fantasy elements: fairy story characters in the real world
Giselle is your typical cartoon fairy tale heroine: happily living in a forest house, kept company by a host of cute woodland animals, singing as she goes through her day, waiting for her prince to come. But Prince Edward (who also sings a lot) has a wicked stepmother, Queen Narissa, who wants to keep the throne for herself. So, when the two finally meet, and are to be married, Narissa casts a spell on Giselle, sending her to modern day New York, and Edward follows to rescue her. The rest of the film is wickedly funny culture clash, as Giselle's hopelessly naive view on life clashes with that of Robert, a cynical New York divorce lawyer. Giselle learns about reality, while Robert learns the power of "true love".
There are some marvellous set pieces, including Gisselle singing to the New York animals to help her tidy Robert's flat: instead of cute woodland bunnies, she has rats, pigeons and cockroaches helping her, accompanied by her "Happy Working Song" including lines like "So friends, even though you're vermin / We're a happy working throng". The chipmunk that follows Edward is beautifully animated. Edward's dimness, and his interaction with the "magic mirror" of TV, is great. Narissa in the disguise of the Snow White hag, both animated and in real life, is a nice touch (there are many sly references to animated Disney films throughout, from Cinderella to Lady and the Tramp!). And the ending, after the dragon fight, has a clever mirror of the beginning scene.
Pleasant fluff, with just a hint of acid to help counterpoint the saccharine.
reviewed 26 December 2010