The Real and Animated worlds collide, and cause an enormous philosophical discussion on Fairy Tales.
Giselle: What sort of awful place is this?
Robert: It's reality!
Giselle: Well, I think I'd prefer to be in Andalasia.
's Affectionate Parody
of, well, a Disney movie
, specifically the ones that spawned the Disney Princesses
Giselle (Amy Adams
) lives in the beautiful animated land of Andalasia, where Genre Tropes
abound. She falls in Love at First Sight
with the handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden
), and they are to be wed the very next day. But his Wicked Stepmother
, the Queen(-Regent) Narissa (Susan Sarandon
), doesn't want to surrender the throne, so she throws Giselle down a Portal Pool
to modern-day, live-action New York City
. There she is rescued by Robert (Patrick Dempsey
), a divorce lawyer who doesn't put much stock in "Happily Ever After
". Prince Edward follows Giselle to New York in hopes of rescuing her, Robert's fiancée Nancy (Idina Menzel
) is caught in the middle, and Narissa sends her henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall
) in as well in hopes of putting an end to Giselle once and for all.
The movie is a Decon-Recon Switch
of classic Disney fairy tales, and continuously bounces between both ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
. Either way, though, it's still fun, never cheesy (save the opening, which is supposed
to be cheesy), and doesn't take itself too seriously. The hand-drawn animation in this film, as well as how well it won the audiences over, were probably yet another reason why Disney chose to return to producing 2D films on their own.
A sequel was announced for 2011, but composer Alan Menken
later reported that it became shelved. July 2014 saw the announcement of another attempt at a sequel.
Not to be confused with Ella Enchanted
, nor with Orson Scott Card
This film primarily provides parodies of the following tropes:
- Adoring the Pests: This movie is all over this trope. Giselle calls the "forest creatures" of New York (cockroaches, pigeons and rats) to help her clean up Robert's apartment. Hilarity Ensues when he walks in with the creatures still in the place.
- Inverted in that the citizens of New York find Pip the chipmunk as disgusting as any sewer vermin.
- Giselle, once she lands in New York.
- Prince Edward is this as well.
- Action Girl: After spending most of the movie as a Princess Classic, Giselle turns into either this or Action Survivor to fight the Big Bad.
- Affectionate Parody: Disney sends up their own animated canon, and they have a lot of fun doing it.
- All Men Are Perverts: "Remember, when you go out, not to put on too much makeup, otherwise the boys will get the wrong idea. And you know how they are... They're only after one thing." From the 6-year old, no less.
- All Part of the Show:
- The bystanders to the True Love's Kiss scene assume it was some kind of performance...until Narissa transformed into a dragon. And even then, some of them bemoan the special effects.
- Also, the patrons at the Italian restaurant applaud after Nathaniel's fight with Pip, although it's not clear whether they think it was all a show, or they're just that glad the rodent's gone.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Narissa in spades. Downplayed, if not subverted, by Nancy.
- And Starring: Susan Sarandon in the CBB.
- Angry Black Man: Gender Flipped by Robert's client and the bus driver that Edward encountered in Times Square, though the latter is really justified for being angry. Downplayed by the former's estranged husband. Completely averted by the guys who sang with Giselle at Central Park.
- Arc Words: "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss..."
- Art Shift: From animation to live action when Giselle gets banished to New York.
- Artistic License – Music: "So Close" is introduced as "The King's Waltz." Except that "So Close" is written in 6/8 time. Waltzes are always in 3/4.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: With her huge blue eyes, pale skin and pretty, up-turned nose, Amy Adams has the perfect look required to play a real-life Disney princess.
- Award Bait Song: "So Close", which weirdly enough, is the one song in the movie where the placement makes sense — it's used as the "slow dance" song at a ball. Giselle's magic voice not necessary! Strangely enough, it's a bittersweet love song — apt for our leading couple but presumably less so for the other dancers, who, while invited to dance with someone they did not come to the ball with, presumably do not have the same unresolved feelings for one another. Despite "So Close" being the only true award bait song, the film took 3 of the 5 nomination slots in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars. Although it lost to the Award Bait Song in Once, Enchanted's domination, a year after Dreamgirls accomplished the same feat, made the Academy put a one-song-per-film cap on the nominations.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Robert's client and her estranged husband.
- Badass Cape: Edward wears one.
- Battle in the Rain: During the Final Battle no less!
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Beauty Equals Goodness
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Giselle can never, ever get dirty. (She does get slightly dirty on the bottom of her dress in the beginning.)
- Betty and Veronica: Gender Flipped but otherwise played straight.
- Big Bad: Queen Narissa.
- Big Damn Kiss: Robert and Giselle's kiss in the rain near the end of the movie.
- Bigger on the Inside: Giselle's carriage has room for all of her animal friends, including a cow. Really, it was already quite a stunt to get her dress to fit in there comfortably.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: A rare in-universe version. Robert is confused when all of Central Park bursts spontaneously into song during the "That's How You Know". To him it's a BLAM. His reaction is also a lampshade of the Spontaneous Choreography, since unlike a pure BLAM the sequence also advances the plot. It leads to a romantic make-up gift from Robert to Nancy because of the earlier Not What It Looks Like scene.
- Big "NEVER!": Delivered by Narissa during the opening. It's so big, in fact, that she briefly appears to turn into a dragon.
- The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In / Stepping-Stone Sword: Giselle apparently has enough strength to make a thrown sword pierce a metal decoration, with enough strength to support a grown man's weight.
- Blithe Spirit: Giselle.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends with a literal opening and closing of a book, which is a Shout-Out to classic Disney films (see below).
- When this movie is aired on TV, a portion of Giselle and Morgan's conversation about "boys being after only one thing" is cut.
- The scene where Pip poops is omitted in the Disney Channel airings of the movie, but not in the ABC Family airings.
- The Disney Channel airing omits a scene in which Edward takes advantage of a guard's being distracted by a dog taking a leak in order to slip into Robert's apartment complex unnoticed. Instead, he is shown simply entering the apartment without having to distract anyone first.
- Brainless Beauty:
- Giselle too, though she improves by the end.
- Bystander Syndrome: Giselle, wearing a huge poofy wedding dress pops out of a manhole and runs into traffic, causing an accident, and babbling about a prince and a castle and gets nothing more than a few confused/annoyed Aside Glances — well, this is New York City! Stranger things happen every day.
- Cassandra Truth: Robert assumes that some old lady is lying to Giselle about having seen Edward, since Robert wasn't there to see Edward stab a bus.
- Celebrity Paradox:
- The scene where Edward rides on the roof of the bus frames him with a poster of Superman Returns, another James Marsden film, in the background. There's also a poster of a musical version of Hairspray, whose film version also has Marsden, but filming for Enchanted probably happened first.
- Additionally, you can see posters for both Wicked and RENT in Times Square... two musicals Idina Menzel (Nancy) is pretty famous for starring in.
- Chekhov's Skill: Pip's ability to be The Last Straw that weighs down a branch or building spire.
- Chewing the Scenery: The characters who came from Andalasia do this, though it's justified because it's an animated world.
- City of Weirdos: Once the main characters arrive in New York City. Robert is obviously the Straight Man to Giselle.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Nancy and Edward, after Robert falls for Giselle.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Nancy had shades of this during the ball.
- Cloudcuckooland: Andalasia.
- Clown Car: In the beginning, Giselle gets out of her coach in her wedding dress, and Nathaniel is run over by all the animals that were apparently in the coach with her. Even though her dress is so big, it's hard to tell how she fit in the car herself. One suspects that the coach must be a former TARDIS.
- Coincidental Broadcast: The TV in Edward's motel room is showing an interview with Giselle when he asks it to reveal where she is. It does appear that he's been channel surfing all evening, though.
- Composite Character: Narissa is a Captain Ersatz of both the evil queen from Snow White and Malificent.
- Could This Happen to You?: The news report of Pip being spotted at the restaurant parodies this, with the reporter rhetorically asking if this is a sign of a rising trend of rat infestations.
- Crapsack Only by Comparison: New York for Giselle, at least initially.
- Crash-Into Hello: Inverted. Giselle actually talked to Robert first before falling off the billboard.
- Creative Closing Credits: The credits featured animated silhouettes with a "woodblock printed paper" background, many of them references to previous Disney films.
- Creepy Cockroach: Played with in the "Happy Working Song". Cockroaches pitch in to help the rats and pigeons clean up the apartment.
- Crowd Song: "That's How You Know" parodies this as ruthlessly as is possible in a Disney movie with the scene in Central Park.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Played for Laughs when Nathaniel clips Pip to a hanger and leaves him in the closet.
- Curtain Clothing: On her second day in New York, Giselle makes herself a dress out of Robert's living room curtains (complete with shot of the curtains hanging in the windows with appropriately-shaped holes in them); Robert is upset. On day three, she makes herself another dress out of Morgan's bedclothes; by this point, Robert is merely resigned to fate.
- Cutting the Electronic Leash: Nancy, after lampshading how a cell phone still gets reception in a magical fairytale kingdom.
- Damsel in Distress: Gender Flipped, which Narissa humorously lampshades.
- Dance of Romance: The only possible explanation behind Nancy and Edward's Last Minute Hookup. The intended explanation was left on the cutting-room floor.
- Dances and Balls: Being a sort of parody on Fairy Tales, it has a dramatic and grand Dance Ball near the end. It's complete with Giselle looking stunning in her dress and Robert showing that, although he doesn't like dancing, he actually can.
- Dark Is Evil: Narissa, who is an extremely Aloof Dark-Haired Girl and a Woman in Black to boot.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Robert's client.
- Deadpan Snarker: Robert until his lifeview becomes more idealistic.
- Decon-Recon Switch: For princess and Disney fairytale tropes.
- Description Cut:
"Edward has a stepmother. Well, I've never met her, but I hear she's just lovely." (cut to Narissa entering Times Square dramatically, all dark and ominous)
- Of course, since she is Susan Sarandon, she is lovely, even when dark.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Queen Narissa's evil is brought to Edward's attention only when Nathaniel tells him she's evil.
- Disney Creatures of the Farce: In New York, Giselle's singing summons rats, pigeons, cockroaches, and flies!
- Hell, it could have been worse. She's lucky she didn't inadvertently shanghai the neighbors' housepets.
- Disney Villain Death: It's like they read the friggin' page. Oh wait...
- Distressed Dude: At the end of the film, Narissa turns into an enormous dragon, grabbing Robert and flying with him to the top of the Woolworth Building, forcing Giselle to save the day.
- Divorce Is Temporary: Robert's client and her husband have ultimately cancelled their plans for divorce thanks to Giselle's remark about their eyes sparkling upon gazing one another.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Giselle goes barefoot during the animated opening sequence.
- Double Subversion: A lot, due to the film's refusal to commit to being a parody or not.
- The Dragon: Nathaniel.
- Easily Forgiven: Nathaniel's past actions against certain characters (e.g. Giselle and Pip) aren't brought up once he makes his Heel-Face Turn.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Of course, since it's a parody of the movies that foster the mindset.
- Evil Overlooker: See the poster illustrating this article. That giant woman is Queen Narissa. And so is that giant dragon so she's in it twice, both times in a watching pose. How's that for overkill?
- Evil Sorceress: Narissa (see Vain Sorceress below).
- Evil Stepmother: Played straight with Narissa. Averted with Nancy and eventually Giselle herself.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Narissa.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Giselle and Nancy each wear one.
- Falling in Love Montage: Giselle and Robert dancing to "So Close" by John McLaughlin in the ball.
- Falling into His Arms: Played straight with Edward and Giselle, but more of a "Falling on top of his arms" with Giselle and Robert.
- False Soulmate: Towards the end, True Love's Kiss indicates that the couples Edward/Giselle and Robert/Nancy aren't meant to be with each other, but that Edward/Nancy and Robert/Giselle are.
- Fantastic Romance: Cartoon princess-to-be meets real world lawyer.
- And the very end provides us with real world woman meets cartoon prince.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Early on, Robert discourages Morgan's interest in fairy-tales. He tries to encourage her in more practical dreams, giving a book about real-world heroines such as Marie Curie and Eleanor Roosevelt. It's implied that his divorce has left him disillusioned about love.
- The Fashionista: Nancy, who is a fashion designer. When she left with Edward, Giselle takes over her business.
- Female Gaze: The "I'm angry!" scene in which Giselle feels anger for the first time and is thrilled. She gets very close to Robert, who's only wearing a bathrobe, and we're treated to a nice close up of her feeling up Patrick Dempsey's bare and exposed chest. It's her Love Epiphany and also implied to be the first time she's ever experienced sexual arousal.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Robert's divorce, a decision that deeply affected him and made him become a divorce lawyer.
- Fisher Kingdom: The animated sequences parody this
- Fish out of Water:
- Giselle, obviously, although a lot of things are ignored for the sake of keeping the plot on track.
- This actually gets subverted a bit, in the scene where Edward and Nathaniel are in a motel room, and turn on the TV. Initially, they're doing the traditional 'Fish out of Water' bit, but they fairly quickly figure out how to use it, that it's not tiny people trapped inside, and are even able to use the remote quite well. This is probably how someone who had never seen a TV would react: Alarm, but quick adaptation. They do continue to think of it as a controllable magic mirror, but honestly, that's pretty accurate. Their cultural world view just pre-assumes magic instead of technology.
- Similarly, Giselle doesn't know how the shower works, but figures it out very quickly without any fuss. She also figures out how to empty the vacuum cleaner via a song verse.
- Early in the film, Giselle takes an apple that has been bitten and sees if she can use it as the mouth on her mannequin of the Prince. Later, she takes a near-fatal bite of a poisoned apple.
- Also, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example, the blast of fire unleashed in anger by Narissa near the beginning bears the silhouette of a gangly, serpentine-looking dragon. Guess what she turns into at the climax?
- Also Giselle's mannequin of her dream prince. Its appearance and the outfit it was wearing was really similar to Robert and what he wore to the ball.
- There's also a deleted scene included on the DVD where Nancy and a co-worker talk about how she's a closet romantic, foreshadowing her and Edward's Last Minute Hookup.
- In Times Square, there are posters of shows (see above) that also starred two cast members of this film. And they're your Beta Couple folks! May also double as an in-universe Hilarious in Hindsight.
- For Happiness: Giselle's life philosophy, whether it's musical numbers, pretty dresses, or giving love a second chance.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- The girls: Giselle is Sangine, Morgan is Leukine, Nancy is Phlegmatic and Narissa is Choleric.
- The boys: Robert is Phlegmatic, Edward is Sanguine, Nathaniel is Melancholic and Pip is Choleric.
- The Andalasians: Giselle is Leukine, Edward is Sanguine, Nathaniel is Melancholic, Pip is Phlegmatic and Narissa is Choleric.
- The four main leads: Giselle is Sanguine, Robert is Melancholic, Edward is Choleric and Nancy is Phlegmatic.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Lampshaded (it's the page quote for the trope) and played straight since it's an Affectionate Parody and homage.
- Four Is Death:
- The fourth apple that Giselle holds and successfully ate is the poisoned apple. She got better though.
- The fourth time the sewer portal opens from Andalasia, it is the Big Bad who comes out of it. Not only did she do it ominously, but she wasted no time causing havoc upon arriving. However, she is technically the fifth Andalasian to come out of there since Edward and Pip simultaneously arrived during the second opening. The actual fourth Andalasian to arrive is Nathaniel.
- Friend to All Children: Giselle gets along with Morgan really well. She is also seen tending to a group of children at her Botique during the epilogue.
- Friend to All Living Things: Played straight in the animated opening section. Spoofed for laughs in the live-action scenes, where Giselle charms vermin into cleaning Robert's apartment.
- Funny Background Event: There is one point in the big "That's How You Know" dance number where the performers are all marching across a bridge and people in the boats in the water below are not paying any attention to them.
- When Robert and Nancy make up after that number, you can see a worker in the background is trying to get Giselle to stop messing with the fashion material.
- Genre Savvy: Narissa seems to know fairy tales pretty well, but suffers Genre Blindness at the end.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- When Nathaniel first pops out of the manhole, the utility workers, exasperated as Edward popped out a little earlier that morning, ask him if he's looking for a beautiful princess as Edward was. Nathaniel's reply: "No. I'm looking for a prince, actually." The stunned expressions on the utility crew's faces are obvious.
- The Not What It Looks Like scene is pretty much one long string of crap put past the radar or possibly Parental Bonus, since while the kids won't know what's implied, their parents will. For one thing, save for a towel, Giselle starts out naked on top of Robert. Nancy sarcastically asks if Robert was having some "grown-up girl bonding time." And when Giselle asks if Nancy thought they kissed, Robert replies: "Yeah. Something like that."
- The scene where Edward is looking for Giselle in the apartment building. Behind the one of the doors he knocks on, he finds a stereotypical biker...who grins mischievously at him. Edward politely excuses himself. The romantic-looking scenery of the room behind the biker didn't help things any.
- Before that scene, Edward runs into a heavily pregnant woman (played by Judy Kuhn), who already has several children. Upon seeing him at the door, she sarcastically states "You're too late." He says, "My apologies."
- Then there's this little nugget of dialogue, from Morgan and Giselle's shopping montage:
Morgan: And you don't wanna wear too much make-up, because then boys get the wrong idea...and you know they're only after one thing!
Giselle: What's that?
Morgan: ... I don't know. Nobody will tell me.
- The high volume of stuff that slipped through the cracks probably comes from the fact that the script originally wasn't written for Disney, or for kids. In fact, it was first purchased by Touchstone Pictures, Disney's adult label. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly that ran just before the film's release, the original script was quite risqué and Disney had to cut lots of crap as it was. Considering the original script apparently contained a scene where Giselle gets mistaken for a stripper, there were probably lots of Censor Decoys for Disney to deal with.
- When Giselle runs over to the old homeless man, you can briefly see hookers on the street.
- The movie also gets literal crap past the radar. And not simple crap by itself: you know the Nobody Poops rule? It gets averted big time when Narissa announces she's going to come to the real world, with Pip literally crapping himself. Onscreen.
- After Edward stabs the bus at Times Square, one of the angry passengers actually does shout "Get the fuck out of there"!
- When a little man accidentally finds his way under Giselle's dress, it is implied that his snarky "Geez lady, are you for real?!" remark is a frustrated comment because, since Giselle was wearing old-school bloomers, he didn't had the Male Gaze he wanted.
- Alternatively it could be skating over the fact that she was just inadvertently very rude when she called a real-life person "Grumpy" because of their height.
- When Robert is helping Giselle get into his apartment (she was stuck at the door), watch how he helps her get in.
- When Giselle attacks Dragon Narissa with Edward's sword while climbing the skyscraper, a gaping wound and blood on the side of the roof are fully visible.
- "And that's the reason we need lips so much, for lips are the only things that touch!"
- Giant Poofy Sleeves: Giselle's wedding dress, Edward's shirt, Nancy's wedding dress.
- Go Through Me: When Scaled Up Narissa announces she's going to kill everybody, starting with Giselle.
Robert: Over my dead body!
Narissa: All right, I'm flexible. (attacks Robert)
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Giselle in the ball.
- Greed Pretty much Narissa's essence.
- Greek Chorus: Two old women usually lampshades everything that is happening (or what just happened) on-screen.
- Happily Ever After: Pretty much the theme of the entire movie.
- Heel-Face Turn: Nathaniel.
- Held Gaze: Robert and Giselle do this at the ball during their Dance of Romance.
- Hello, Attorney!: Robert.
- Heroic BSOD: Giselle suffers a mild case of this when she learns about the concept of divorce.
- High Concept: "Hey, let's do a Refugee from TV Land plot with a Disney princess", said one exec to another.
- High Collar of Doom: Narrisa has an outfit with one.
- I Choose to Stay: Giselle and Nathaniel in New York. Nancy in Andalasia.
- I Do Not Speak Nonverbal: Prince Edward towards the now mute and impressive mime Pip. He has a problem with pantomimes.
- I Feel Angry: Other Trope Namer.
- Improvised Zipline: Pip escaping to alert Giselle with a wire with a clothes hanger.
- Indecisive Deconstruction: The film is either this or a Decon-Recon Switch, depending on a): how self-aware you think it is of its tendency to reuse tropes it previously smashed into little pieces, and b): how convincing you think its reuse of those tropes really is.
- Indecisive Parody: The movie never quite decides whether it's a true parody of the Disney Animated Canon or not.
- The Ingenue: Giselle.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Nathaniel. The only evil deed he succeed in doing is harming Pip, the chipmunk. And even then, it came off as Poke the Poodle.
- Ink-Suit Actor: A very Justified example in the animated sequences, though to what extent it's effective varies: in animated form, Giselle doesn't particularly resemble Amy Adams. Nathaniel is such a spot-on caricature of Timothy Spall that you will know it's him before he even opens his mouth. Edward and Narissa are somewhere in between with their animated resemblances to James Marsden and Susan Sarandon, as do Nancy to Idina Menzel.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Giselle during the shower scene.
- Ironic Echo: "Is this a big habit of yours, falling off stuff?" "Only when you're around to catch me."
- I've Heard of That — What Is It?: During Edward and Giselle's reunion.
Before we leave, there is something I would love to do. Edward:
Well, name it my love and it is done! Giselle:
I want to to go on a date. Edward:
A date! [Beat
] What's a date?
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Edward realizes Giselle's true love is Robert, he immediately starts pushing Robert to kiss Giselle in order to save her with no jealousy whatsoever. Robert is hesitant, but then Nancy also relinquishes her former love and tells him to.
- Knight In Shining Armour: The movie begins with Prince Edward saving Giselle from a troll and they plan to get married the next day.
- Lampshade Hanging:
- Pretty much the entire movie, but particularly the song "That's How You Know", where Robert, acting the part of the Straight Man, wonders how on earth everyone knows the words for a song he'd never heard.
- A great deal of Queen Narissa's dialog consists of this.
- Large Ham:
- Edward. James Marsden was clearly enjoying himself more than is street-legal, but that's part of the fun.
- Susan Sarandon as Narissa is even more remorselessly hammy. Narissa is such a Large Ham that she continues after going One-Winged Angel, which is normally the point where most villains lose their ability to speak.
- Last Minute Hookup: Edward and Nancy.
- The Last Straw: Pip has this effect on a tree branch that's already holding Giselle and a giant troll. And again on a metal spire Narissa is on.
- Le Parkour: Edward has no problem leaping in the most unusual of places.
- Logo Joke: The camera zooms in on a tower of the Disney castle to show the book on a stand inside, effectively integrating the logo into the animated prologue.
- Lord Error-Prone: Edward, being that this movie deconstructs fairy tales.
- Love at First Note: Edward immediately sets off to find the owner of the beautiful voice he hears singing.
- Love at First Sight: Intentionally parodied. Giselle falls out of a tree onto Edward's horse, and he immediately announces that they'll be married the next day. Her relationship with Robert progresses much more slowly.
- Love Epiphany: Giselle towards Robert ("Oh, my...")
- Love Makes You Evil: Nathaniel ultimately subverts this via Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal fueled Heel-Face Turn.
- Magical Girlfriend: What else would you call Giselle in New York?
- Make a Wish: Giselle goes to the portal between the two worlds because she thinks it's a wishing well.
- Male Gaze: Giselle, wet and covered only in Modesty Towel. Good luck averting your eyes guys!
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Giselle, though she's not an entirely straight example given her character growth and the fact that Robert himself is performing a similar role for her.
- Meaningful Echo:
- "True love's kiss: the most powerful force in the world."
- A subtle one was that the first song sung in the film contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." The last song sung by Carrie Underwood in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." Also counts as a Book Ends.
- Meet Cute: Lampshaded when Giselle falls onto Edward's horse running from a troll he was hunting.
"And in years to come we'll reminisce / How we came to love..."
- Missing Mom: Morgan and Giselle share a bonding moment over neither having ever had a "shopping with Mom" experience. Bonus points in that Morgan's mom isn't dead, but actually left her family.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Nathaniel gradually realises that he's just a convenient tool to Narissa, and steps forward to help the heroes at the end.
Nathaniel: I've always treated her like a queen, but lately I'm starting to feel there's this whole other side to her, like I don't even know her anymore.
Radio Therapist: I think you need to take her aside and find out how she really feels about you.
Narissa: Hello, worthless. Miss me?
- Modesty Towel: Giselle in the shower and Not What It Looks Like scene.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The "Happy Working Song", which ends with a one-legged pigeon eating a cockroach.
- Edward is ready to kill Robert, but when Giselle says he's just a friend, he replies with a carefree, "Oh."
- Mr. Fanservice: Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden.
- Musical Chores: The "Happy Working Song"
- The Music Meister: Giselle.
- Narrative Shapeshifting: Pip can't speak outside the fairy tale world, so he tries using charades to warn Prince Edward that Nathaniel is planning to poison Giselle with an apple. It doesn't work; Edward just thinks the chipmunk is praising his greatness.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- A fairly minor example. The trailer set us up for a Subversion of a standard Big Lipped Alligator Moment musical number. Turns out it was a Double Subversion.
- A bigger example: When the announcer says something about Robert having to help Giselle and Edward return to Andalasia "before time runs out", newcomers can easily assume that they will become trapped in New York after a certain number of days, especially since they show the clock striking twelve.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Pip. Those other animals in Andalasia also qualify, but mainly it's him.
- Not What It Looks Like: Giselle, dressed only in a towel, falls out of the bathroom onto Robert. Right when Robert's girlfriend walks in.
- Novelization: There is one, and it's actually pretty good.
- Older Sidekick: Nathaniel to Edward.
- Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Briefly seen in the "That's How You Know" montage, complete with a Parasol of Prettiness and a mariachi band on a couple of other boats.
- One-Winged Angel: Narissa turns into a dragon for the Final Battle, in a clear homage to Maleficent.
- Only One Name: Nathaniel. Does he even have a last name? Apparently not, because even in the epilogue, when he writes his autobiography, only "Nathaniel" is printed on the cover as the author's name.
- Basically, all the Andalasians have no last names.
- Only Sane Man: Giselle starts singing "That's How You Know" in the middle of Central Park and Crowd Song breaks out around her. Defrosting Ice King Robert, the one being sung to, is the only one who wonders how that is even possible.
Robert: He knows the song too?! I've never heard this song before!
- Opposites Attract: Giselle, the cheery optimist, and Robert, the sarcastic pessimist.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Narissa's initial plan — obviously, it doesn't work.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Nathaniel tries to use these to slip Giselle the first two poisoned apples.
- The first time, he slips it while disguised as an apple cart vendor, selling the poisoned apple as a caramel apple on a stick. It doesn't work because Giselle throws it away, and it gets lodged in a biker's helmet - causing an epic Brick Joke: after "That's How You Know" is over, this biker is seen again sporting a bald patch on his scalp where the poison burned through his helmet and hair.
- The second time, Nathaniel passes the apple off as a martini while disguised as a waiter.
- Pair the Spares: Edward and Nancy.
- Perspective Flip: Giselle's version of Little Red Riding Hood.
- Pimped-Out Dress:
- Giselle's would-be wedding dress.
- Narissa and her HUGE collar.
- Pink Means Feminine: Giselle's first dress in the movie is pink. She also wears one in the epilogue when she becomes a fashion designer.
- Pretty Freeloader: Giselle by essence, though she does help with cleaning up Robert and Morgan's apartment first thing in the morning... unconventional as her methods may be.
- Prince Charming: Edward, parodied. In addition to his cluelessness, he's revealed to have a bit of an ego problem, but he never gets to the level of Prince Charmless.
- Also subverted. Edward is merely Wrong Genre Savvy, as witnessed when instantly realizes and selflessly reacts to his kiss having no effect on Giselle.
- Princess Classic: Giselle, also parodied.
- Prophetic Names: Robert's last name is Philip (Sleeping Beauty's prince) and Nancy's is Tremaine (Cinderella's evil stepfamily). This last one is a subversion, though, as Nancy is actually quite nice and ends up a fairy-tale princess herself.
- Pungeon Master: Like many Disney villains, Narissa engages in a bit of this once she has her big evil moment. "It's time to take our tale to new heights.... We're coming to the end of our story now. Are you at the edge of your seat, Giselle, just dying to know how it ends?"
- The Queen's Latin: Averted. In the fairytale land of Andalasia, they speak with American Accents.
- Record Needle Scratch: "Ever Ever After" and Edward's wedding to Nancy screech to a halt as Nancy's phone rings.
- Redemption Earns Life: Nathaniel becomes a very successful writer post Heel-Face Turn.
- Red-Headed Heroine: Giselle.
- Red Is Heroic: Edward wears a heavily red outfit for the entire movie.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Edward and Patrick respectively. Their clothes in the ball are even Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
- Refugee from TV Land: The fairy tale Princess, her handsome Prince, her Non-Human Sidekick, a wicked Queen, and Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer all being transported to modern New York City.
- Required Secondary Powers: Parodied on purpose. With just the sound of her voice, Giselle can control any animal and induce mass hypnosis in as large a group as she wishes. Why? Because Disney Princesses can just do that, and therefore so can Giselle, or she wouldn't be one. That's why. Likewise following classic Disney tropes, Pip is agile and intelligent, Nathaniel can disguise into any human bystander, Narissa has the power to transform into a creepy old lady and turn into a dragon, and Prince Edward... is a Large Ham.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Edward does this when interpreting what Pip is trying to tell him.
- The Rival: Nathaniel and Pip.
- Romantic False Lead: Nancy, Robert's fiancée who takes up Giselle's place and marries Prince Edward in the end. Edward counts here, too.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: As out-of-it as he is, Prince Edward is still pretty brave to dive through a Portal Pool to a strange land, fight a "metal monster" (read: an MTA city bus) with a sword, and search Manhattan to look for Giselle.
- Sassy Black Woman: Robert's client and the bus driver in Times Square.
- Satellite Love Interest: Prince Edward parodies it from the usual Disney Princess. However, it was averted in one scene where after his kiss didn't wake up Giselle, he realized he wasn't the one for her and immediately asked Robert to do it, showing he is open-minded. And after Giselle woke up, he was genuinely happy for the two of them.
- Scaled Up: Narissa transforms into a dragon as a homage to Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Narissa on Nathaniel. Nathaniel begins to realize he's a dupe for her when he sees a soap opera variant.
- Second Love: Robert for Giselle, with Edward being the first. Giselle is likely the third for Robert, being preceded by his wife and Nancy. Nancy for Edward. As for Edward to Nancy, it's unknown if she had past relationships prior to Robert.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Played with. Edward is the Warrior Prince, while Robert is a Non-Action Guy. However, Edward is an over the top Romantic, while Robert is the one with a no-nonsense snarky attitude.
- Shopping Montage: In this case however, the "protégée" is an adult, and the person who takes her shopping is a child.
- The movie is full of them, particularly to Disney classic movies:
- The book opening sequence is a shoutout to many Disney classics.
- When Giselle is looking at the fish tank in Robert's office, a song from The Little Mermaid plays in the background. Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel, plays Robert's secretary.
- While in the Italian restaurant, "La Bella Notte" from Lady and the Tramp plays; the restaurant itself is called after the song.
- The scene where Nathaniel helps Edward to take his boots off is an obvious shout-out to Beauty and the Beast. Edward also watches a soap opera staring Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle, while a mysterious sounding "Beauty and the Beast" motif plays.
- Giselle wears glass shoes to the ball, and the scene where she takes the bite of the poison apple mimics the one in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Narissa herself is a big shoutout to many Disney villainesses, especially to Maleficent; green electricity-based powers, similar outfits and the fact that she turns into a dragon while bursting in flames.
- Broadway veteran Harvey Evans, the yellow-jacketed old man from "That's How You Know" previously danced as a chimney sweep in Mary Poppins.
- There's something eerily King Kong-esque about Narissa's death scene.
- There is an obvious shout-out to The Sound of Music during the Central Park sequence, and Julie Andrews was the narrator.
- There was also a reference to Moonstruck.
- There's a pop-up tracker solely devoted to this on the Blu-Ray disc, of which there are over 100, some of which are so obscure that even most Disney diehards won't catch them without it. According to director Kevin Lima, the actual count is over 1,000.
- Meta Shout Out: Robert's first scene involves a devorcing couple argueing over who gets "Hank" (A baseball Card of Hank Aaron, of the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves). The Braves currently do their Spring Training at Champion Stadium, on Walt Disney World Property.
- Show Within a Show: The soap opera that appears on the TV in Edward's motel room, starring Paige O'Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast) no less. Even better, the background music of said soap opera takes cues from the song "Beauty and the Beast".
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Nathaniel.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Cynicism may be easier and less painful, but idealism is more fun.
- Skepticism Failure: It takes Robert a very long time to admit to himself that Giselle really is magical, despite watching her magical song powers in action.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Giselle is really turned on by how Robert makes her — what is it called? — so angry!
- Speech-Impaired Animal: Pip in New York becomes a literal example. Back in Andalasia he's a Talking Animal like all the animals in Andalasia.
- Stock Scream:
- The animated troll does the Goofy scream, or something remarkably similar, when he gets catapulted by the tree.
- A Wilhelm Scream can be heard at the start of Narissa's transformation.
- Suggestive Collision: Giselle, dressed only in a towel, falls out of the bathroom onto Robert. Right when Nancy enters.
- Summon Backup Dancers, for "That's How You Know" in Central Park.
- Super Cell Reception: Nancy gets cellphone reception in a magical fairytale kingdom. The bizarreness of this is lampshaded right before she destroys the cell phone.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Narissa can turn any body of water (or soup, or alcohol) in the real world into a spy camera.
- Take That: At the beginning of the movie, when the old hag, who's really Narissa in disguise, pushes Giselle into the well, she says that she sent her to a place "where there are no happily ever afters." It turns out to be modern-day New York in reality. Nice.
- Theme Tune Cameo: "Part of Your World" and "Beauty and the Beast".
- They've Come So Far Song: "So Close", a diegetic song sung at the ball before the big confrontation.
- This Is Reality: See the page quote.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Even if you're a princess.
- Title Drop: Carrie Underwood does this in the song "Ever Ever After":
Let yourself be enchanted/You just might break through/To ever ever after!
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Giselle is definitely a very frilly and girly girl, while Nancy is a career woman who wears pantsuits and glasses.
- Took a Level in Badass: Giselle in the climax.
- Trapped in Another World
- Tree Buchet: The troll in the beginning of the movie has this happen to him.
- True Love's Kiss:
- Giselle's "I Want" Song is even called "True Love's Kiss".
- It's also played straight near the end of the movie, when, like a good Disney princess, she's hexed to sleep. She needs a Troperiffic True Love's Kiss before midnight (of course) in order to wake up. Robert, of course, manages to rouse her in the nick of time with a True Love's Kiss.
- Two First Names: Robert and his daughter's last name is Phillip.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: The scene when Giselle trails off mid-rant because she's been distracted by Robert-in-his-bathrobe virtually screams this. That, or Distracted by the Sexy.
- Un Duet: To show that Gisele has changed as a person the prince ends up doing a solo reprise of the duet at the start of the film.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Zigzagged. Giselle's initial arrival in New York does get some odd looks (the fact that she causes a traffic accident certainly helps), and Edward's antics with the bus and Pip's appearance in the Bella Notte make the local news... but otherwise their presence (including Pip in another restaurant) doesn't garner a lot of notice. Also, Nathaniel manages to sneak into the latter restaurant's kitchen with only a chef's hat and strike up a conversation with a pot of soup without attracting too much unwanted attention.
- Those people in the boats during "That's How You Know" who are ignorant of all the performers crossing the bridge above them.
- The stable magical portal in Times Square attracts attention... the first time. By the time Nathaniel pops out of it, it's routine; they've fenced it off with traffic cones and the bystanders just want to know who he's looking for.
- Up the Real Rabbit Hole: After one attempt to locate it, as far as Robert is concerned, Andalasia (a very real if Magical Land) is "fantasy", and This Is Reality. Nobody ever corrects him or acts as if this makes anything but perfect sense.
- Urine Trouble: When Edward is lurking outside Robert's apartment complex, waiting for an opportunity to get in a "rescue" Giselle, a passing dog relieves itself on his boot.
- Vain Sorceress: Narissa. Though, that must have been intentional; she is meant to be an amalgamation/parody/lampshade of the classic Disney "Evil/Vain Sorceress" villains, most notably Maleficent, the Queen from Snow White, Ursula, and perhaps just a dash of Lady Tremaine (well, that last one doesn't really use magic unless you count one of the sequels, but still).
- Verbed Title
- Villains Blend in Better: Nathaniel seems to have much less trouble navigating New York than Giselle does, showing up in a variety of guises and apparent jobs. (Possibly he has a fairytale-villain-instant-disguise trait that carries over the way Giselle's fairytale-heroine-magic-singing trait does.)
- Visual Pun: Giselle falling to Robert in the beginning, and vice-versa at the ending.
- Warrior Prince: Though a Glass Cannon, Edward is a very capable fighter.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Thoroughly deconstructed when Giselle calls the creatures of New York to help her clean Robert's home for him and ends up with an entourage of rats, pigeons, and cockroaches. With a queasy look: "Well...it's always nice to make new friends..." Eventually she gets along with them just fine "...even though you're vermin."
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: We actually see that the clock is designed to start striking before the hour. For some reason. See the Fridge Brilliance page for one editor's theory.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: It shows that Edward and Nancy got married in Andalasia. Giselle opens up a new fashion/boutique business, staying with Robert. After staying in New York, Nathaniel becomes a successful author, as well as Pip back in Andalasia.
- White Stallion: Ridden by Prince Edward as he rescues Giselle.
- Widescreen Shot: When the viewers first enter Andalasia, black bars appear on the left and right sides to make the picture appear as narrow as the movies Disney released during The Renaissance Age of Animation. The picture expands and fills the bars when Giselle crosses through into the live-action world. They never change back after the first transition, even when animated scenes occur.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Nathaniel.
- Winning Over The Kids
- Woman in Black: Narissa.
- Woman in White: Giselle when she first arrives in New York.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: A rodent in a New York City restaurant makes the nightly news? Maybe if it was a high-end restaurant, but it doesn't seem to be. Bonus points for twisting it into a parody of Could This Happen to You? pieces.
- Wrong Insult Offence:
- X Meets Y: "Disney meets Reality".
- You're Crazy!
No! Spiteful, vindictive, very large
, but never crazy!
- You Said You Couldn't Dance: Word for word.
Giselle: You said you couldn't dance!
Robert: I said I don't dance. I didn't say I couldn't.