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Film: Ella Enchanted
A fairy tale adventure for the hero in all of us

Ella Enchanted is a 2004 film loosely based on the novel of the same name by Gail Carson Levine.

The basic premise is the same as in the novel: At birth, Ella, the protagonist, is given the "gift" of obedience by Lucinda, a fairy. Thus is Ella Blessed with Suck. She is forced to obey every direct order given to her, no matter what.

Where the film goes from there differs significantly. The approach is more broadly comedic than the novel, with a Purely Aesthetic Era setting and the addition that Ella even obeys commands that are physically impossible: for instance, if she is ordered to "Freeze" in mid-leap, she will hang frozen in mid-air until the order is countermanded.

The film contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The girls in the fanclub for Char, though Hattie and Olive fit this most of all.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Dame Olga, Hattie, and Olive aren't as ugly, overweight, or bald as they are in the books.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Peter of Frell, Ella's father is not the rude and manipulative Jerk Ass he is in the novel.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Sir Edgar.
    • What Ella correctly assumes about Sir Edgar, but incorrectly about Prince Char. She also assumes the latter is a Royal Brat as well as an Idle Rich.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Hilariously subverted — Char's coronation was a setup by Sir Edgar, who then, once exposed, crowned himself... forgetting that he had poisoned the crown with intent to kill Char at the moment of crowning.
  • Black Belt in Origami: Ella encounters Mooks bullying the elf Slannen. After he (semi-unintentionally) orders her to help him, she threatens the Mooks with origami. Unfortunately for her, one of the guards knows what origami actually is.
    Guard: Paper folding?
    Ella: Oh... I was hoping you wouldn't know what that was.
  • Blondes Are Evil/Dumb Blonde: Dame Olga, Hattie, and Olive.
  • Boogie Knights: The armored castle guards join in with the Dance Party Ending.
  • Butt Monkey: Slannen of Pimm, an elf who wants to be a lawyer, and befriends Ella on her journey.
  • Captain Obvious: Olive.
    I'll bet [Char] showers naked!
  • Crash-Into Hello: How Ella and Prince Char meet.
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Color-Coded Characters: The color motifs of some of the characters
    • Ella - Blue
    • Prince Char - Blue
    • Slannen - Green
    • Hattie - Orange
    • Olive - Purple
    • Sir Edgar - Red and Black
    • Dame Olga - Black
  • Damsel in Distress: Ella tries to defy this throughout the film, but her blessing/curse immobilizes her from escaping or rescuing herself from dangerous situations. Char ends up saving her life on multiple occasions.
  • Dance Party Ending: To the tune of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart".
  • Deadly Hug: Ella almost gives one to Char after Sir Edgar learns about her curse and starts manipulating her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ella.
    Hattie: (about Char) It's me he's going to have at the coronation.
    Ella: Yeah, in the middle of a table with an apple in your mouth.
    • Slannen and Benny too.
  • The Ditz: Mandy.
  • Double Meaning: When Char tells Ella that she is not like other girls, Ella responds, "You have no idea."
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: The unveiling of a statue of Prince Charmant at a medieval mall.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Ella takes her mother's necklace back from her stepsister this way.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Cary Elwes was clearly enjoying himself a bit too much.
  • Evil Uncle: Sir Edgar, to Prince Char. He killed his brother, Char's father, so that he could be King.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Giantville...where the Giants live.
  • Fantastic Racism: Any non-human creature, except Fairies, are forcefully relocated and enslaved, in order to do jobs that fit their stereotypes.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Geas: Ella's under one which compels her to obey not only any order she's given, but also suggestions such as by vendors to "buy this sandwich" and "try this perfume."
  • Giant Food: Ella encounters this when she travels to the land of giants.
  • Groupie Brigade: Prince Char
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sir Edgar foolishly does himself in by crowning himself with the poisoned crown intended to kill Prince Char.
  • Horseback Heroism: One of the many times Prince Charmont saves Ella's life is from an ogre's boiling pot when he comes up on his horse.
  • Illegal Guardian: Sir Edgar
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Prince Charmont tells Ella that he finds her disdain of him appealing, as it contrasts so sharply with the attitude of his extremely large fan club.
  • Improbable Food Budget: How a door-to-door watch salesman (and a lousy one, at that) manages to feed and clothe his entire household is not explained well. However, the cook is a fairy, which might explain why there's enough food to go around, at least.
  • Instant Awesome Just Add Ninjas: The Red Guard is basically a group of medieval ninjas. In a European fantasy kingdom. Given the other anachronisms already shown, it's not that farfetched. The fact that they are summoned by breaking the glass on a button box just makes it better.
  • Involuntary Dance: Ella is compelled to sing and dance for the entertainment of some giants after some of them yell out for her to do so.
  • Jerkass: Lucinda not only Blesses Ella With Suck, when Ella pleads and begs for her to remove the "gift", Lucinda is offended and refuses, declaring arrogantly "everybody loves my gifts". She not only shows no interest in why Ella would want it removed, but while Ella chained herself to a tree to try and avoid obeying Edgar's order to kill Char, Lucinda frees her and orders her to go to the ball. She's practically a villain in her own right.
  • Karma Houdini: Unlike the book, Lucinda never realizes how wrong her "gifts" are, and in the extended ending we're meant to cheer on her Kick the Son of a Bitch moment against Hattie.
    • Added to that, Ella's stepmother and stepsisters get off scot-free (although Hattie gets turned into a frog in the alternate ending, and Ella's father files for divorce against Olga).
  • Kick the Dog: Hattie and Olive forcing Ella to steal a number of expensive items from a market stall, get her arrested, have her blame Areida for it, then have her go to the door when she comes to visit, tell her that she never wants to see her again and tell her that she could never be friends with an Ayorthian. Fortunately, Areida forgives Ella by the end.
  • Killer Rabbit: Parodied. While travelling through the forest, Slannen hears rustling and fears for his life. It turns out that it was just cute little bunny.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Prince Charmont, who gallantly saves Ella's life exactly three times.
  • Large Ham: If there is one reason to watch this movie, it is for Cary Elwes in his most hammy splendor.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ella has to obey any command given to her, even if she is the one giving it. She escapes the curse this way at the end by commanding herself to stop being obedient. Apparently, it had never occurred to her to try this before; possibly it wasn't an option before Lucinda, after Ella begged her to remove the curse, told her, "Get out of it yourself."
  • Meaningful Name: The name of the kingdom is Lamia and Sir Edgar's theme is snakes.
  • Midair Motion Shot: Played with - when Ella is ordered by someone to "stop!" during a leap over a barrel, Ella is stopped in mid air in a split.
  • Missing Mom: Ella's mother dies when she's young.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: Jokingly. After rescuing Ella from ogres that want to eat her, Char asks Ella if she gets a kick out of near-death experiences. At that point in the movie, these included nearly getting run down by a carriage (Char inadvertently put her in that situation by telling her to stay put while he goes and gets her bag, leaving her stuck in the middle of the road with a carriage bearing down on her).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Prince Char. In one scene he's removed his shirt and vest to allow Ella to put a bandage on his arm, leaving him in nothing but leather pants.
  • Not Like Other Girls:
    Prince Charmont: Ella of Frell, you're not like other girls.
    Ella: You have no idea.
  • Obviously Evil: Sir Edgar, with his black and red clothing and his snake. It's a wonder that people trust him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Slannen's actor who plays the character with an American accent, but his genuine Irish accent slips now and then.
  • Playing with Puppets: When Edgar demonstrates to Ella that he's aware of her curse, he makes her touch her toes, jump up and down on the spot, and dance the Hokey-Cokey before getting on with his actual plan.
  • Poke the Poodle: Subverted in Sir Edgar's case. When he finds out about Ella's curse, the first thing he does is humiliate her in entertaining ways. However, his snake informs him to stay on task.
  • Pretty Boy: Prince Char.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: The setting is a Medieval spin on the modern world: the people may be riding carriages, but those carriages sure do look similar to yellow taxis...
  • Race Lift: When Ella meets Char in the book, he's described as having "tawny, curly hair and swarthy skin" like his father; she's surprised that he has freckles given his dark complexion. In the movie, he's white.
  • Regent for Life: Sir Edgar.
  • The Runaway: The Abused Runaway. Abused by her step-mother.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: The reason why Hattie doesn't think it matters if Char's rulings (or what people believe are his political decisions) are unfair or racist/species-ist; he's dreamy!
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Carey Elwes' character catches the Idiot Ball in the most blatant (yet hilarious) manner possible when he puts on the crown he himself had previously poisoned in order to murder his nephew at the coronation.
  • Shout-Out: To the original fairy tale of Cinderella
    Hattie: Uh, shouldn't you be at home cleaning the fireplace, huh?
    • Hattie orders Ella to steal a pair of glass slippers.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Ella and Areida become this.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Many of the Giantesses.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in a Crowd Song to end the film.
    • Lampshaded by the narrator.
    Narrator: Such is the tale of Ella of Frell, a spunky young woman once under a spell. If there's one thing it to learn it's you just can't go wrong, if you follow your heart and end with a song
  • Tinkle in the Eye: When Lucinda lifts baby Ella, she pees on Lucinda's clothes, much to the amusement of Ella's mother.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Slannen the elf falls in love with a giantess.
  • Token Minority: Areida and Lucinda.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sir Edgar.
  • True Blue Femininity: Ella's Color Motif.
  • Un Paused: Ella is ordered to freeze by the guards as she is in mid-leap over a wine barrel. When the order is countermanded, she crushes it beneath her.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sir Edgar breaks down when he is confronted with the information that he had killed his own brother and tried to do in Prince Char so he could the kingdom himself, insisting only he is fit enough to rule.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The critical moment of the movie is at midnight; Char chose to propose at midnight in the Hall of Mirrors because his father did that too. Since Edgar's instructions regarding the sequence of events were quite specific "At midnight etc. etc." one wonders what would've happened had Char been delayed or something.
  • Witch with a Capital B:
    The Narrator: So, as her step-family scratched their newly found itches, Ella was off, glad to be rid of the—witches.


The Dust FactoryFilms of 2000 - 2004 Envy
Edward ScissorhandsFantasy FilmsEnchanted

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