Ella Enchanted (PG)
<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysIt’s a nice idea, updating the classic Grimm brothers’ fairytale for the modern era with a gung-ho lead, some snappy gags, quirky background detail and nods in the direction of contemporary fashion and politics, but there’s just one problem, and that’s ‘Shrek’. ‘Ella Enchanted’, based on a best-selling children’s book, really wants to be different – for example, it features an elf (Aidan McArdle) who dreams of being a lawyer and has a fling with a giant – but in this post-Pixar world, the stakes have been upped in the world of children’s entertainment, animated or otherwise. Quite simply, we now expect more attention to detail, sharper gags and greater irreverence from our kids’ films.
Anne Hathaway plays Ella, a girl blessed with an unfortunate gift that makes her unable to disobey an order. When her evil stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and stepsisters (Lucy Punch and Jennifer Higham) cotton on to this and start making all manner of unspeakable demands, Ella’s life becomes unbearable and she sets off in search of a fairy who can put her right, pausing only to fall in love with princely pin-up Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy) and to sing a rousing verion of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ along the way.
The message is simple – free will and equality are very good things, although not so good that they should stop you marrying into the royal family given half a chance – and Hathaway is game enough, but it feels a little forced. It tries too hard. Expect the target audience to watch it once, smile, then go back to their DVDs of ‘Shrek’ and ‘The Princess Bride’.