Hey, long-time reader, first time poster.
I actually registered just to try and explain why I think Ben's criticisms are too much, or in some cases even unwarranted.
I've seen Cinderella III
, not Bambi II
, which actually looks better than Cinderella III
from what I have
seen, but animals are always easier to animate than humans, and I'd say Enchanted
's animation was better than DisneyToon's last efforts. Perhaps it's because they only animated a few minutes and DisneyToons animated whole features, and DisneyToons has good scenes and not so good scenes, so maybe Enchanted
just looked like DisneyToon's best scenes. I'm not as learned in animation as you so I'm not noticing everything, but when I saw Giselle come out of a Cinderella-inspired coach in her Cinderella-inspired dress and made Cinderella-inspired movements (I'm a huge Cinderella
fan, trust me on this, and others noticed it too), I wished Cinderella III
had reached that level for their actual Cinderella! But I admit, it did look very direct-to-video, and wasn't that much better than the best DisneyToons animation, I just don't think it was less good. And, of course, I'm willing to watch the films back to back and see if I agree with you later.
Ben wrote:The animals were old school, but it would have been more fun to use some stock characters - not Bambi or Thumper himself per se, but many of the additional faces we see in those era's films.
Um, it sounds to me like you actually did
want Disney characters in there, or at least animal characters based on the smaller background animal characters from Disney films. I don't think the animals really need to be more than generic since there's so little time for the animated segments and the concentration is on the humans, but I thought most of the characters had such personality and great looks, except for the yucky looking turtle.
I didn't even notice the ratio change, so I'd say that says something about how it wasn't terrible. As for Giselle realizing she wasn't "a cartoon", OH BOY do I have a problem with that criticism. Okay, first of all, she has a rather long scene realizing she's changed as she examines herself in the dark, looking at her hands and a strand of hair. But more importantly, I feel it would be bad if these characters did
dwell on the fact that they weren't cartoons. Why? Well, for starters, to suggest that cartoons are 2-D in personality just because they're 2-D in physicality is horrible. I don't agree with criticisms that Disney's princesses have no depth, but I might let that slide if the film wasn't trying to say cartoons in general are also shallower than live-action. I think, and surfnspy
can correct me (and I'd like to hear his input), that the only reason the scenes in Andalasia were animated were because of style and technique, and as a homage to past Disney films, not because Andalasia really is a cartoon. I'd say switching to the real world is the same as switching the style in, say, Sweeney Todd
. Most of Sweeney Todd
is washed out, grainy gray color, but Mrs. Lovett's fantasy of happiness with Mr. Todd is shown in bright saturated technicolor. And yes, I'm saying that's how the switch from the animated segments to the real segments should be thought of. When Giselle realizes she's different, it might not be because she's not flat or made of lines anymore, but because she feels
different. She could be looking at her body merely because it was previously covered head-to-toe in strange light, and she knows something has changed but she can't figure out what. Only the audience knows, as a sort of joke, perhaps. Whatever the case, I think it's obvious Giselle can't put her finger on the physical transformation because she probably would comment on it and not ask where the castle since she's in such a drastically different looking place, but then again that could be written off as her naivety.
Another reason I think I'm right is because they considered doing the animated segments in CGI, which, as you know, is 3-dimensional. The change to 2-D was not just an attempt to bring 2-D back, it was a homage to the classic Disney fairy tale films. But it doesn't really matter what medium Giselle was once in, just that some change has occurred. After all, live-action is just another medium to do a film in, and we're supposed to accept the characters and worlds of entirely animated films as "real", or as the only real there is while we watch it. Which is actually why I had a whole problem with this film to begin with, it could imply that cartoons aren't as good as real life, or at least not as in-depth or sophisticated or grown-up or whatever reason people don't want to watch animated flicks.
The dragon transformation did
look poor, I agree on that one. When Maleficent transformed, she was a shadow, a silhouette, behind green mist, but here Narissa just turns into some 3-dimensional purple thing and...well, I'll have to see it up close and personal on the DVD.
Ben wrote:She's going to a place where there are no happily ever afters" was delivered flat and much more appropriate would have been "no more happy endings".
happy endings?" But Giselle hasn't experienced her happy ending yet. She was almost there, but the happy ending doesn't come until the wedding in every fairy tale. In fact, her wish at the well was to live happily ever after, so she clearly wasn't there yet.
Ben wrote:One New Yorker asks Giselle "Are you for real", which might have been a wonderful point to stop and have her "check herself out" and remark, more pointedly, "why, yes, I guess I am!" rather than just the "I think so" she replied with. There was never any realization that she was no longer a cartoon.
See above about the whole animated vs. real world look, but it wouldn't make sense for her to know that what she was now was "real" if she's never experienced it before. She would have thought her home world was what was real before. The "I think so" is more joke for the audience to get, once again. But now she's questioning what real is, when she previously thought Andalasia was as real as it got.
Ben wrote:Did the Happy Work Song work? I'm getting picky here, but it's a thought that ran through my mind: if Giselle is in the real world and a lack of fairytale goodness, why would the wild, non-tamed animals of Central Park flock to her call, and how would they know how to clean up? It's not like they've lived in an enchanted forest tending to the needs of a fairytale princess all their lives
Yea, you are being picky.
While your idea of them refusing to clean is actually very funny and very good, I don't think there's anything wrong with what the film did because, well, let me take another quote from you:
Ben wrote:She's supposed, even in real life, to be this untouched fairytale princess and yet the lighting on the movie was really drab. Amy's whole take on Giselle could have been upped almost twice as much by a subtle bit of helpful lighting to make her glow and give her an extra aura to the others in a scene.
So you're okay with Giselle affecting the lighting, but she can't affect the animals? If the lighting can conform to her, so can the animals. I know, maybe that's stretching it, but it's still the same idea. Even in Andalasia, the animals won't do things for everyone. In all the Disney fairy tales, the princesses are so good and kind (and even in a way, animalistic in their innocence, purity, docility, etc.) that the animals love them and help them. I know the villains sometimes have pets but we never see how they obtain them. The princesses just sing (as animals do, too), and the animals respond because they know the princesses will be kind to them and the princesses have some kind of power over them. So Giselle, even in the real world, still has that princess purity all animals identify with and that princess power all animals yield to. She has to sing her song with whatever enchanted qualities it has, and the animals are compelled to listen and obey.
Speaking of the lighting, as well as the direction and drabness, surfnspy
came close to explaining what I thought, which was that it's another choice of style and technique, like the decision to do animation and a different ratio. To direct the film without swoops or other frills makes it less like a fantasyland where anything is possible. The real world is also more drab, or at least New York is, and I think if Giselle can be changed enough to be made up of shadows instead of outlines then the lighting should also follow suit. I actually think the real world wasn't real enough, was too Disneyfied, and maybe should have actually gone for some kind of ultra real, no sanitation, independent film-like direction for the scenes in New York, but they can't exactly do that with a film for all audiences (I would like to think that Pip pooping himself in fear and the dog peeing were humorous doses of realism for the kids, since you'd never see that in Andalasia. Know if I'm right about this, surfnspy
?). A shaky camera or some other techniques could be used, but I think the lack of fancy camera work is enough to show how unfanciful the real world is. Doesn't the fact that Kevin Lima did such sweeping work before suggest that this was a deliberate choice not to do it? Or maybe he's just good with animated films.
I thought James Marsden was not good enough, and this is where surfnspy
and I disagree. Since Giselle was supposed to represent the past princesses, and did so very well, Edward should have represented the past princes equally well, but he didn't. One criticism that could be said of Beauty and the Beast
is that Gaston has such an undesirable personality there's no worry over whether Belle will pick him or the Beast once we discover he's nice. James Marsden is like a nice Gaston, but he seems so conceited (a word Belle used to describe Gaston) and, yes, dumb (unlike Giselle, he doesn't seem to want to understand anything or see past his limited views), one wonders how Giselle could possibly be happy with him once they spend a lot of time together. If that's trying to say all the Disney princes would really be like that if looked at in-depth, that's really insulting, and I highly doubt the princesses would live happily ever after if their spouses turned out that way. None of the princes basked in their own masculinity to act so macho or ever once looked in a mirror. I don't blame Marsden, just the type of character he was told to play.
Ben wrote:I wasn't sure though, once it was clear that Giselle wasn't even interested in the prince, why his step-mother continued to want revenge? Surely just seal up the path back to Andalasia and leave 'em all stranded? The King Kong climax, with a rather uninspired dragon and another bungled sequence, felt all too much by the numbers.
I do agree with that, never even thought of that! However, I don't think Narissa knew that Giselle was falling for Robert until she saw her at the ball, and everyone involved, Robert, Edward, Nancy, and even Giselle thought that regardless of Giselle's feelings she couldn't be with Robert or shouldn't be with Robert. And as for sealing up the way for them to get back to Andalasia, I'd say she thought it would be hard to explain the Prince's absence, and it wasn't until later she tried to think of a story to tell the whole kingdom that they died. I also thought the climax was bungled.
As for the songs, well, I just love them, and I think that one's all up to opinion.
WHEW! Well, sorry that was so long, but if you read all of that, thank you very much and I'm excited for the responses!