Quality of Character
Giselle is a revelation. The character is a creation designed to be a parody of Princess stereotypes, and she excells admirably. She's sacharine sweet, obnoxiously giddy, terminally perky, and exceptionally naïve. Giselle is ripped from her idealized fantasy world filled with enchanted animals and love at first sight and thrust into reality. Giselle gets to experience negativity for the first time. What gives Giselle a high score in this category is this: despite the fact that, when confronted with all that anger and sadness, Giselle could easily have descended into bitterness. Instead, her infectious optimism spreads into the world around her, injecting fantasy into reality rather than becoming tainted by the negativity. Also admirable? Giselle's character arc lets her be the hero at the end, becoming the knight in shining armor for her love interest.
Overall Film Quality
Enchanted is such a unique offering from Disney. Never has Disney been so self-aware of it's own, at times, overly buoyant spirit of Princess. The real genius in the spirit of this film comes back to what I mentioned above about Giselle not becoming more negative to adjust to reality. This film, and Giselle, is a metaphor for the Magic of which Disney is capable: Injecting an element of magical and fantastical optimism into an otherwise bleak reality. Is it realistic? Perhaps not, but it's an incredibly heartfelt and optimistic message at its core.
This was a hard category to score for Giselle. Giselle has two love interests, and I cannot base the score entirely on one or the other. On the one hand, I applaud Disney for having the (for them) balls to allow a Prince Charming to be a single parent. The fascinating dynamic between the two is that it flips the typical princess/prince roles: it is the male that is in need of emotional and, eventually, physical rescue. Prince Edward, the second love interest, is Giselle's fated fantasy prince. He is, possibly, an even better and more ludicrous parody than Giselle. While I love him for comedic factor, he ends up dragging this score down, because he shows zero growth over the course of the film: he starts an idiot and ends an idiot. Oh well.
Giselle scores solidly here. Her chipmunk friend is hilarious, Robert's daughter is an unexpected and lovely catalyst for development in Giselle's character. Susan Sarandon was meant to be an evil queen, who turns into an IRIDESCENT DRAGON. Clearly, my life was less complete before it contained iridescent dragons. Now I do not know what I would do without them. Also, can we market her costume for adults, please? Ahem? Timothy Spall is the perfect squirrelly minion, who has an impressively developed secondary character arc.
It's so cleverly done. The songs, though mostly parodies of typical Disney Princess fare, are still wonderfully written little ear worms that you'll catch yourself humming long after the film ends.
Here's where I make an impassioned plea to Disney in desperate hope that somebody over there who makes decisions one day reads this: GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND MARKET GISELLE. I read somewhere that Giselle hasn't been inducted into official Disney Princess ranks because of something having to do with them not being able to own Amy Adams' likeness, but Giselle starts out the film as a cartoon!!! MARKET THAT GISELLE! Giselle also has multiple wonderful costume options: the obvious giant wedding dress when she first crosses into reality, the charming "I made it from curtains" floral dress from the musical number above, and even the grown up formal number she wears to the ball at the end. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, Disney, let Giselle be a bigger part of the Disney Princess Lexicon.
**DISCLAIMER** I do not own any of the likenesses of these heroines. All characters/likenesses are the property of Disney, and are not being used here for financial gain ****