Ella Enchanted (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tommy O'Haver|
|Based on||Ella Enchanted|
by Gail Carson Levine
|Music by||Nick Glennie-Smith|
|Cinematography||John de Borman|
|Edited by||Masahiro Hirakubo|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$27.4 million|
Ella Enchanted is a 2004 American fantasy romantic comedy film directed by Tommy O'Haver and written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith loosely based on Gail Carson Levine's 1997 novel of the same name. Starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy, the film plays with the usual fairy tale genre.
In the kingdom of Lamia, baby Ella of Frell is given the "gift" of obedience by the misguided fairy Lucinda; Ella is magically compelled to instantly obey any command she is given. On her deathbed, Ella's mother warns her not to tell anyone about the curse, for fear someone might use it to exploit Ella. Only Mandy, the household fairy, knows the secret.
Years later, Ella's father marries wealthy socialite Dame Olga, who dislikes Ella. Her spoiled daughters Hattie and Olive discover Ella's obedience, using it to humiliate her. Ella stumbles upon Prince "Char" Charmont, pursued by his besotted fan club, and he invites her to the Coronation Ball, but Olga intercepts the invitation. Jealous, Hattie and Olive force Ella to cut ties with her best friend Areida.
Ella resolves to find Lucinda to undo her gift. Mandy lends Ella her boyfriend Benny, whom she accidentally transformed into a magical book. Learning that Lucinda is attending a wedding in Giantville, Ella leaves home to find her.
On her journey, Ella rescues Slannen, an elf who wants to be a lawyer rather than be forced to be entertainer. They are captured by ogres who intend to eat them, but are rescued by Prince Charmont. He joins their quest, and Ella opens his eyes to the cruelty of the laws oppressing elves and giants enacted by his uncle Sir Edgar, the acting ruler.
They discover Lucinda has already left the wedding, and Char suggests they visit the castle’s hall of records to find Lucinda faster, which is overheard by Sir Edgar's snake, Heston. After Ella performs "Somebody to Love" for the wedding guests, she and Char begin to fall in love.
At the castle, Edgar learns of Ella's curse from her stepsisters. Knowing his nephew is in love with her, Edgar meets with Ella and orders her to murder Char at midnight when he inevitably proposes to her at the coronation ball, and to keep this plan secret. Edgar reveals that he murdered Char's father, and the prince’s death will make Edgar king. Ella writes Char a letter that she must leave due to an emergency and cannot explain why. She asks Slannen to chain her to a tree, hoping to wait out Edgar's command while Slannen recruits more elves and giants to protect Char.
As night falls, Lucinda arrives and Ella begs her to take back her gift. Offended, Lucinda insists that Ella remove the gift herself, unchaining her and giving her a fancy dress. Forced back to the castle, Ella stumbles into the ball. Char whisks her away to a secret hall of mirrors, where he proposes. As Ella is about to stab Char, she sees her reflection and commands herself to no longer be obedient, freeing herself from the curse. Char notices her dagger, and Sir Edgar has Ella arrested before she can explain herself.
Benny, left in the hall of records and thrown away, is found by Slannen. Benny reveals Ella in the dungeon, and Slannen leads a band of elves, giants, and ogres into the castle and frees her. Benny shows that Edgar has poisoned Char's crown, intending to kill him at his coronation.
As Char is about to be crowned king, Ella and the others crash the ceremony and a brawl with Edgar's soldiers ensues. In the scuffle, Mandy manages to turn Benny human again. As Char and Ella fight off the guards together, she confesses her love for him and reveals Edgar's plot and his murder of Char's father, which Edgar denies. Heston attempts to fatally bite Char, but is kicked away by Ella and trampled by Char's fan club; Char takes this as evidence of his uncle's guilt. Edgar than reveals that he did murder Char’s father, denounces the prince and proclaims himself king but accidentally puts on the poisoned crown. Ella and Char reconcile, and her stepsisters command her to stop kissing the prince, but Ella promptly disobeys.
Ella and Char are married, and Char toasts to a new era of equality among all citizens of the kingdom. Edgar is revealed to be still alive, but paralyzed. Everyone dances to "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" before the couple ride off on their honeymoon.
- Anne Hathaway as Ella of Frell, a girl under a spell (curse) given to her by a fairy named Lucinda which makes her obedient
- Hugh Dancy as Prince "Char" Charmont, son of the late king that was killed by his uncle. He is treated as a teen icon and has his own fan club, though he doesn't agree with this label.
- Cary Elwes as Sir Edgar, the Prince's greedy uncle and King Regent who wants the crown for himself.
- Steve Coogan as Heston, Edgar's royal advisor.
- Aidan McArdle as Slannen, an elf who wanted to become a lawyer.
- Minnie Driver as Mandy, a household fairy who was the only person kind to Ella when Sir Peter left. She always has some flaws in her spells.
- Vivica A. Fox as Lucinda Perriweather, a well-meaning but misguided fairy who gave the "gift" to Ella. She never takes back her spells, and always helps at the wrong time.
- Eric Idle as the Narrator
- Parminder Nagra as Areida, Ella's best friend.
- Jim Carter as Nish, an ogre who eats humans. He is the leader of the pack of Ogres, and is protective of his territory.
- Patrick Bergin as Sir Peter, Ella's father who was a vendor of watches.
- Donna Dent as Lady Eleanor, Ella's mother
- Joanna Lumley as Dame Olga, Ella's cruel stepmother.
- Lucy Punch as Hattie, Ella's mean stepsister who is obsessed with Prince Charmont.
- Jennifer Higham as Olive, Ella's kleptomaniac and dim-witted stepsister who always follows her older sister Hattie, is often mistreated by her, and rarely speaks.
- Alvaro Lucchesi as Koopooduk, a giant who Char met at Giantsville.
- Heidi Klum as Brumhilda, a giantess who met Slannen in Giantsville and has feelings for Slannen despite his size.
- Jimi Mistry as Benny, Mandy's love interest. Turned into a talking book when one of Mandy's spells goes pear shaped.
- Johnny Nguyen (uncredited) as Red Knight
Hathaway, who first read the book when she was 16, says that there was originally a version of the script that was much closer to the book but that it didn't work as a film; she added that she prefers the way the movie actually turned out because it "makes fun of itself for being a fairy tale." Levine states that the film is "so different from the book that it's hard to compare them," noting the addition of new characters such as Sir Edgar and Heston, and suggested "regarding the movie as a separate creative act".
Jimi Mistry, a British actor of Indian descent, said that he enjoyed playing a talking book in the film because it offered him the opportunity to do something different from his other roles. "You can't get less Indian than a talking book, and an American talking book, so it was great," he said.
Miramax Films released the film on April 9, 2004. In 2010, Miramax's parent company, the Walt Disney Company, eventually sold Miramax to Filmyard Holdings, who in turn sold the company to beIN Media Group six years later. As of 2019, Disney still owns the rights to this film, and streams it for television on the Disney Channel. On April 30, 2013 the film was re-issued.
Ella Enchanted opened on April 9, 2004 and earned $6,169,030 in its opening weekend, ranking number nine at the domestic box office. At the end of its run, the film grossed $22,918,387 domestically and $4,470,380 overseas for a worldwide total of $27,388,767.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes holds a 50% score based on 115 reviews with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's consensus reads: "Hathaway is a charming heroine, but the simple storyline gets overwhelmed by silly gimmickry." On Metacritic, the film has a 53 out of 100 rating based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The soundtrack was released April 6, 2004 by Hollywood Records and features Kelly Clarkson's cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" along with "Somebody to Love" by Queen and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee, both as covered by Hathaway and Jesse McCartney.
- Ella Enchanted, the novel on which the film is based.
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- Murray, Rebecca. "Anne Hathaway on "Ella Enchanted" and Her Princess Roles". About.com. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
- "Gail Carson Levine". Kidsreads.com. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
- Murray, Rebecca. "Hugh Dancy Captures Hearts in "Ella Enchanted"". About.com. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
- "Science Fiction News of the Week". Science Fiction Weekly. Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2008.
- "'Ella Enchanted' Leads The Production Schedule For Rest of 2002". IFTN. July 29, 2002.
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