Ben Oliver

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Ella Enchanted

Ella, tell me how you really feel about me.
15 May 2021

In a magical fairytale land, a baby girl (Anne Hathaway) is given a ‘gift’ by a fairy - she must always do as she’s told. When she grows up, she goes on a journey to find the fairy and lift the spell.

It’s hard to watch a 2004 send-up of fairy tales without thinking of Shrek, but Ella Enchanted is a little more earnest and a little more camp. The script isn’t quite as sharp or memorable but I can see why it’s gathered a bit of a cult following over the years, it doesn’t try as hard to get laughs.

Its gentle sense of humour is infectious, and I liked the bright colour palette and larger than life set design. Anne Hathaway is great and her musical number is unexpectedly good.

The screenplay is a little careless and leaves the audience constantly thinking of loopholes in Ella’s predicament. Plus it frequently gets sidetracked from its story for no good reason.

I know it was 2004 but there is some bad green screen here, even for the time. Perhaps the budget wasn’t there for more practical effects, who knows, but it shows through in some fairly long scenes.

A surprisingly good rom-com fantasy that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

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