The tale is set in the fairytale land of Andalasia where the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), scheming to keep her throne for as long as she can, has kept her step-son Prince Edward (James Marsden) well away from any marriagable fair maidens.
However, when fate (and her singing) causes the prince to encounter the fair Giselle (Amy Adams) while out hunting ogres in the forest, the pair of them fall in love and plan to marry the next day. Not to be so easily thwarted, Narissa, disguised as an old hag, persuades Giselle to try the old wishing well in the castle gardens but, when the girl has her eyes closed, she pushes her in, banishing her to a world where there are no happy ever afters - New York City.
In New York, Giselle meets divorce attorney Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his 6 year old daughter and tries to come to terms with life in the real world while absolutely sure that her true love Edward will come to her rescue. Of course Narissa has plans to make sure that she never returns.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before Disney once again milked the success of movies like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella but it works quite well here. Giselle is an amalgam of all three Disney heroines and the tale mixes in many different characters and story elements from all three movies - a damsel in distress, a handsome prince (or two), an evil witch queen and her nasty henchman, lots of friendly forest animals, a fair smattering of magic and a dragon.
The visuals are excellent. From the two dimensional, cel-animation land of Andalasia, where everything looks like those classic Disney animations of old, to the three-dimensional animations when some of the characters and effects reach through into the real world. As for the cast, Susan Sarandon is nastily good as the evil queen Narissa and Timothy Spall does a good job as her besotted servant Nathaniel. James Marsden plays the perfect fairytale prince with lots of gusto and Amy Adams is spot on as Giselle, a maiden who believes happy ever after is for real. Patrick Dempsey does the down to earth lawyer role very well even if he doesn't get any laughs.
It's all very cleverly done and, with a goodly amount of visual gags that will appeal to kids and adults, it's an ideal movie for the Christmas break and well worth catching in the cinema with the kids for the big screen experience.
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
My Rating: 7/10