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Ella Enchanted (2004)

Duration1h 36m
RatingsUK: PG, USA: PG,  
Source of storyA riff on the Cinderella story updated in a book by Gail Carson Levine.
DirectorTommy O’Haver
Writers/ScriptLaurie Craig, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith, Jennifer Heath, Michele J. Wolff
StarringAnne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aiden McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan, Jimi Mistry, Vivica A. Fox, Heidi Klum, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.3 by 62, 837 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 50% by 115 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch. Ella is born in a house in Frell in the kingdom of Lamia, which hosts ordinary humans, some with magic powers, elves, giants and ogres.  While a baby she is given the “gift” of obedience by a wayward fairy godmother. After the death of her mother her father marries again, so Ella gains an unpleasant stepmother and two equally unpleasant stepsisters, who discover her compulsion to obey. In order to have the curse lifted Ella starts out to locate Lucinda, the fairy, and finds herself in the elf kingdom and then the giant kingdom before being rescued by the prince who is due to be crowned, but not if his evil uncle can help it.

Content: No nudity or sex but the prince and Ella snog at least once. This whole film is presented as a sort of pantomime with the cast bursting into song, and sometimes dancing. The elves dance, the giants dance and Ella sings a couple of modern pop songs, quite well, and there is a climactic scene when everybody dances. Ella is attacked at one point by three ogres but is rescued by Char the prince. Her compulsion to obey results in her being told by the evil uncle to kill the prince.

A View: Roger Ebert said the film was “the best family film so far this year”, but it was only April. Its gross receipts of $27 million did not cover its costs, but we should bear in mind that receipts are often dependent on the level of publicity.  Good or bad it stuck to its own rules, always an advantage, typically even though the ogres had clubs, it was obvious that they were plastic. In the end it was just a bit tedious and actually it was difficult to identify the target audience. Note the UK category PG. Really! So watch it if you dare.

Aditional Info: Anne Hathaway sang her own songs.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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