Chris Willman
March 14, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Enchanted

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
107 minutes
Wide Release Date
11/21/07
performer
Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon
director
Kevin Lima
distributor
Walt Disney Pictures
author
Bill Kelly
genre
Comedy, Kids and Family

We gave it an A

If they gave awards for the year’s two most inspired movie minutes, the 2007 Oscar could only have gone to Enchanted‘s ”Happy Working Song,” when Amy Adams — as a cartoon princess thrust into real live NYC — beckons local insects, fowl, and vermin to tidy Patrick Dempsey’s apartment. As director Kevin Lima says in a DVD featurette, it ”incorporates all the disciplines,” by which he presumably means singing, dancing, CGI, hoop-skirt hydraulics, and cockroach wrangling.

Most viewers recognize that ”Working” sends up Snow White‘s ”Whistle While You Work.” But if you want to explore Enchanted‘s dozens of allusions to Disney classics, you need to go high-def: Only the Blu-ray disc includes ”The D-Files,” a quiz that unlocks vintage clips and making-of footage with each correct answer. Animation buffs know when Adams’ reflection appears in a soap bubble, it’s a nod to Cinderella, and Susan Sarandon’s dragon-lady morph is straight out of Sleeping Beauty. Yet even Disneyphiles who spotted the actress behind the voice of Ariel (Jodi Benson) as Dempsey’s secretary may not be hep to brief but very amusing cameos by Belle (Paige O’Hara) and Pocahontas (Judy Kuhn).

All of this inspired us to begin crafting our own non-Disney trivia track: Adams running through a Central Park field? An obvious homage to The Sound of Music. The otherworldly-naïf thing? It’s familiar from smashes (Splash) and bombs (Lady in the Water). There’s a Wizard of Oz quality in the shift from ‘toon to live-action at Enchanted‘s 10-minute mark. It’s accompanied by a CinemaScope-like widening of the frame, a subtle transition used in movies ranging from Galaxy Quest to The Horse Whisperer. And when the bird eats the bug at the climax of ”Working”? A tribute to the end of Blue Velvet…isn’t it?

Then there’s the film about the critic who punishes Academy members who refuse to nominate superb comedic performances by pushing them into wishing wells. Oh, wait, I’m still writing that one. But seriously: Adams transcends the self-referential winks that could’ve made Enchanted truly trivial with a turn that’s utterly cartoonish and fully alive. That’s not meta — that’s mega. A

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