33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best film
okay so when i first picked this up i thought it was just for children but when i watched it it was so good that i had to eat my own words. Anne hathaway is absolutely suited for the role and Hugh Dancy is the next hearthrob and a brilliant actor. The leads spark off eachother beautifully and has many other famous faces and comics such as Minnie Driver. Incredibly...
Published on 10 May 2005 by Ms. S. Morgan
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much like candyfloss for comfort
This gentle, if only half-baked comedy is a sort of spoofy Cinderlla meets Lord of the Rings meets Wizard of Oz meets the Muppets meets the Brothers Grimm.
It is about Ella of Frell, blessed at birth by a wicked fairy to always do exactly what people tell her to, and as she gets older she is constantly being told to do things that are against her own interest and...
Published on 6 Dec 2004 by Michael Bo
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best film,
okay so when i first picked this up i thought it was just for children but when i watched it it was so good that i had to eat my own words. Anne hathaway is absolutely suited for the role and Hugh Dancy is the next hearthrob and a brilliant actor. The leads spark off eachother beautifully and has many other famous faces and comics such as Minnie Driver. Incredibly romantic and funny. Love the songs i didn't know anne hathaway had such a good voice! If you are thinking of getting this and you are aged 7 and upwards and not cynical you will love this stylish and funny romantic comedy. i only wish i could give it more than five stars!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film!,
This film is based on the book of the same title by Gail Levine. The book is equally enjoyable but don't watch this film expecting it to be similar!
Anne Hathaway stars as Ella of Frell, a spunky young woman who was given the gift of obedience at birth. Anything she is told to do she must do, regardless of what it is. When her mother dies, her father remarries the typical "evil stepmother" (wonderfully portrayed by Joanna Lumley), giving Ella two new stepsisters. Unfortunately for Ella, they soon realise she must obey and make her do a variety of things!
Ella realises she must get rid of the "curse" and sets out to find the fairy who cast it to ask her to remove it. The journey is long and hazardous and in the end, Ella learns that what's inside her is stronger than any spell.
A typical fairytale story brought up to date. Younger girls will love it and the introductions of two songs throughout the movie (Somebody to Love and Don't Go Breaking my Heart) also helps keep it fresh and new for older audiences.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful new twist on a well-known fairy tale,
There's a reason that every year seems to bring at least one new adaptation of the Cinderella story - it is, indeed, an enchanting story that speaks to the heart. Who doesn't love Cinderella? I oftentimes find myself pulling for the bad guys in films, but who in the world could ever like that evil step-mother or her awful daughters? Of course, Ella Enchanted isn't your traditional fairy tale, even though all of the important elements are there - the fairy godmother, the prince, etc. Ella is not reduced to slavery by her step-mother, and she doesn't have any contact with cinders, but she does find herself effectively controlled by one of her awful new step-sisters. Anyone who has read Terry Pratchett or watched Shrek 2 knows that fairy godmothers do more harm than good, and the one in this movie (played by Vivica A. Fox) proves the point. Lucinda's gift to the baby Ella is obedience. You may think you've gotten some rotten gifts before, but the gift of obedience is the worst of the worst. Ella grows up with a strong mind and a beautiful heart, but she is helpless to refuse any request made of her. You can just imagine the kind of havoc one could wreak if one found out Ella's secret. Forbidden to tell anyone about her curse of a blessing, Ella eventually decides that she must seek out her godmother and beg her to take the gift back.
Ella sets out on her long journey in the days preceding the coronation of Prince Char (Hugh Dancy). Char is pretty much the Elvis of the realm, with young ladies in waiting breaking out into hysterics whenever he appears and, more often than not, chasing him down like hounds after a fox. He first meets Ella during one such chase, and he is immediately taken by this young lady who doesn't swoon in his presence; in fact, Ella has a thing or two to say to the young prince because she is opposed to his uncle's royal policies that discriminate against ogres, elves, and giants. She knows what it is like to have to do something against your wishes, and that makes her most forthright in her political statements. As fate would have it, the two meet again, love blossoms, and the prince gets to see firsthand the unfortunate lives his non-human subjects have been forced into living. Eventually, they arrive at the castle, and fate's dark side decides to show up and torture the innocent Ella once again. The prospects go far beyond the ruin of her love life, however; they threaten the integrity and welfare of the entire kingdom.
Ella Enchanted is a somewhat unusual film. I daresay it's the only place you'll ever find "Cinderella" belting out a saucy version of Queen's Somebody to Love, for instance. It's a little jarring to hear Strange Magic as the film opens, but you quickly grow to love the entire soundtrack (especially if you're an adult - most kids won't recognize some of the classic tunes included here). I can't say the special effects are all that great, especially the ones featuring giants, but it is the story, not the special effects, which matter in this particular case, and Ella Enchanted really delivers story-wise. With its mix of humor and drama, it should appeal to most any viewer - and you can't help but be won over by the beauty and talent of Anne Hathaway in the lead role.
Ella Enchanted succeeds admirably in delivering a new twist on a universally known story of good vs. evil. I wouldn't rank it up there with Ever After, but it's definitely one of the better Cinderella adaptations I've seen.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cheesy,But fun to watch a giggle!,
This film like any other cinderella story told is of romance and the down trodden young girl who finds her true prince. This version of it is funny,silly and all that,that implies! The song at the end is hilarious a good watch and worth buying!
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Ella is not enchanted then Anne Hathaway certainly is,
This review is from: Ella Enchanted [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
There are two things that colored my perception of "Ella Enchanted." The first is that I just saw "A Cinderella Story" a couple of weeks ago, and since that was the worst movie made on the Cinderella theme in the history of the world anything else was going to look a lot better in comparison. But then director Tommy O'Haver has the advantage of being able to mine the gold from Gail Carson Levine's beloved children's novel, which provides enough creative sparks to make this movie something different. If you are going to tell the Cinderella story over again then you need to have a twist that justifies the effort, and "Ella Enchanted" has a couple of those.
Second, this really is a movie aimed at kids. I say this because the key twist in this story is that when Ella is born a rather second rate fairy named Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox) gives her the gift of obedience. This means that every time somebody tells Ella to do something, she has to do it. Now, for kids, younger kids, this is a truly nightmare scenario. Parents and other adults are always telling you to do something: what if they could MAKE you do whatever they wanted? Endless chores, homework, and probably music lessons would be your fate, which is essentially what happens to Ella when she grows up to be Anne Hathaway.
Hathaway is the star of this film and what promise she showed in "The Princess Dairies" is fulfilled her as she plays Ella as more of a civil rights advocate than a would be fairy princess. This is because in the other fun twist the regent, Prince Edgar (Carl Elwes, playing for the other side this time having done the hero bit in "The Princess Bride"), has ordered all the elves, ogres, giants and other non-humans to live in the forest, at least when they are not serving as slave labor in behalf of the kingdom. Ella knows this is wrong and while every other eligible maiden in the land is throwing themselves at the feet of Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), Ella is more interested in giving the heir a piece of her mind on the eve of his coronation.
Since this is a take off of a sort on Cinderella we have to have the wicked step mother (Joanna Lumley) and her daughters, the mean one, Hattie (Lucy Punch), and the stupid one, Olive (Jennifer Higham). One of the most problematic elements in the story is where the good and kindly father (Patrick Bergin) marries the wrong woman. When the fairy tale was first told it was commonplace for widows and widowers to marry (it worked well for young Abraham Lincoln), but now adays the logic of such marriages is a hit and miss proposition: we buy it in "Ever After" and we laugh at it in "A Cinderella Story." At least Ella's dad is not dead but simply off on business while his new wife and step-daughters treat Ella like she was a maid who gets dirty from the cinders in the fireplace.
I saw this 2004 film is aimed at kids because the injustices that Hattie heaps on Ella are going to drive the young ones right through the roof. I am old enough to know that things will work out for Ella in the end and I suspect most kids will know that too, but I am also old enough to want Hattie to get more of a comeuppance than she does in this film (or its alternative ending). But then I also know why the original Cinderella wore glass slippers (I cannot explain it because children might read this review; if you ever read the original story of "The Little Mermaid" then you know that most of the classic fairy tales talk a walk on the dark side).
There are lots of creative little touches that help this film along. Mandy (Minnie Driver), the inept house fairy who tries to look after Ella, has a boyfriend named Benny (Jimi Mistry), who is trapped in a book. Open the book and Benny can show you where somebody is and what they are doing, which becomes helpful as Ella tries to find Lucinda to take back her gift and help save the day at the end of the film. What I really liked is how the enchantment is broken, which worked on at least two significant levels, which is two more than you usually get in a Hollywood film.
The only reason "Ella Enchanted" is not a truly superb film is because we have seen bits and pieces of this fractured fairy tale approach in things like "Into the Woods" and "Shrek." I would also toss out a working hypothesis that there are only so many variations on the Cinderella theme that you are willing to admit to the first level. For me that would be "Pretty Woman" and "Ever After" (having Hector Elizondo or Leonardo Da Vinci in the fairy godmother role appeals to me), but for young kids they might fall in love with "Ella Enchanted" in the same way.
Anne Hathaway makes that easy to do, especially when her character is forced to belt out a cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love." She has those big eyes and that bright smile and spins enough magic in this movie to make up for a by-the-numbers wasted sequel like "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." Obviously she needs to break out of the "princess" mode and her next film, "Havoc," should provide that: she plays a wealthy L.A. teen who imitates the gangsta lifestyle of hip hop culture with her friends and then encounters a gang of real Latino drug dealers in the big bad city. Yep, that should break Hathaway out of the princess rut.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD also has French, German, Italian, Spanish audio tracks,
Although it doesn't say so on the cover, the film on this DVD is also dubbed in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The extras are subtitled in these languages.
Anne Hathaway sings herself (e.g. in the song at the end of the film).
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ELLA IS ENCHANTING...,
Based upon Gail Carson Levine's award winning children's book of the same name, this is a delightful film that is fun for all ages. Starring the absolutely luminous Anne Hathaway in the role of Ella, the film is really a lot of fun. It is an interesting mix of the contemporary and the days of long ago when elves, ogres, and giants roamed the earth (at least in the minds of those with a fertile imagination).
Once upon a time, when Ella of Frell was born, a second rate fairy godmother, Lucinda Perryweather (Viveca A. Fox), gave her the gift of obedience against the express wishes of Ella's mother and the resident house fairy, the inept Mandy (Minnie Driver). As Ella grows up, this gift of obedience causes her to be thought of as being a little odd. Still, she has a lot of grit and spunk, as well as a mind of her own, and always seems to be championing the underdog.
After her mother (Donna Dent) dies, Ella's world eventually comes crashing down upon her, when her father, Sir Peter (Patrick Bergin), a traveling salesman with cash flow problems, marries the nasty but rich Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley) who has two daughters, cruel and cunning Hattie (Lucy Punch) and stupid Olive (Jennifer Higham). When Hattie discovers Ella's propensity for doing exactly as she is told, she takes advantage of Ella, making her do her bidding. Let the games begin!
Meanwhile, Hattie is president of the Prince Charmant (Hugh Dancy) fan club. Prince Char, as he is called by his fans , is a total teen dream and has all the popularity of a pop star. He is, however, getting ready to be crowned King, as he is reaching the age of majority. His kingdom has been governed for some time by his uncle, Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes), who took the reins of government when his brother, who was the late King, as well as Char's father, was killed, ostensibly by ogres. Since his rise to power, Sir Edgar has made sweeping changes in the land, segregating all giants, ogres, and elves from humans and circumscribing their lives in harsh and humiliating ways.
Ella, who advocates for all underdogs, protests against Prince Char when he makes an appearance in solidarity for the elves, ogres, and giants whom she champions. Of course, the handsome prince is smitten by the lovely Ella, and who wouldn't be? Meanwhile, Ella, having had it with the gift of obedience, decides to go on a journey to look for her fairy godmother, Lucinda, in hopes of getting her to take back her gift of obedience. She takes along Mandy's handsome boyfriend, Benny (Jimi Mistry), who happens to be trapped in a book, because one of Mandy's spells backfired. Since the book is a magical book, Benny can show Ella where anyone is, whenever the book is opened. He is basically her road map.
Off they go. Along the way, Ella meets up with Slannen the Elf (Aidan McArdle), as well as other elves, ogres, and giants. Along the road, she also meets up with Prince Char, who happens to be in the right place at the right time when Ella runs into some hungry ogres. Consequently, Ella and Char get to know each other and begin to fall in love. Unbeknownst to Char, however, a spy is traveling with him, Sir Edgar's pet snake and advisor, Heston. Once Heston reports back to Sir Edgar, a series of events is set into motion that Sir Edgar hopes will keep the reins of power firmly in his grasp.
Anne Hathaway is simply enchanting as the grown up Ella, with a thousand kilowatt smile that will light up any screen. She has wonderful comedic timing and is absolutely perfect in her role. She can certainly also sing and dance. Hugh Dancy is likewise good in the role of the handsome Prince Char. The romantic chemistry between Ella and Char is palpable. Cary Elwes, sinisterly handsome as Sir Edward, takes to his role with gusto and is absolutely wonderful. Steve Coogan's silky voice over for Heston the Snake is suitably malevolent sounding, making for an apt companion to Sir Edgar. The rest of the supporting cast is likewise excellent.
The direction by Thomas O'Haver is deft, as he expertly mixes contemporary touches with the fairytale aspects of the story, which often makes for some memorable moments in the film. Who can forget Ella's song and dance number in the giants' club? This intermeshing of contemporary touches with what is essentially a fairytale is a contrivance that proved to be very successful in "A Knight's Tale". Here, it is likewise used to good effect and offers many delightful surprises. These surprising contemporary touches are laced throughout this film, keeping the viewer attentive. This is a wonderful production that boasts an excellent screenplay. Viewers will simply be enchanted by this charming film, which is fun for all ages.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Fairy Tale,
Ella of Frell (Anne Hathaway) is an unusual child. As a baby, a bumbling fairy godmother named Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox) gave her the gift of obedience. Every time anyone gives her a direct command, she must obey.
Despite, or maybe because of, this "gift," Ella grows to be a headstrong woman. She goes against the conventional wisdom of the realm when it comes to ogres, giants, and elves. Current rules state that these creatures are dangerous and must perform certain jobs only. But Ella campaigns for their equality.
She is also one of the few women in the realm who doesn't swoon at the site of Prince Char (Hugh Dancy). When the two meet accidentally, Char finds this distain quite refreshing and immediately begins to fall for the headstrong young woman.
Trouble is brewing at home, however. Ella's stepsister Hattie (Lucy Punch) has figured out Ella's secret. Now, Ella finds herself doing things she would never willing do. So she leaves home and sets out to find Lucinda to give the gift back.
I had missed seeing this movie in the theater, and finally got a chance to watch it. I missed a real treat. The movie is funny from start to finish, and I had a grin on my face the entire time. While the story is a bit predictable, it isn't super preachy. The cast does an amazing job bring their characters to life. The only drawback to the movie is the special effects. While some worked well, most of the time they weren't up to today's standards.
While the main audience might be teen girls, this is one adult male who loved it. It's sweet, charming, and entertaining. What more could you want?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your traditional fairytale :),
"Ella enchanted" is a fairytale with an interesting spin, that is likely to interest both children and those adults who haven't lost contact with the children inside them. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Gail Carson Levine, although it differs from it in several points. I think that doesn't detract from the fact that this movie is very good. As a matter of fact, I consider it a plus, because due to the differences between the movie and the book you can watch the film and still get some surprises if you read the book afterwards (or vice versa).
The main character in this film is Ella of Krell (Anne Hathaway), a teenager who was given a strange "gift" by her eccentric fairy godmother (played by Vivica A. Fox) when she was born. That gift is nothing less that the "gift of obedience": everything that she is ordered to do, she automatically does. Her "gift" doesn't make life too difficult for Ella at the beginning, as only her mother and her aunt (Minnie Driver) know about it. Of course, Ella is annoyed by the fact that she always has to do what they order (and yes, that includes homework and music lessons), but they never ask her to do nothing bad.
Unfortunately, Ella's life takes a turn for the worse when her mother dies and her father Patrick Bergin) must remarry for money. She ends up having a stereotypical hateful stepmother, and stepsisters from hell. One of her stepsisters, Hattie (Lucy Punch), discovers Ella's secret, and makes more or less a slave of her. That impossible situation prompts Ella to start a quest in search of her fairy godmother, the only one who can remove her "gift" from her.
If you watch this movie, you will get lots of adventure and action, along with some interesting characters. For example, you will be introduced to ogres, giants, elves, and even a magic book that can talk. There is also some romance, as Ella gets to know Prince Charming (Hugh Dancy), a young man always running from his crazy fans who is about to be crowned. "Char" is not as dumb as Ella thought, and is oblivious of the new laws against equal rights sanctioned by his uncle Edgar, the regent (the villain, of course). Will Ella be able to show Char what is really going on in his kingdom?. And will she be able to get rid of her "gift of obedience", or will it go on being used against her?.
On the whole, I can sincerely say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and that I recommend it to you. "Ella enchanted" is really original, and a pleasure to watch. If you decide to see it, remember to play the deleted scenes. One of them is really great, and involves one of the most annoying characters being turned into a frog :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slight, but brilliant,
Ella Enchanted is a comedy take on fairy tales, not quite in the vein of The Princess Bride (though it does feature Cary Elwes, though in a different role -- he's now the villain) but certainly streets ahead of Enchanted. The nicely conceived premise is that Ella is a Cinderella with a twist -- her fairy god mother has given her the gift of obedience which means she has to do whatever anyone tells her -- even if it is physically impossible. This makes the job of the ugly sisters a lot easier in tormenting her, but it is also well explored to trigger all of the major turns in the plot.
If you are old enough to remember Jackanory Playhouse, this is a mainly-British led comedy in much the same style, but on a substantially higher budget. It's much more knowing than standard USA fairy-tale fare, with nods all over the place not only to fairy tales but also to the sometimes laughable attempts to turn them into films. If you're nowhere near old enough to remember anything of the kind, then you will probably be thrilled to see it stars Anne Hathaway of Princess Diaries fame. Older viewers will be delighted to Eric Idle as the narrator and Joanna Lumley as the wicked step mother. Watch out for Minnie Driver, Heidi Klum (as a hot giant) and Steve Coogan voicing the snake. For the Glee generation, there's even the occasional song.
With great set pieces and over-the-top villains, Ella Enchanted is enormous fun from beginning to end. It won't quite set your world alight like Stardust, but the fight scenes are at least as athletic if not quite as menacing.
Slight, but brilliant in a non-too-serious way.
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Ella Enchanted [Blu-ray]  [US Import] by Tommy O'Haver (Blu-ray - 2009)