I’m sorry. I just had to create sympathizers. See, I watched this video the other week, and it got stuck in my head. Really stuck. Then I went to see Enchanted on New Year’s Eve, and the song got really, REALLY stuck in my head. I just finished my review of the film (it’s charming and sweet but still suffers from some Disneyesque flaws), and I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that I go to bed with the damn song in my head and I wake up with it still there. I can’t. Get it. Out.
I also can’t get the movie out of my head, in part because while I did just finish my review, I’m not done mulling over what it does sweetly and smartly, and where it falls back into the Disney party line of happy endings and traditional relationships … and then on yet another hand, where it makes some uncomfortable missteps regarding stereotypes and villains and secondary casting. When it’s smart, it’s very smart; I love that our heroine, Giselle (a spectacular Amy Adams) gets to use her skills, fairy-tale based and all, to guide at least part of her own future. But I don’t love that the movie sets up a false rival for her in Nancy, the girlfriend (played by the original Elphaba in Wicked, Idina Menzel) of the man she meets in New York, nor that really both of her enemies (though Nancy isn’t really her enemy so much as an awkward obstacle to Twoo Wuv) are other women. Perhaps there’s something deeper there about Giselle overcoming other parts of her female self to grow up, but it feels more like the pretty princess type defeating the older, single woman (Nancy gets her own happy ending, but I’m unsure how I feel about that one as well). Yes, that’s somewhat classic, but does it have a place in a film that puports to turn the classics a little bit on their head?
(I feel that when I say “Disney movies” I should have specified; maybe something like “Disney movies in which a substantial part of the plot is Getting the Guy.” There are exceptions; I have an un-guilty love for Lilo and Stitch for example. But Disney is an easy touchstone for a lot of storytelling and example-setting issues with regard to kids, especially young girls, who are shown again and again that they’re the ones who need rescuing and romancing, always by a white guy with a big chin, preferably on horseback. Sigh. Of course, there’s also the argument that this is a kneejerk reaction to stories that are just sweet and happy and easily digestible. I don’t think either of these things goes deep enough, but I’ve only had one cup of coffee and it’s the first workday of the new year. Go easy on me. Please?)
Thoughts still bubbling here. Maybe more to come.