Over Thanksgiving weekend, my daughters and I curled up to watch the movie Enchanted. I hadn’t seen it in years and was surprised by all the allusions and references to previous Disney movies – and how they hadn’t leapt out at me the first time I viewed it. My books pay homage to books from the past – Austen, the Brontes, Dumas, Dickens, Webster, Lewis, Potter… The list could go on and on. And, the other night, I felt like a treasure hunter gleaning gems from my childhood favorites from Enchanted.
My elder daughter first discovered, and I looked it up to confirm, Giselle’s very name is a combination of Princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty, Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Belle from
Beauty and the Beast. That said, she seemed most like Snow White to me, especially when her “Whistle while you work” filled the screen, and all the roaches, rats and pigeons helped with her cleaning. Then, of course, the wicked queen shows up. First queen, then old hag (also from Snow White), and finally a massive dragon – Hello, Maleficent. And don’t forget Nathaniel’s poisoned apple!
Those few barely scratch the surface… There’s a Nancy Tremaine (the last name of the stepmother and stepsisters in Cinderella) played by the wonderful Idina Menzel, and cameo appearances by the voices behind Pocahontas and Ariel, the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins… This list too could go on and on.
And for the finale? “True love’s kiss” was lifted from almost every Disney movie I know – and from a lot of books. Personally I think it’s a wonderful way to end a story, especially a fairytale. It’s that romantic reassuring end that good will prevail, love will last forever and that after a good fight (for some things are worth fighting, even dying, for), there is rest.
My daughters got bored of my enthusiasm, but I do love fairytales and this was a like a chandelier shooting off the brightest rays from so many. It reminded me of childhood and felt like a perfect start to this season – a chance to lay down cynicism and enjoy something new — ending, as it should, with true love, of course.