Ella Enchanted (film)

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Ella Enchanted
EllaEnchantedFilmPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTommy O'Haver
Produced byJane Startz
Susan Miller
Screenplay byKaren McCullah Lutz
Kirsten Smith
Based onElla Enchanted 
by Gail Carson Levine
Narrated byEric Idle
StarringAnne Hathaway
Hugh Dancy
Cary Elwes
Steve Coogan
Aidan McArdle
Minnie Driver
Vivica A. Fox
Music byNick Glennie-Smith
CinematographyJohn de Borman
Editing byMasahiro Hirakubo
StudioJane Startz Productions
Blessington Film Productions
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release dates
  • April 9, 2004 (2004-04-09)
Running time96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Ireland
LanguageEnglish
Budget$31 million[1]
Box office$27,388,767
 
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Ella Enchanted
EllaEnchantedFilmPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTommy O'Haver
Produced byJane Startz
Susan Miller
Screenplay byKaren McCullah Lutz
Kirsten Smith
Based onElla Enchanted 
by Gail Carson Levine
Narrated byEric Idle
StarringAnne Hathaway
Hugh Dancy
Cary Elwes
Steve Coogan
Aidan McArdle
Minnie Driver
Vivica A. Fox
Music byNick Glennie-Smith
CinematographyJohn de Borman
Editing byMasahiro Hirakubo
StudioJane Startz Productions
Blessington Film Productions
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release dates
  • April 9, 2004 (2004-04-09)
Running time96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Ireland
LanguageEnglish
Budget$31 million[1]
Box office$27,388,767

Ella Enchanted is a 2004 British-American romantic comedy film loosely based on Gail Carson Levine's 1997 novel of the same name. The film stars Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Charmont. It plays with the usual fairy tale genre. It was released in North America on April 9, 2004 and in the UK on December 17, 2004.

Plot[edit]

In the kingdom of Frell, baby Ella (Anne Hathaway) is given the "gift of obedience" by a misguided and obnoxious fairy called Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). This is more of a curse, making Ella do anything she is told to, but only Lucinda can reverse it. Ella's mother tells Ella keep the curse secret; after she dies, only the household fairy, Mandy (Minnie Driver), knows about it.

Several years later, Ella's father (Patrick Bergin) remarries to a wealthy socialite, Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), who dislikes Ella. Her spoiled daughters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) notice Ella's obedience and begin making her life miserable. Ella stumbles upon Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), the handsome heir who will soon take the throne, as he's being pursued by his fan club of besotted young women. He invites Ella to the Coronation Ball, but Olga intercepts the invitation. Hattie and Olive, fan club members themselves, are overcome with jealousy. They force Ella to insult and cut ties with her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra).

Ella cannot bear her situation a moment longer, so she resolves to find Lucinda. Mandy tries to help by lending Ella her boyfriend Benny (Jimi Mistry), who she accidentally transformed into a talking magical book that can show people in their current surroundings. During her journey, Ella encounters an elf named Slannen (Aidan McArdle), who wants to be a lawyer instead of an entertainer as the kingdom's laws now require. They are both captured by a group of ogres, who want to eat them. Prince Charmont rescues them and accompanies them to a wedding in the land of giants, where Ella hopes to find Lucinda. En route, Ella opens Char's eyes to the cruelty of the laws oppressing elves and giants established by the acting ruler, Char's uncle Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes). Char invites Ella to visit the Hall of Records at the palace and find Lucinda faster. But Edgar's talking snake, Heston (voiced by Steve Coogan), is spying on them.

At the palace, Heston tells Edgar about Ella's obedience, which Hattie confirms when Edgar offers her Char's hand in marriage. Knowing that Char intends to marry Ella, Edgar orders her to kill him when he proposes, and tell no one. Edgar also reveals that he murdered Char's father. To save Char, Ella asks Slannen to tie her to a tree and to get the giants to help. Ella writes Char a letter, saying she is leaving permanently and cannot explain why, which breaks his heart. Lucinda then appears before Ella, who asks her to undo the "gift" of obedience. Lucinda, offended, tells Ella to remove it herself. She unties Ella, gives her a fancy dress, and tells her to attend the ball, where Char almost immediately takes her to the Hall of Mirrors and asks her to marry him.

Ella is about to stab him with the dagger Edgar provided, when she realizes Lucinda has provided the answer: looking into a mirror, she says, "You will no longer be obedient!" She drops the dagger and Char sees it. Edgar is spying on them, and before Ella can explain, he orders the guards to lock her up, to be executed in a few days.

Meanwhile, Slannen, the giants, and the ogres all sneak into the castle to rescue Ella. They find out that Edgar is poisoning the crown Char will receive during the ceremony. Ella and her allies burst in just in time to stop him putting it on. Edgar and Heston call for the knights and Red Guards, and a battle ensues. Ella explains everything while fighting alongside Char. When Edgar's forces lose, Heston tries to bite Char, but is stopped by Ella. Caught trying to kill the prince, Edgar admits to the crowd that he killed the King. Then, carried away by his own rhetoric, he puts the crown dramatically on his own head, and promptly collapses from the poison, although he survives.

Char and Ella kiss; her stepsisters arrive and order her to stop, but she is delighted to refuse. Char once again asks Ella to marry him, and she agrees: "Now that I'll do." The movie ends with their wedding and a musical number.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Hathaway, who first read the book when she was 16, says that there was originally a version of the script that was much closer to the book but that it didn't work as a film; she added that she prefers the way the movie actually turned out because it "makes fun of itself for being a fairy tale."[2] Levine states that the film is "so different from the book that it's hard to compare them," noting the addition of new characters such as Sir Edgar and Heston, and suggested "regarding the movie as a separate creative act".[3] Hathaway did her own singing in the film.[4][2]

Jimi Mistry, a British actor of Indian descent, said that he enjoyed playing a talking book in the film because it offered him the opportunity to do something different from his other roles. "You can't get less Indian than a talking book, and an American talking book, so it was great," he said.[5]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 50% based on 114 reviews.[6] On Metacritic it scored 53% based on reviews from 30 critics.[7]

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3 1/2 stars out of 4, praising it as "the best family film so far this year" (April 9, 2004).[8]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack was released April 6, 2004 by Hollywood Records and features Kelly Clarkson's cover of "Respect" along with "Somebody to Love" and "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart", both as covered by Jesse McCartney and Anne Hathaway.

Release[edit]

Miramax released the film on April 9, 2004 and after Disney sold Miramax to colony capital, Disney still owns the rights to the film and stream for television on their Disney Channel program on April 30, 2013 (as another re-issue).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ella Enchanted (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Murray, Rebecca. "Anne Hathaway on "Ella Enchanted" and Her Princess Roles". About.com. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  3. ^ "Gail Carson Levine". Kidsreads.com. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  4. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Hugh Dancy Captures Hearts in "Ella Enchanted"". About.com. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^ "Science Fiction News of the Week:". Science Fiction Weekly. Retrieved 2008-12-02. [dead link]
  6. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ella_enchanted/ 18 March 2009
  7. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/ellaenchanted
  8. ^ "Ella Enchanted". Chicago Sun-Times. 

External links[edit]