee Review: Enchanted

For some reason, my friends refused to watch Enchanted. When I ask them why not they threw the question back at me "What's so good about Enchanted?"

I wouldn't know! That's what we're supposed to find out right?!

I could tell them what I thought was good, but I look at animation from a geeky perspective, so I decided that gold-fishing my mouth was a better option. For Enchanted, I was excited to check it out because a well-done fusion of cartoon and real-life acting was something I haven't seen in a long while, quite possibly since the last time I viewed Roger Rabbit. With no one interested, I finally got the movie by... other means, and even though the quality was nothing short of dismal, Disney's magic still shone forth.

It is really heartening to find a company who takes the effort to deal with mature issues of "the real and cruel world" and "relationship complications" without having to resort to gory scenes of human luncheon meat or gunshots and some serious name-calling. Then again, it would be thoroughly un-Disney to have the remotest implication of "muthafuckin' whore!".

And then there's the digital effects. Oh my God I never would have thought that Disney would splash so extravagantly on SFX. As is often the case in digital effects, to the trained eye, the little things count the most. Apart from textural rendering, like the chipmunk's fur detail, or the reflection in the shiny poisoned apple, I really enjoyed the seamless transition where the evil queen (cartoon) sent three poisoned apples to her lackey (RL) through a soup pot. As the queen was musing she took the apple (RL) floating in the water back (cartoon) to admire it, then let it float back up again (RL). Really really impressive. Also, when she was snapping to her lackey in his vodka, her cartoon gestures affected the two olives floating in the drink. Gee, "how the hell did they do that" doesn't even begin to scratch the tip of the iceberg.

And then there is the Happy Working Song. I can't even describe it, you just have to take a moment here and see it for yourself.

At some point I lost track of which animal could be real and which was probably digital. The last time that happened was in the Matrix Reloaded's (in)famous highway car chase. The evil queen's transformation into a dragon was perfect, not to mention the stunning reality and detail of the dragon while retaining the facial flexibility of a human and the powerfully evil aura of the evil queen.

The last point is that I kinda felt that Disney was making a statement here, saying that they've grown up in some ways. As the movie progressed it became clear that while Giselle was warming up to the harsh reality and endless questions of this world, Robert was starting to accept that there may be happily ever afters after all. And I thought that was quite a powerful statement from Disney, as if they were saying "We know the shit you go through. But never, never let your dreams and fantasies go."

While kids will be entertained by colorful dance sequences and extravagant (and I use this word mildly) song numbers, adults may choke in laughter and tearful reminiscence of classic Disney references, most of which are in the opening sequence and the working song. I highly recommend you to catch it before it ends its run in theatres, and I look forward to buying the home theatre version of it in the future.

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