09 February 2008

Enchanted มหัศจรรย์รักข้ามภพ

Yesterday after work we decided to see a film at Paragon. I was wavering between Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd and Walt Disney's Enchanted. I didn't know what possessed me and made me choose the latter; perhaps it's a long day yesterday and I wanted to see some feel-good films. And tell you what -- Enchanted is in fact a really feel-good film, and it can make you feel so good you can puke.

Despite rave reviews, I didn't like the film that much. It's too clean and the plot seems directed to a certain 'happy' ending it has planned no matter ludicrous many events can appear to be. I know Walt Disney tries to offer a new version of fairy-tale by having it set in the urban background of New York. Disney even agrees to have cockroaches and rats accompany Giselle (our Princess-to-be) in her singing act. Disney even allows Giselle to fight the evil stepmother who takes the form of a formidable dragon to save the life of her urban prince (notice the gender reversal).

But of course I went to see the film expecting something more transgressive and radical, such that the princess is transported into New York and along the way she is transformed into a lesbian or a transvestite. Or the fairy-tale prince who decides to come to New York to help her is turned into a toad or a singing washing machine. I don't know why I'm not that impressed with this sugar-coated facade; perhaps of late I've seen so many weird films that I can no longer relate to reality or the beauty of fairy tale. Perhaps I'm still too cynical to enjoy it. Perhaps I just hate the happy ending. Perhaps, more important of all, I just don't believe it!

I admitted that Walt Disney has tried hard to put some mildly transgressive elements into the film, but I think the film is still mainly targeted to young children or those adults who pretend to believe, or delude themselves into believing, that such a fairy-tale world and such a fairy-tale turn of events can happen in the real world.

Besides, I still believe that the film dwells on certain prejudices such as the casting of the evil as a woman, whereas all men in the film are good, even Nathaniel who was originally the wicked queen's sidekick but who subsequently chooses to help the prince and Giselle instead. Also, the prejudiced use of colour -- blonde and brunette -- is also significant. Giselle has blonde hair while Nancy has brunette hair. Giselle has always been the superior princess with her blonde hair, her innocence, and her easy-going character. She's quite easy to be tamed. Nancy, efficient and sophisticated, is not allowed that role because she's not as easily tamed. Hence, the plot gets rid of her by sending her to Andalasia to marry the fairy-tale prince instead (which for me is more like a punishment).

The princes are also interesting. Giselle's final decision to be with Robert Philip instead of Prince Edward reveals a stark message: even though Philip is not as good-looking as Edward, but what he has is money. The scene where Giselle is out with Philip's daughter shopping and using Philip's credit card is to me quite 'dirty', as it somehow tells the audience that princesses in the modern world should like to go shopping and spending money to make themselves look beautiful. What is worse is that they are not beautiful for their own benefit, but they're beautiful for men's benefit. In this case, Giselle dresses up to please men, both Edward and Philip, at the ball. Perhaps Giselle's choice turns to be quite realistic: in the real world of fully-grown capitalism you should go out with someone who is wealthy enough to pay your bill, rather than with a handsome guy with just idiotic dreams but no money.

Sad, init? But I think this message is well-hidden behind Giselle's melodious voice and a cute chipmunk (who I think is the best character of this film).

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