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June 3, 2008
Enchanted Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/12/200721/5/2008Walt DisneyKevin Lima
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 5.1GAmy Adams

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Believe it or not, that is Susan Sarandon.

As every movie fan would be aware Walt Disney Studios are the kings when it comes to animation. With movies such as Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Mulan and Beauty and the Beast (to name a few) no other company comes close. Enchanted is the biggest fairy tale of them all, but offers a unique, and engrossing, twist, as the animated characters are brought to life when they are brought to real life. Before we give you our impressions let's look at the story...

Featuring an all-star cast, Enchanted follows the beautiful princess, Giselle (Amy Adams) as she is banished by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon) from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan.

Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn't operate on a "happily ever after" basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who has come to her aid – even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince (James Marsden) back home – she has to wonder: can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

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Amy Adams is the star of Enchanted.
Directed by Kevin Lima (who co-directed the brilliant 2000 animated Tarzan, but also the rather dreadful 102 Dalmatians) we are pleased to report that this is a delightful movie from start to end with tight direction, a good pace and some wonderful set pieces - not least of which is the great end sequence. Amy Adams really is the star of this show as the screen seems to light up when she is on there with her gorgeous flame red hair. Another surprise package is James Marsden as Prince Edward. He is over the top, but rather amusing and most importantly can sing (Which many of you would be aware of if you've seen Hairspray). The supporting cast are also top rate with Susan Sarandon putting in a delightful performance as Queen Narissa while the final battle is very entertaining indeed.

It must be pointed out that Enchanted is about as family friendly as a movie gets these days. There is no toilet humour, no sexual references, no swearing and only some very light non-impactful violence. Surprisingly though this remains a movie that anyone of any age will enjoy. It certainly surprised me.

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Visuals and colouring are impressive.

Enchanted comes to Blu-Ray from Walt Disney Studios encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at 1080p in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It must be pointed out though that the opening animations are framed at 1.85:1 with (intentional) black borders on the left and right of the image as well as the top and bottom (I thought I'd mention that so people don't complain when they see this disc for the first time!). From the very opening scenes of this movie - that being the more then 10 minute animation - you know this release is something very special indeed. The image is crystal clear with not a hint of compression artifacting. Colours are vibrant, animation smooth and the detail impressive.

When the "real world" film starts as Giselle enters New York the image continues to demonstrate reference quality for a Blu-Ray disc. Fitting into the regular tone of a Disney movie the city is bright and colourful, even in the darker scenes, and this light and vibrant tone continues from start to finish and is certainly assisted by the High Definition transfer.

Technical issues with the video are few and far between. In fact, besides the odd scene or two slightly out of focus, or seemingly less detailed this transfer is near faultless. Chalk this up as another winner on Blu-Ray from Disney.

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Enjoying the Italian restaurant, for now.
Interestingly while the retail packaging for Enchanted indicates a PCM 5.1 track, the disc actually contains an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Typically you don't relate brilliant audio with a "children’s" movie, but this is one of the exceptions. From the animated sections, to real-life film, the audio is fantastic, with solid use of surround sound channels and sub woofer.

Three songs in this movie were nominated for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song at the Academy Awards. Those songs were "Happy Working Song", "So Close" and "That's How You Know". Needless to say the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track offers the best possible listening format for these songs with stunningly clear reproductions of the tracks.

Other audio tracks on this Enchanted Blu-Ray disc include French, Italian and German Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 640kbps, and also Italian and German DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 1.5Mbps. We sampled each of these tracks briefly in various segments of the film and have to say you will be impressed no matter the version. One does have to ask though if the doubling up of some of these tracks could have been avoided to include improved visuals, or additional extras.

Subtitles are provided in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, German and Italian. We checked out the English track and found it to be accurate to the dialogue on screen.

While not fully loaded, the Blu-Ray release of Enchanted includes some nice extras worth checking out. Enough talk, let's get onto it...

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Visual effects are quite nice.
D-Files: Now this is, without a doubt the best Java based game we have seen on a Blu-Ray disc to date. When you start this up the movie plays but at certain points will pop up multiple choice type questions which you have to answer. I'm not the biggest Disney fan in the world, but there was a good mix of rather easy, to rather hard, questions so anyone can enjoy this. Should you get the questions right the movie branches off to small featurettes about the question you've just answered with many containing scenes from other animated movies. Best of all if you don't have the time to finish the D-Files you can save your progress and return later. There's also some nice bonuses depending on your score achieved (see "Bonus Featurettes" below).

Bloopers (2:11/HD): A rather short series of bloopers from the production of the film. Entertaining, but too brief.

Fantasy Comes to Life (17:50/HD): A documentary split into three parts, "Happy Working Song", "That's How You Know" and "A Blast at the Ball" which cover the animals during the singing of the Happy Working Song, filming in Central Park and the final battle. Sadly there's not a lot of information here, or at least not as much as we wanted to see. I really wanted to see an extended look at the making of the animation, but it's not to be.

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Disney's Enchanted is worth a look.
Deleted Scenes (8:05): Six deleted scenes which are introduced by Kevin Lima. Many are only storyboarded, and sadly only presented in Standard Definition. Still, there are a couple here which would have been nice in the film.

Music Video Carrie Underwood "Ever Ever After" (3:33/HD): A single music video for Carrie Underwood's "Ever Ever After". There's some nice animation mixed in with real footage.

Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure (5:37/HD): A short "pop-up" styled animated movie which looks pretty nice, but is really aimed at a much younger audience.

Bonus Featurettes (HD): Three bonus features are unlocked by completing the D-Files featurette and achieving a high enough score. "So Close", "Making Ever Ever After" and "True Love's Kiss" are all quite nice and worth a look should you complete the D-Files to a sufficient level.

To be brutally honest I really wasn't looking forward to watching Enchanted too much. Disney movies generally aren't my cup of tea, but I walked away from this movie impressed. It's certainly aimed at a younger audience, but there is plenty to admire here with a witty script, fine acting and plenty of in-jokes and references to other Disney movies which film buffs will enjoy. The presentation on Blu-Ray is nothing short of superb and would be a welcome addition to any Blu-Ray library.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Walt Disney. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.