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Ella Enchanted (*** for children)
Directed by Tommy O'Haver
Written by Laurie Craig, Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten Smith from the book by Gail Carson Levine
Principal Cast
Anne Hathaway -- Ella of Frell
Hugh Dancy -- Prince Charmont
Cary Elwes -- Prince Regent Edgar
Vivica A. Fox -- Fairy Lucinda
Joanna Lumley -- Dame Olga
Minnie Driver -- Mandy
Aidan McArdle -- Slannen the Elf
Eric Idle -- Narrator
Patrick Bergin -- Sir Peter
Jennifer Higham -- Olive
Parminder Nagra -- Areida
Lucy Punch -- Hattie
Jimi Mistry -- Benny
Jim Carter -- Nish
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Ella Enchanted This film almost flew below my radar, since I assumed it was a quickie attempt to cash in on Shrek 2. That wasn't fair of me. Adults may find Ella Enchanted too silly, but children -- especially little girls -- will love it.

Somebody (C.S. Lewis?) said that if a children's book is good, then adults will enjoy it as well. And if it does not interest adults, it won't interest children either. That's a nice apologetic for us adults who love children's books, but it is not really true. There are books, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Holes, Peter Pan, that are loved by both adults and children. There are children's books that are loved more by adults than by children, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland, for example. And there are books that are loved by children that are too simple or too silly for adults. The Lemony Snicket books fall into that category, as does Ella Enchanted.

Ella Enchanted falls in that category of modern fairy tale where anachronisms supply a great deal of the humor. The Prince has a fan club. Fairies hang out at Ye Olde Mall. That sort of thing. It is all done briskly and with good spirits.

The premise, which you know from the previews, is that Ella has both the compulsion and the ability to do whatever she is told. If you tell her "stop" when she is in midair, she stops in midair. The silly premise is that such a compulsion would, somehow, fail to be obvious to everyone around her within the first five minutes. Another silly premise is that Ella, with no training and no compulsion, knows Kung Fu. If you can swallow those two impossible ideas before breakfast, then by all means take your daughters to see Ella. There is a good deal of fun to be had.

Copyright © 2004 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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