Archive for the ‘Enchanted’ Category

BlakeOnline Special – BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards 2009 Winners

June 24, 2009

Image © Disney/Pixar.

The winners for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards.

By Blake

Originally posted June 24, 2009.

This year, BlakeOnline is the home of the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! A “Bullseye” has been given to a variety of Disney-related (and some non-Disney-related) productions that I think deserve some extra attention. I chose the “Bullseye” name to keep with the Toy Story theme that began with the new “Buzz” quarterly updates. Hopefully, this will become an annual BlakeOnline event. The Bullseye nominees were announced on June 8, 2009, and the winners are in! How were the winners determined among the nominees? Well, I just chose them. Although it would make sense for Disney fans to choose what they think should win, at this point it was simpler for me to choose the results based on what I’ve observed around the Disney community.

In the future, I plan to give nominations to projects that were released within a one-year time frame (from mid-May to mid-May), but since this is the first year of the Bullseye Awards, I’m gone with an 18-month time frame, from mid-November 2007 through mid-May 2009.

Here are the winners (and runner-ups) for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards!! A * indicates a category that includes (but is not limited to) non-Disney nominees.

Best Movie – Enchanted

This movie has the workings of a true modern Disney classic. Many of the components that have made up previous Disney masterpieces were present, including endearing characters, superb music (provided by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who earned three Academy-Award nominations), and a subtle focus on animation, even though most of the movie was in a live-action format. The film consisted of an animated heroine named Giselle (played by Amy Adams) being thrust from her home in Andalasia and into the real world. Giselle’s groom-to-be Prince Edward (James Marsden) journeys after her in an effort to return her home, while Giselle is taken in by a flustered man named Robert (Patrick Dempsey). Ultimately the movie’s highest points come as Giselle takes New York by storm as she enchants the city with her charming antics, including breaking out into song and communicating with “woodland” creatures. The film also has a strong emphasis on many Disney references, sure to keep Disney fans paying close attention to detail.

Enchanted wins Best Movie. Image © Disney.

Best Movie Runner-Up – Bolt

Bolt had the feel of a classic Disney animated film. It certainly had taken great care to create its main characters, especially Rhino, the hilarious hamster. Its plot consisted of a dog named Bolt headlining his own TV series, thinking all of his powers from the show are real. This proves to be a problem when he accidentally finds himself in New York, having to trek back home to Hollywood with a sly cat named Mittens and an obsessive fan named Rhino the hamster in tow. Overall I think Bolt was culminated together rather nicely, and hopefully it’s a hint at what’s yet to come from Walt Disney Animation Studios in the coming years.

Best TV Show* – American Idol Season 7

2008’s American Idol contestants possibly revolutionized the competition by adding their own distinctive styles to their performances. With contestants being allowed to use instruments on stage for the first time, the show dramatically changed from looking for the best singer to looking for the best artist – someone who could add their personality into their performances and change up arrangements to better suit them. David Cook achieved this excellently throughout the season, and ended up winning. Cook’s debut self-titled rock album was released in November, and he’s now on tour. In second place was David Archuleta, who has since also released a self-titled album, made appearances on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, and is now touring with Demi Lovato.

American Idol Season 7 wins Best TV Show. Image © Fox.

Best TV Show Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8

Again, contestants had to step it up to change their performances and define themselves as artists in another unforgettable season. Kris Allen eventually won.

Best TV Special/Movie* – A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

I can’t express how ecstatic I was when I found out that the Muppets would be returning to TV for a one-hour Christmas special. Part of an ongoing effort to bring the Muppets back (which is expected to continue with more upcoming projects), A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa debuted on NBC in December, 2008, and delivered a wholeheartedly quality Muppet production filled with heart, hilarity, and even a few delightful new songs (which were written by Paul Williams). The special had Kermit and friends delivering several lost letters to Santa Claus. In true Muppet fashion, everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa wins Best TV Special/Movie. Image © Disney.

Best TV Special/Movie Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8 Finale

A real showstopper, this finale had many surprise appearances and amazing performances. Keith Urban, Kiss, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, David Cook, Queen, and more were among the highlights. Additionally, the season’s top thirteen contestants were all brought back to perform, and the night ended with Kris Allen being named 2009’s American Idol winner.

Best Acting – Amy Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted
The naïve, curious, and awed Giselle was played wonderfully by Amy Adams in Enchanted. In the live-action scenes, the movement and rhythm of Adams’ actions conveyed Giselle’s character excellently. In the animated sequences, the deliverance of Giselle’s diction and speech again brought the character to the screen marvelously.

Amy Adams wins Best Acting for her performance as Giselle in Enchanted. Image © Disney.

Best Acting Runner-Up – Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay in High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Already proving from the first two High School Musical movies that she could diversify her roles to become both the kind Maddie in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as well as the devious Sharpay in HSM, Ashley Tisdale stepped up her game for the third HSM installment to bring an excellent performance. Devious, attention-getting, and clever all describe Sharpay and all were performed superbly by Tisdale, who once again delivered a solid performance.

Best Song – “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted
Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Enchanted’s lavish production number, “That’s How You Know” had Giselle (played by Amy Adams) gallivanting around Central Park in an effort to bring cheer and happiness to citizens, as well as teach them how they should treat their loved ones. The song is one of the best new Disney tunes in years, and was released on the DisneyMania 6 CD in May, 2008, sung by Demi Lovato.

“That’s How You Know” written by Alan Meken and Stephen Schwartz wins Best Song. Image © Disney.

Best Song Runner-Up – “I Want It All” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil

Describing the personality of Sharpay Evans (played by Ashley Tisdale) to a tee in one single song, “I Want It All” consists of pretty selfish lyrics when just reading the words, but when watching it performed on screen in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, it does its job quite well to convey the personalities of two of the movie’s main characters and to deliver an important plot point. The lyrics creatively spin dialogue into melodies and suit the Sharpay and Ryan characters wonderfully. The songwriting here is just right.

Best DVD – Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition

Definitely one of my favorite Disney movies ever, Mary Poppins came to DVD again in January, 2009, with most of the wonderful bonus features that were included on 2004’s 40th Anniversary Edition of the film, as well as new supplements going behind the scenes of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins. The movie’s DVD would be magnificent if it contained nothing but the film itself, but the addition of the many DVD bonuses makes it a very satisfying set.

Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition wins Best DVD. Image © Disney.

Best DVD Runner-Up – Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic

This DVD was released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series in December, 2007, and includes a truly great new documentary tracing the history of Disneyland and what went into initially creating the park. Bonuses include an entertaining Disney trivia game, a very fascinating presentation (and commentary) of People and Places: Disneyland, U.S.A., several episodes of The Wonderful World of Color, a pleasant art gallery, and more.

Best Internet Video Series* – Disney Park Characters

These are a range of hilarious videos recorded by various Disneyland and Walt Disney World park guests focusing on the happenings of the Mad Hatter, Alice, Peter Pan, the Tremaines, and other characters throughout the parks. What’s so great about these is that – unlike the other candidates for this Bullseye category – most of them are of real events throughout the Disney parks that weren’t scripted, showing the true enchantment that exists in Disney’s characters and Cast Members. Links: Users Briberry, Disleanne, SkeletonStockings, MadHattress330, forevermeg4u.

Best Internet Video Series Runner-Up* –

Began in February, 2008, this is a collection of official Muppet videos featuring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Rizzo, and even some of the lesser-known characters like Bobo the Bear and Beauregard. The videos have been continuously added to the website since the site’s initial launch, and now contain enough material to provide quite a while of hilarious entertainment. They’re definitely worth checking out.

That wraps up this year’s BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! Congratulations to all of the winners!

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted June 24, 2009. All images © Disney EXCEPT: Bullseye image © Disney/Pixar; American Idol image © Fox.


Channel Flippin’ – The WDW Christmas Day Parade 2008 "Drive-Through" Review

December 27, 2008

By Blake

Originally posted December 27, 2008.

OK, so here’s the deal. I’m about to dash out the door in a few minutes and I’ll be unable to post any new articles on here for over a week and I thought the holiday season couldn’t go by without me awarding some compliments to this year’s outstanding Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. Since I’m short on time and I really need to summarize a lot in this article, instead of calling this a regular review (which it’s not), I’ll dub it a “drive-through” review, since I’m not really taking the time to elaborate (simply because I can’t) and you’re really getting the bare basics of my thoughts.

But ANYWAY, this year’s Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade was once again hosted by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from Walt Disney World in Florida and Ryan Seacrest from Disneyland in California. There were a few times when I felt embarrassed for them because of the lines they were saying, but it’s Christmastime so I’ll cut them some slack.

It was a VERY Disney parade this year and it seemed like instead of featuring celebrities with the characters off to the side as with previous years, there was more focus on the characters with the celebrities to the side.

Making their debut in the parade were Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino from Bolt and Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Giselle from Enchanted even made a quick little appearance, which was certainly welcome since she hasn’t been seen on WDW premises for about a year now.

Since it was the parade’s 25th anniversary, there were archived “flashback” clips from previous years’ parades scattered throughout the show, including performances by Jodi Benson, Kermit the Frog, Amy Grant, and others. These features were clever and appreciated until a 2005 clip of Vanessa Williams was played again and billed as this year’s finale, which made me feel partially jipped because I was hoping for a brand spankin’ new grand finale.

However, it seems that the cash usually spent on the rousing, choir-filled finale was used elsewhere in the parade for several other superb numbers that were very satisfying. One of the highlights that comes to mind for me is the opening number featuring Miley Cyrus singing “Santa Claus in Coming to Town.” Although I’m not a big Miley fan – but I certainly don’t have anything against her – I found her performance to be exceptionally great. It was performed in front of Cinderella Castle and featured appearances by Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Chip, and Dale. Additionally, Miley had a brief jam session with Stitch (dressed as Santa) on the guitar, and then Mickey made his grand parade surprise entrance in true Disney fashion. It was an overall Disney-fied performance that I think worked so well because Miley Cyrus is an all-Disney girl herself and having an out-of-studio performer usually takes away from that Disney experience. It was definitely one of the best of the parade’s opening numbers I’ve seen in a few years. Miley Cyrus shared the stage equally with the characters instead of taking up the entire spotlight and interacted very professionally with them, doing a very good job to bring some Disney flavor to the performance.

Anyone who’s been reading BlakeOnline for a while knows that I’m crazy when it comes to American Idol, and I was very pleased to see this year’s winner David Cook sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on Main Street. Runner-up David Archuleta also appeared, but he served as the viewers’ tour through Disney’s Hollywood Studios rather than singing.

Lastly, the best performance of the parade was undoubtedly the Mary Poppins number on Main Street. Talk about a showstopper!!!!! Being my favorite live-action Disney film, I was delighted that it would be represented in the parade. Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee appeared as Mary Poppins and Bert, respectively, from the Broadway musical and performed “Supercalifragilisticexpiaelidocious” accompanied by 500 (!) dancers. They worked their way from inside the Confectionary and then proceeded outside to fill Main Street from Town Square to the hub! I loved the way the song didn’t all stay contained in one place as it traveled from inside the Main Street shops and then transitioned its way into the Street itself. In that regard it reminded me of the parade’s opening numbers of the 1990’s where hundreds of Disney Cast Members and characters would prance around the entire resort singing Christmas carols.

Not only that, but the Mary Poppins performance also included the background dancers from the Broadway show dressed as Main Street Cast Members, which added an extra bit of Pixie Dust to the already-magical number.

Although ABC will not be re-airing the parade, you can catch clips of it, including the sensational Mary Poppins performance, as well as behind-the-scenes footage (which features the performers rehearsing at 5:00 am) at, but hurry before they’re taken off the page! I noted last year that I thought the parade was on its way to becoming a real Disney show instead of a celebrity concert, and I think this year’s parade made that statement even clearer.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

By Blake; posted December 27, 2008. All images (C) Disney.

DVD Review – “Enchanted”

March 22, 2008

Image © Disney.

The movie itself still blows me away and its first ever DVD presentation delivers bloopers, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and a new animated segment, but still leaves viewers thirsty for more.

By Blake

Originally posted March 22, 2008.

Every time I enter a local theater to view a new Disney movie, I expect to at least be entertained by the film I’m attending. Do I usually expect to have my socks knocked off? Of course not. I’m just there to have a good time, no matter if the movie isn’t the next cinematic masterpiece. However, each time I do see a new movie in theaters, I can’t help but feeling the tiniest inkling of hope that it will be the next classic. Sure, this is usually not realized, and that’s OK. But every once in a while, a film rolls along that has Pixie Dust sprinkled all over it and has that amazing “WOW” Disney experience and I know that the film is something special. Enchanted gave me one of those occurrences.

In the film, Disney pokes fun at itself when a clueless, animal-befriended princess-to-be, Giselle (Amy Adams), is thrusted from her safe animated world into the place “where happily-ever-afters don’t exist,” New York City, by the evil queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon). As Giselle’s fiancé, the even-more-clueless and goofy Prince Edward, searches for her, Giselle befriends a divorce attorney named Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and takes the city by storm as she enchants it with her touch of the fairy tale world.

Giselle (played by Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) in the “That’s How You Know” sequence of Enchanted. Image © Disney.

The first ten or so minutes of the film herald back to the golden age of Disney animation with hand-drawn sequences reminiscent of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella. Once Giselle enters New York, the film changes gears and switches to live-action for the duration of the movie, at which point it’s just scattered with all sorts of references to Disney films. Everything from “name-recycling” of Mr. and Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins to cameo appearances by the voices of Ariel, Belle, and Pocahontas make the film a pleasure to hunt around to find references like these. Additionally, Amy Adams’s Golden Globe-nominated lead role performance is many references in itself, seeing as Giselle is a combination of Ariel’s red hair with a dash of Belle and Snow White in her personality. And I must say the opening scene is probably the cleverest transition between a company logo and the beginning of a movie that I’ve ever seen.

Additionally, the music of the film is phenomenal. The songs follow the cutout of most past Disney animated features, complete with an “I Want” song, a cleaning song, a showstopper, a love ballad, and a contemporary final song, this time performed by Carrie Underwood. Written by the legendary Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, the film’s songs even received three Academy-Award nominations for Best Song, the first Disney feature to reach that number in that category since 1994’s The Lion King.

Bonus Features

Unfortunately, the single-disc compilation is the only option as Enchanted rolls along to DVD. It’s definitely more thorough and enjoyable than most single-disc Disney DVDs, but still has room for improvement.

“Fantasy Comes To Life” is a set of three brief featurettes displaying the creation of some of the most memorable pieces in the film. They include the processes of each scene’s conception, on-the-set filming, and post-production tweaking and feature interviews with several of the film’s key players.

The “Happy Working Song” portion (about six minutes) deals mainly with the technical aspects of creating the quirky cleaning tune. It shows how a rig was built as a substitute for birds twirling Giselle’s dress, the creation of the CGI street animals that helped Giselle clean, plus how several of the animals were actual live creatures that were trained to perform in the song.

The next featurette (about six minutes) deals with the shoot of “That’s How You Know,” the massive production number that includes dancers, gymnasts, and even stilt walkers performing in New York’s Central Park. Interviewed here are several choreographers who give us their insight on what it was like to create such an immense number as this.

Amy Adams as Giselle in “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted. Image © Disney.

The third and final featurette, “A Blast At the Ball” (about five minutes), mainly takes us through the special effects that were used to create the climax of the movie. While fascinating, I can’t help but think these three featurettes are leaving something out. While we do get plenty of technological and choreography-related secrets of several of the film’s songs, we just hear a little bit from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz concerning how or why they were written. In any case, the three featurettes collectively provide about seventeen minutes of entertainment.

The deleted scenes (about eight minutes) include six portions that were cut from the film. Included is an extended opening in Andalasia, a different introduction to Robert, a scene at Nancy’s design studio, a scene where Giselle orders a hot dog, a section where Nathaniel confides in Pip, and an extended version of the climax in which two older women commentate on the action. Interesting though brief, the most fascinating piece we come away from these deleted scenes with is a little bit of trivia: the last name of Nancy (Robert’s girlfriend) is “Tremaine,” the last name of Cinderella’s stepmother!

Bloopers are always a welcome addition to any DVD set, and the outtakes presented here (about two minutes) are certainly fun to watch.

“Pip’s Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure” (about six minutes) is a questionable spinoff of the original film that borrows elements from Jack-Jack Attack and The Lion King 1 ½ to create a story-within-the-story. Narrated by a woman who has an uncanny similarity to Maleficent, it tells of how the chipmunk Pip saved Prince Edward when he was under an evil spell and told him that Giselle was missing. What really bothers me about this was the animation. It isn’t hand-drawn like the animated portion in the film, but rather a collection of still images of a book (hence the “Pop-Up” in the title). At least there’s a cameo appearance by Pumbaa.

The bonus features’ DVD menu is somewhat difficult to navigate. The menu is set in Times Square, meaning the screen very busy and you often can’t tell what feature you’re highlighting on the screen. Aside from that, your selection onscreen appears as a colored highlight of the selections, which is already difficult to distinguish even without a busy menu.

Easter Eggs

Although fairly obvious, there are two DVD “Easter Eggs” on the disc, both on the bonus features menu. An “Easter Egg” is the term used to describe a DVD bonus feature that’s not flat-out labeled, and often requires some searching for (such as pressing certain buttons on certain menus) to find. On Enchanted, however, both of the Easter Eggs can be accessed by merely moving along the selection of supplements on the bonus features menu. If you click on the highlighted music note, you’ll see the full music video of “Ever Ever After” performed by Carrie Underwood. I think the video is a bit cheesy, but was still glad to find it here, since it was advertised as being exclusive to the Blu-Ray edition of the film.

The other Easter Egg can be viewed if you click the Mickey ears on the bonus features menu. It’s a small peek of what’s to be found on “The D-Files,” a special feature on the Blu-Ray version of the movie that points out references to Disney films throughout the entire movie. It’s intriguing, but I’m still holding off on a Blu-ray for now.

Wrapping It Up

By now, I think it’s definitely safe to say that Enchanted has secured a deserving spot along the line of wonderful Disney classics and is bound for Disney theme park or Broadway presence sometime in the future. It captures the true essence of what it means to be a Disney masterpiece, while at the same time playfully poking fun at its own genre. With a hilarious story, charming hand-drawn animation, and sensational songs, there’s hardly anything to criticize about the film itself. The supplemental features that are included on this set certainly provide a marvelous look into how the film was made and add on to the original story, but I just feel like a film that’s been this successful would have pulled out all the stops on a lavish, more in-depth set. For now, the one disc is a nice compilation of bonuses, but later on down the road it might be pleasant to see a more thorough release of the movie.

James Marsden as Prince Edward in Enchanted. Image © Disney.

So, to be brief, Enchanted is a truly marvelous, magical, Disney masterpiece that’s a more than welcome addition to any DVD collection.

How do I rank Enchanted DVD? (Bolded) is my choice:
Brilliant movie + good bonus features =

  • Aaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Enchanted DVD will most likely please: Disney Fans – Preschoolers (ages 3-4) – Kids (ages 5-7) – Older Kids (ages 8-10) – Young Adults – Adults

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted March 22, 2008. All images © Disney.

Disney Talk – Oscar Recap 2008

March 2, 2008

Image © Disney.

This year’s Academy-Awards have come and gone with ten Disney nominations and one win.

By Blake

Originally posted March 2, 2008.

2007 certainly was a prosperous year for Disney movies, particularly three of them which garnered special success. Ratatouille proved that some Disney films could have a surprisingly large adult fan base. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End capped off its very popular trilogy proving that Disney could have a solid franchise that stood up among the ranks of Harry Potter. Lastly, Enchanted cranked out some of the best new Disney music in years. All three of these spectacular films came to the attention of the Academy, collectively receiving ten nominations for the 80th Annual Academy-Awards, which were held last Sunday, February 24, 2008.

First, let’s talk about Ratatouille. It was nominated for Best Animated Film, Best Original Score, Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay. Thankfully, it did win Best Animated Film. Unfortunately, Ratatouille lost its other four nominations. Juno won Original Screenplay, Atonement won Original Score, and I still don’t know the difference between Achievement in Sound Mixing and Achievement in Sound Editing. However, the same film, The Bourne Ultimatum, won both awards.

Ratatouille won Best Animated Film and was nominated for Best Original Score, Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Next up is Pirates. It was nominated for Achievement in Makeup and Achievement in Visual Effects. Well, it lost Makeup to La Vie En Rose. However, I was 99.9% sure Pirates would win for Visual Effects . . . but it didn’t. Instead, The Golden Compass took home the award. Although I haven’t seen The Golden Compass, it must have had some pretty nifty effects to beat out Pirates’ maelstrom sequence.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was nominated for Achievement in Makeup and Achievement in Visual Effects. Image © Disney.

Lastly, we come to Enchanted. Three of its songs (“Happy Working Song,” “That’s How You Know,” and “So Close”), written by acclaimed Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, were all nominated for Best Song. All five songs in the Best Song category were performed throughout the show, and all three of Enchanted’s songs had excellent performances. “Happy Working Song” was sung by Amy Adams, who plays Giselle in the film, and was spot-on and in character 100%.

Three songs from Enchanted were nominated for Best Song. Image © Disney.

“That’s How You Know” (which was introduced by Miley Cyrus) was performed by Kristin Chenoweth, which kind of confused me because Chenoweth isn’t even in the film. As it turns out, Amy Adams apparently only wanted to perform one song, so a substitute was used for “That’s How You Know.” Chenoweth did the song justice and the performance (featuring a packed stage full of brides, grooms, construction workers, and senior citizens) was quite spectacular. (Although, if there had to be a switch of performers, I’m glad it was in “That’s How You Know” . . . anybody other than Amy Adams singing “Happy Working Song” might have sounded out of character.)

The last of Enchanted’s nominated songs, “So Close,” was introduced by Patrick Dempsey, who plays Robert in the film, and was sung by Jon McLaughlin, who sings the song in the film. The performance was done in true Disney fashion, reenacting the ballroom scene from the film quite nicely, complete with a “Hidden Mickey” and performers portraying the film’s four main characters (proof that Enchanted characters COULD work out for appearances in the parks!).

The moment soon arrived to reveal the winner for Best Song. Who won? “Falling Slowly” from Once, which was performed on an acoustic guitar and a piano. The song’s writers, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, did seem very deserving in their acceptance speech, telling that they only had had $100,000 to make the movie and had come through a long journey to get where they were. So, yes, I felt happy for the winners but still disappointed that Enchanted didn’t win.

However, even though Enchanted didn’t win, its nominations prove several very important points. First, Disney music is alive and well again. I mean, think about it. The music featured in Enchanted could go on to become signature Disney classics. (If this keeps up, we can possibly hope to see a few performances from High School Musical 3 at next year’s Oscars.) Second, the performances prove that Enchanted is definitely fit for the stage. Whether it be on Broadway or somewhere in the Disney parks, the film would work out wonderfully in a lavish stage production. (Hey, isn’t old theatre in DHS’s Streets of America being refurbished as you read this?)

So, although only one out of its ten nominations won, this year’s Oscars certainly had Disney representation all throughout its ceremony. I admit I am a bit surprised at Pirates’ losses, though I’m glad Ratatouille won Best Animated Film. And then there’s Enchanted. Even though the film didn’t bring home any wins, if the Disney execs had their heads screwed on right as they viewed last week’s Oscars, they’ll realize that Enchanted would definitely work in a stage production someway.

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted March 2, 2008. All images © Disney. Ratatouille image © Disney/Pixar.

Silver Screen Review – ‘Enchanted’

November 23, 2007

The latest Disney Princess flick combines live-action and traditional 2-D animation to blend together a simply wonderful film, and an immediate classic.

By Blake
Originally posted November 23, 2007.

Disney fans everywhere rejoiced Wednesday, November 21, 2007, when the highly-anticipated new film Enchanted debuted in theatres. And they’ve got good reason to celebrate: the movie marks the first time Disney has implemented 2-D hand-drawn animation on the big screen since early 2005 and the first time award-winning music team of Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz have collaborated since 1996. So . . . this flick had pretty high hopes. Fortunately, these anticipations weren’t hogwash. The film delivers what fans expected, and goes over the top to provide audiences with the next Disney masterpiece production.

The film opens with about 15 minutes of 2-D traditional hand-drawn animation, where we’re introduced to Andalasia, a storybook land where a young woman named Giselle (Amy Adams) dreams of true love. However, she is thrust into the real world (rather abruptly) by Andalasia’s Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), who doesn’t want Giselle to live happily ever after. Giselle winds up in New York City, where the pace of the film slows down a bit (and everything is reverted to live-action) as she’s kindly taken in by a man named Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his six-year-old daughter, Morgan. In an attempt to save Giselle, her fiancé Prince Edward (James Marsden) rushes to New York along with a few other storybook pals in a desperate search for her. Thus, mayhem breaks out as the fantasy characters rather comically struggle to fit in to the strange and bizarre ways of the real world, often confusing technological devices as magical creatures and breaking out into song whenever they feel like it.

So, that’s the premise for Enchanted, and the formula works out beautifully, because for the first time Disney actually gets to makes fun of their own previous films. The film is brimming with comedy and it is simple hysterical to see sissy storybook characters getting bashed in the real world. The movie is abundant with inside jokes, hidden “Easter Eggs”, and a plethora of other goodies that Disney fans will just have a field day trying to locate. Some are quite obvious, while others are rather subtle and call for a sharp eye.
The characters also strike personalities similar to previous Disney favorites. Giselle seems to be a combo of Snow White and Belle – Snow White because of the major storybook aspects, Belle because of her courage and bravery. Prince Edward seems to be a blend of all the princes, save Aladdin. And Queen Narissa seems to be Lady Tremaine (from Cinderella) and Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) wrapped up into one.
The music is also a major plus. Alan Menken (known for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules) has composed the music and score, while Stephen Swartz (Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) has written the lyrics. The songs are filled with homage to other Princess films, and are easily toe-tappable. “Happy Working Song” has hysterical lyrics and Carrie Underwood belts out “Ever Ever After” quite brilliantly. And “That’s How You Know” is simply an absolute showstopper. Give the music a sample and you’ll easily be reminded of the early 90’s “golden age” of Disney animation – simply spectacular music accompanied by brilliant lyrics.

As for appropriate age appeal, it’s pretty much a well-rounded family film. I’d probably say the tween boy age group would enjoy it the least. Otherwise, I think you’re fine – younger kids will enjoy it, all girls will enjoy it, and adults will enjoy it. The film is rated PG for “some scary images and mild innuendo.” The “scary images” are mainly due to the villain Narissa, and even then it’s not too bad. If your kid can handle the other scary villains in Princess movies, then they can handle this. The “mild innuendo” label might raise your eyebrows at first sight, but it’s just slight mere humor.
Enchanted is classic Disney at its very best. Hilarious characters, a flood of puns, and sensational music, plus that touch of supreme Disney magic, are all components that make up this superlative film. Enchanted is sure to be placed on the shelf alongside some of the company’s most cherished works as the next Disney masterpiece.
How do I rank Enchanted? (Bolded is my choice.)
  • Utterly repulsive
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Enchanted will most likely please: Disney Fans – Preschoolers (ages 3-4) – Kids (ages 5-8) – Older Kids (ages 9-10) – Young Adults – Adults

By Blake; originally posted November 23, 2007. All images (C) Disney.

Blake’s Picks – Top 12 Disney Animated Heroines

November 17, 2007

In preparation for ‘Enchanted’, let’s take a peek at some of Disney’s most memorable leading ladies.

By Blake
Originally posted November 17, 2007.

The part-animated, part-live-action Disney feature Enchanted is being released this week, and along with it comes a new Disney princess: Giselle. So, in preparation for this highly-anticipated film, I’m counting down the top 12 Disney animated heroines (I say “heroines” because not all of them are true princesses).

12.) Ariel, from 1989’s The Little Mermaid, voiced by Jodi Benson
Ariel is curious, insecure, and in love – the typical aspects of a teenage girl. However, there’s one trait Ariel has that makes her at the bottom of this list: spoiled. Don’t get me wrong, I think The Little Mermaid is a fantastic movie with an intriguing plot and wonderful music, but the main star herself is just downright pathetic. She’s already a royal princess, daughter of King Triton, yet she doesn’t appreciate the perks of a royal life and instead comes across as being bratty when you really analyze her personality. She’s willing to give up all her friends and family just because she has a crush on some guy (not to mention that that guy’s not even the same species as her).


11.) Jasmine, from 1992’s Aladdin, voiced by Linda Larkin (speaking)/Lea Salonga (singing)
Jasmine shares several similarities with Ariel, but has a little more passion in her story than the mermaid’s. She is already a princess, and has all her needs. Though, the law states that she must be married to a prince by her next birthday. Jasmine, however, disagrees with the law and wants love to find her, not be forced upon her. To me, Jasmine seems semi-spoiled, but at least she, unlike Ariel, has a logical reason for feeling trapped.

Princess Jasmine

10.) Bianca, from 1977’s The Rescuers, voiced by Eva Gabor
Probably the littlest-known heroine on this entire list, Bianca is a Hungarian mouse that is a member of the Rescue Aid Society, a group that helps rescue needy children. She proves her bravery as she helps save a kidnapped little girl, Penny, from the clutches of the hideous Madame Medusa and her fiendish pet crocodiles. Bianca seems wealthy, but certainly isn’t haughty because of her riches. And when she has her pick of any dashing male critter to accompany her on the voyage to save Penny, she chooses plucky janitor Bernard.


9.) Jane Porter, from 1999’s TARZAN®, voiced by Minnie Driver
Adventurous and very curious of her surroundings, Jane Porter journeys from England to the jungles of Africa to explore animals. Jane is intelligent, resourceful, and, when you think about it, a lot like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She falls in love with Tarzan, who isn’t your average Prince Charming. Jane, also like Belle, isn’t intimidated by haughty, stuck-up male contenders (only she turns down Clayton, not Gaston 🙂 ).

Jane Porter

8.) Megara, from 1997’s Hercules, voiced by Susan Egan
Megara, often called “Meg”, is confident, tomboyish, and is not fazed at all by the many males who constantly beg for her attention. Meg works for Hades, the leader of the Underworld. When ordered by Hades to attract the attention of muscleman Hercules to lure him to a fatal trap, Meg (after much ambivalence) eventually lets love conquer her contract to Hades and settles down with once-enemy Hercules. To me, Meg is one of the heroines on this list that has gone through the most out of anybody. Poor Cinderella, she has to do chores. Poor Ariel, she can’t have species change. Just look at poor Meg, who (as far as the audience knows) has no parents, and is forced against her will to do the work of Hades, one of the harshest bosses one could ever have.

Megara . . . you can call her “Meg.”

7.) Princess Aurora, from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, voiced by Mary Costa
Up next are three heroines in harsh and depressing situations, though they each have dreams they wish upon. The first is Aurora, also known as “Briar Rose” and “Sleeping Beauty”, who would be depleted a little more in my list, except Aurora doesn’t actually know she’s a princess until well into her story. Betrothed to a prince, she refuses to marry her suitor because she claims she’s already found someone else. Little does she know that that “someone else” is the one she’s betrothed to! Aurora has had a simple life until her love game enters the scheme of things and, of course, the nasty Maleficent shakes things up by attempting to kill the young maiden.

Princess Aurora dances with Prince Phillip.

6.) Cinderella, from 1950’s Cinderella, voiced by Ilene Woods
Cinderella, probably the most publicized and popular heroine on this list, is forced to do tend to her selfish stepmother and stepsisters. But her truly evil relatives don’t deter from her passion of her dreams. She gets through the day by singing happy melodies with her animal pals. Eventually Cinderella’s wishes are granted true when her Fairy Godmother comes to save the day and send her to the ball, where she experiences the power of her dream and the love of her life. To me, Cinderella is very deserving of her happy ending.


5.) Snow White, from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, voiced by Adriana Caselotti
The “fairest one of all,” Snow White has a high-pitched voice and, apparent by her name, seriously needs to hop in a tanning bed. Snow White’s evil queen stepmother threatens to kill Snow White, just for the satisfaction of being fairest in the land. In my opinion, the queen seriously needs to get a life if her existence revolves around being prettier than a girl nearly half her age.

Snow White

In all seriousness, though, Snow White really does deserve something nice to happen in her life. Not only does she have to do chores for her stepmother like Cinderella, but her stepmother actually plans to kill her! Snow White longs for her prince to come rescue her from her misery. However, unlucky for Snow White, she has no Fairy Godmother or friendly mice friends to help her.

4.) Mulan, from 1998’s Mulan, voiced by Ming-Na Wen (speaking)/Lea Salonga (singing)
Now we enter 3 heroines who are courageous because they choose to be, not because they are forced to be. The first of these is Mulan, who desperately does not want her father to have to fight in the mandatory war. To resolve the issue, Mulan disguises herself as a male and enters the army, striving to honor her family with every move she makes. To me, Mulan is a very powerful individual who puts others way before herself, and will stop at nothing to please her family’s wishes.


3.) Pocahontas, from 1995’s Pocahontas, voiced by Irene Bedard (speaking)/Judy Kuhn (singing)
Pocahontas is determined to settle the rift between her Native American family and the Englishmen that have suddenly begun to take over the Native Americans’ land. With the help of John Smith, an Englishman, she is able to conquer the disagreements between the two sides by following her heart and listening to the “colors of the wind.” Like Mulan, she puts others before herself, but still follows her personal internal conflicts, as well.


2.) Nala, from 1994’s The Lion King, voiced by Niketa Calame (cub Nala)/Moira Kelly (adult Nala)
Betrothed to prince Simba at birth, Nala goes from a very fun, carefree, “Hakuna Matata” lifestyle to a troublesome and distressing one when the evil Scar forces prince Simba to run away forever. Seeking help after the kingdom is put into misery under Scar’s rule as king, Nala eventually finds the long-lost Simba, and stops at nothing to bring Simba back to restore peace to the kingdom. Nala is dedicated, determined, and heroic, making her #2 on this list.


1.) Belle, from 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, voiced by Paige O’Hara
The ultimate Disney heroine in every sense of the word, Belle dominates all other competitors by a long shot. Not only does her story tell of bravery and courage, but also of true love conquering all. Belle, to me, is really the only princess that truly shows that anyone can be loved. I mean, really: Snow White and Aurora have a soul mate because a random guy smooches them to wake them up, Cinderella gets her prince by having a lucky shoe size, Ariel gets hers by having a species change, and Jasmine gets hers by falling in love with some guy in disguise. Belle falls in love with a hideous beast and, even when all her peers and friends turn against Beast, Belle sticks by his side to the end, breaking the spell on the Beasts’ castle. Wow.

Beast and Belle dance the night away.

So, with this look into some of history’s most endearing Disney animated heroines princesses, we can only hope that someday Princess Giselle will find her place among them. Enchanted is in theatres Wednesday, November 21, 2007.

By Blake; originally posted November 17, 2007. All images (C) Disney.