Movie Review of Ella Enchanted (2004)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2004 movie starring Anne Hathaway as a woman with the gift/curse of obedience.

Synopsis: From the time she was an infant, a young woman has been cursed with a “gift” bestowed upon her by her fairy godmother, she must obey any command she has been given. When her evil stepsisters discover her secret and use it to her advantage, she begins a journey to find her fairy godmother so she can have the gift removed. Along the way, she learns about other injustices in the kingdom and tries to convince the future king to think for himself and do what is right.

Who's in it?

Ella Enchanted (Fullscreen Edition)

Anne Hathaway, the delightful star of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure ELLA ENCHANTED. On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift by her Fai...

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A Unique Family Movie

My oldest daughter came across this movie on Netflix this past weekend and asked me to watch it with her and her younger sister. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this movie and, after watching it with them, my opinion of it is the same, it is a very unique and entertaining family movie.

The thing that I really enjoy about this particular movie is the fact her “gift” isn’t always a curse for her and, at times, actually works to her advantage, such as when she’s fighting ogres in the woods or even winning the heart of a young prince. That may not seem like much. But, it did make the movie much more entertaining and even funnier than would have been had the writers just focused on the negative aspects of it. In addition, it does make it seem like her godmother (Fox) may have actually put some thought into her gift after all.

Another thing I found I really like about this film is the casting. Hathaway, simply put, was the right choice for the role of Ella and I honestly can’t imagine any other actress that would have played that character better. She was able to bring some of her “Princess Diaries” charm to a protagonist that had her own ultimate goal in mind but was still open to helping other people along the way. Oh, and she really surprised me the first time I heard her do her version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”

I’m also a big fan of Elwes in this movie. His portrayal of the evil uncle works because he is able to sell the character as being a bad guy while still keeping things lighthearted enough to fit the family movie theme. And, his death scene is both funny and memorable.

My only real complaint about this movie is I wasn’t a big fan of the serpent spy Heston (voiced by Steve Coogan). He was just too cartoonish and, as even my daughter pointed out, was too similar to Sir Hiss in the Disney version of Robin Hood (my wife thought he looked and acted a lot like Kaa from “The Jungle Book”). While, admittedly, he did have a somewhat important role and couldn't simply be removed, it would have been nice to see an effort to at least make him seem slightly different.

Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery)

How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse?At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy's gift—the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether i...

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Final Opinion

As I said before, this is a great family movie. It has a unique story and a good mix of comedy, action and even some memorable musical performances.  This is a film I would recommend for your next family movie night, especially if you haven’t seen it before.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/15/2016, StevenHelmer
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