Enchanted ever after

Dubby Bhagat


Jenish in Kupundol started life as a furniture shop but Rajendra Kayastha knew such a lot about movies that he started a DVD lending library assisted by his charming wife and his colleague, the ever obliging Bal Gopal. It has become my favourite stop off point in Patan and Rajendra and Bal Gopal recommended I see, ‘Ella Enchanted’. They’re always right so I did and fell instantly and insanely under its magical spell. ‘Ella Enchanted’ is a good, old fashioned, fun filled family movie which I urge you to go out at once and get.

It is a rework of the Cinderella story starring Anne Hathaway who has outdone her ‘Princess Dairies’ roles, proving that she is going to be a truly great actress. The story of ‘Ella Enchanted’ has a rather nasty fairy godmother who ‘’gifts’’ Anne Hathaway, Ella, with the curse of obedience so she has to listen and do everything people tell her to do including her evil stepsisters.

‘Ella Enchanted’ is about Anne Hathaway’s search for the fairy godmother who keeps changing her address and is played by Vivaca A Fox as an in-your-face, scatty sprite. Anne Hathaway hopes she will get Fox to remove the spell of doing what she is told.

In her journey Ella meets elves (one wants to become a lawyer) giants, a handsome Prince called Char and an evil, scheming, oppressor called Sir Edgar who wants to kill Prince Char.

About her role, Hathaway says, “I play Ella, who is a classic fairy tale heroine, but I like to say she’s a little different because she has a brain and a personality. Over the course of the film she has to find a way to break a curse she’s been under her whole life and she finds the strength within herself to do that.”

There are fights, castles and fabulous songs including a brilliant but brilliant rendition of the Queen song ‘Somebody To Love’ and Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy (who play Prince Char) do the Elton John, Kiki Dee chartbuster, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ with such incredible style that I’ve put them both on a loop and watch and listen to them both all the time. America’s most formidable critic is Leonard Maltin who was so charmed by ‘Ella Enchanted’ that he said, “Imaginative reinvention of the Cinderella story with Hathaway a delight as the plucky Ella, Dancy a charming Prince, and Elwes a sinister villain (in amusing contrast to his signature role in The Princess Bride). Visually inventive, with clever use of feel good songs and contemporary humor, a family treat. Based on the award- winning book by Gail Carson Levine.”

When asked what kind of training she needed to be a good fairy godmother Vivica Fox said, “You gotta learn to ride a cloud and make more graceful entrances than I do.” The Chicago Sun Times said ‘Ella Enchanted’ is “a high- spirited charmer, a fantasy that sparkles with delights.” The movie has an extraordinary cast that includes Minnie Driver, Joanna Lumley and Eric Idle, with the voice of Steve Coogan doing a truly funny narration.

There have been many Cinderella movies and another favourite of mine is the 1998 Drew Barrymore, Angelica Huston, Doug Scott and Jeanne Moreau film, ‘Ever After’ which has Moreau telling the Brothers Grimm the real Cinderella story which we see in a flashback. There are no fairy godmothers in ‘Ever After’ but Drew Barrymore plays an intelligent, out spoken, feisty Cinderella figure who is helped by Leonardo Da Vince (who walks on water, flies, and has the Mona Lisa rescued) to win her Prince Charming. Angelica Huston is hard-as-nails as the wicked stepmother and Drew Barrymore is fantastic in a beautiful performance says critic Tom Keogh, ‘’A contemporary take on an old, virtually forgotten Hollywood convention — the costume adventure with real audience appeal — ‘Ever After’, is a surprisingly delightful film.’’

The last word goes to Mick Martin and Marsha Porter who say, “Exquisite retelling of the Cinderella story with a luminous Drew Barrymore as the young charmer who rises above her station to steal the heart of the prince. Angelica Huston is excellent as the wicked stepmother who schemes to keep Barrymore away from her true love the crown prince of France. Director Andy Tenant delivers a live-action fairy action film filled with heart and humour, and just the right amount of magic.”