When she was born, a fairy cast a spell on poor Ella of Frell (The Princess Diaries’ Hathaway) that makes her obey any command. When her father remarries and her nasty stepsisters discover they can order Ella to do anything they please, Ella decides to set off on a journey to get the annoying curse finally removed.
This is a fun 21st-century take on fairy-tale adventures – this gal doesn’t need rescuing from a dashing hero and is, in fact, far cannier than the movie’s Prince Charming (actually called Prince Char, and the face that adorns thousands of fantasy-world teen magazines), who is being manipulated by his cruel uncle Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes). Of course, the film owes a debt to the knowing humour and adventure of The Princess Bride (and adult viewers will get a kick out of the fact that that film’s hero, Elwes, gets to be the baddie here), and the faux-medieval settings (with modern-day references thrown in) of A Knight’s Tale and Shrek, but director Tommy O’Haver adds enough of his own touches to make this fresh and fun. There are a couple of unnecessary song-and-dance numbers to endure, but tweeny audiences should be delighted by Anne Hathaway’s sweet performance and nice supporting turns from a cast that also includes Minnie Driver, Jimi Mistry, Eric Idle (the narrator) and a gorgeously over-the-top Joanna Lumley as Ella’s wicked stepmother.
Is Ella Enchanted suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Towards the end there is a scene in a mirror room that young (under 10s) viewers may find scary.