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Enchanted

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Scary Images and Mild Innuendo)

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel and Susan Sarandon

Written by: Bill Kelly

Directed by: Kevin Lima

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Fantasy Comes To Life, Carrie Underwood Music Video, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (20 Scenes)

Released: March 18th, 2008

 

 

"Enchanted" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (though the animated is 1.85:1, before stretching and filling the frame when Giselle enters the real world). The animated sequences are in primo quality, with fine detail and vibrant color saturation - Andalasia looks like a moving painting. Unfortunately, the majority of the movie - which is in live-action - has a lot of flaws in the transfer. Edge enhancement is apparent, and there is a lot of noise and distracting edge halos too. Sometimes the transfer is a bit grainy, and some of the film's more arresting shots - like Giselle making her way through Times Square - come across too soft, and lack sharpness and punch (that can be said about a lot of the scenes that take place at night, actually). Still, there is enough to recommend here: detail is fine, fleshtones are accurate and color saturation is often pretty bold. In all, I was a little disappointed by the transfer: I was hoping for overall image quality to be sharper, and not feel hit-and-miss. Still, it is quite watchable. If you can though, I'd go with the Blu-ray version.

 

It's been awhile since I remember a Disney release having both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 tracks, but they are both here on "Enchanted." Both tracks have dialogue that is very crisp and always easy to hear, while the music - Alan Menken's instrumental score, and the songs he co-wrote with Stephen Schwartz - sound fantastic through the channels. The music is creatively mixed, feels fresh and positively rich. Certainly, the film feels most alive sonic-wise during these scenes.

And of course, there are plenty of surround effects coming at you, putting you in the middle of this crazed fairy tale: the busy streets of Manhattan, the stereotypical New York creatures scrubbing and brushing an apartment, and the action-packed finale where an evil dragon soars in the midst of a giant rain storm. Imaging on both tracks are great during these scenes, and the sound effects sound pretty discrete. Subwoofer use is also pretty plentiful, and aggressive but not too bombastic.

Still, in the epic, age-old battle between Dolby Digital and DTS, I have to give the DTS the edge here. I felt the track sounded a bit tighter and had a bit more power, and some of the smaller surrounds carried a bit more weight. In any case, whatever track you choose, you're in for a great experience.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are included in French and Spanish too, and there are subtitles in English, French and Spanish. 
 



For what was a smash hit over the holiday season, I am a little surprised there isn't more bonus features to go around. First up is Fantasy Comes To Life, which is a series of three featurettes: "Happy Working Song," "That's How You Know" and "A Blast At The Ball." These are nice, little pieces that last a few minutes each where we see all the elements that went into making these sequences - such as storyboards,  the perspectives of songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, thoughts from the actors, director Kevin Lima, producer Barry Josepheson, executive producer Chris Chase and some of the visual effects crew. These are all solid and entertaining, showcasing the film's most memorable sequences. In all, this series runs 17 minutes or so. And if you click the note on the sign, you'll be treated to the Carrie Underwood music video.

Also on the disc are six Deleted Scenes, each with introductions by director Kevin Lima. Some of the scenes are actually alternate versions to what's shown in the film (or in the last "scene," it's more like a couple of deleted shots). In any case, there isn't much to be missed here - and Lima justifys his cuts well. The scenes are in anamorphic widescreen, and do look a bit grainy. In total, this material barely lasts eight minutes. There are also two minutes worth of Bloopers, some of which are cute.

Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure features the animated sidekick in his own magical adventure that the kids should enjoy, as it fills in some story details in the world of Andalasia while Giselle is in New York. Somewhat ironically, the animation is pretty stiff. (Then again, I guess it's supposed to be a pop-up book.)

Also, click on the Mickey sign and you get a subtle promotion for the Blu-ray release of the movie.


I feel "Enchanted" is a bit on the flawed side, that doesn't always live up to its imaginative premise. Still, it's definitely one of the better family-oriented films to come along in quite along time that doesn't have the Pixar name on it, and Disney fanatics are sure to love the various homages. The DVD is a bit lacking on the extras side, and the transfer leaves something to be desired, but the DTS and Dolby Digital mixes will surely bring your home theater to life. Disney fans and those with families, it's a decent purchase. Though I somehow get the suspicion Disney may double-dip this title in the future...