This is the first Disney movie to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures instead of Buena Vista, due to Disney semi-retiring the name in May 2007, making all other future Disney movies permanently distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
The plot focuses on Giselle, an archetypal Disney Princess, who is forced from her traditional animated world of Andalasia into the live-action world of New York City. The film is both an homage to, and a self-parody of, conventional Walt Disney Animated Classics, making numerous references to Disney's past and future works through the combination of live action filmmaking, traditional animation and computer-generated imagery. It heralds the return of traditional animation to a Disney feature film after the company's decision to move entirely to computer animation in 2004. Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who had written songs for previous Disney films, produced the songs of Enchanted, with Menken also composing its score.
Enchanted was well-received critically, and received two nominations at the 65th Golden Globe Awards and three nominations at the 80th Academy Awards. The film earned more than $340 million worldwide at the box office.
Giselle (Amy Adams) lives in the blissful and traditionally-animated fairy tale world of Andalasia, where animals are talkative companions and musical interludes punctuate nearly every interaction, characters breaking into song and "happily ever after" a foregone conclusion. Prince Edward (James Marsden), her designated true love which he hears her voice in the forest, saves her from a troll and they plan to get married the next day. However, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), Edward's evil stepmother, schemes to protect her throne, which she will lose her claim to the throne once Prince Edward is married. The next day, when Giselle arrives at the palace, Narissa disguises herself as an old hag. She then throws Giselle down a well and into a magic portal that transports her to a world "where no one lives happily ever after" - Earth.
As Giselle falls down the well, she transforms into a live action version of herself and emerges through a manhole in Times Square in modern day, live-action New York City, and after a turn of events, she meets Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey), a hardened, yet friendly divorce lawyer who is at first reluctant to help her find her way home. At his daughter Morgan's (Rachel Covey) insistence, Robert lets Giselle stay at their apartment despite believing that she is crazy and worrying about the safety of his daughter. Following the ways of her fairy-tale world, Giselle recruits urban animals in the city – pigeons, cockroaches and rats – to help her clean his apartment while she fashions a dress out of his curtains. Robert reaches the end of his patience when Giselle causes an argument between him and Robert's fiancée, a fashion designer named Nancy (Idina Menzel), who misunderstands the situation and runs off after arguing with Robert.
At Robert's law firm, his secretary (Jodi Benson) tries to find Giselle transportation home, but cannot locate Andalasia. Deciding he must part with Giselle in Central Park, Robert offers her some money. However, Giselle almost immediately gives it to an old woman who happened to have encountered Prince Edward slaying a city bus that morning, while searching for his lost bride. Deciding that Giselle needs his protection, Robert rejoins her. While walking through the park, Giselle questions Robert on how he displays his affection for Nancy and spontaneously starts the musical production number of "That's How You Know" with many performers in the park joining her. Giselle eventually helps Robert reconcile with Nancy by sending flowers to her, along with tickets to the King's and Queen's Ball.
Meanwhile Narissa's henchman Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) follows Edward and a talking chipmunk named Pip, who have journeyed to New York to rescue Giselle. Nathaniel makes his first attempt to kill Giselle by giving her a poisoned caramel apple, but is foiled when she inadvertently flings it onto the helmet of a passing bicyclist. Nathaniel and the prince then spend a night at a cheap motel, where Nathaniel questions his adoring but servile relationship with Narissa after watching a soap opera. Finding Giselle and Robert at an Italian restaurant, Nathaniel serves her a poisoned apple martini. Although Pip is unable to speak coherently in the real world, and has trouble alerting the Prince to Nathaniel's intentions, he foils Nathaniel's plot. Infuriated by these failures, Narissa goes to New York City to kill Giselle.
As Giselle and Robert spend more time together, Giselle discovers that the real world is much more complicated than she realized, while Robert is affected by her optimism and idealism. After a brief argument with Robert, Giselle realizes her own emotional growth and her growing feelings toward him. Edward continues to look for Giselle and eventually finding her at Robert's apartment. While Edward is eager to take Giselle home and marry, she insists that they first go on a date, which she has learned is customary in the real world. They end their date and attend at the King's and Queen's Costume Ball. After Nancy and Edward pair off to dance, Giselle dances with Robert. During their dance, Giselle realizes that Robert is her true love as he, very softly, sings the lyrics of the song to her. Edward and Nancy seem to realize the attraction between Giselle and Robert and also discover a mutual attraction. Unbeknownst to them, Narissa has traveled to New York from Andalasia. Using her old hag's disguise, Narissa successfully poisons Giselle, but is stopped by Edward before she can escape with Giselle's unconscious body.
Nathaniel exposes Narissa's plot, admits his deeds and reveals that one must kiss Giselle by midnight to break the poison apple's spell, or Giselle will die. After Edward's kiss fails to wake Giselle up, Robert kisses and revives her. Giselle admits that she knew Robert was her true love. Narissa uses the distracting moment to break free. Deciding to write her own ending to the story, she transforms into a dragon. When Robert protects Giselle, Narissa takes Robert hostage, luring Giselle out the window and up to the top of the Woolworth Building to kill her. However, with Pip's involvement (that happened earlier in the movie), Narissa falls to her death, then was impaled and was in flames near where Edward, Nancy and Nathaniel see at, and exploding into magic dust at street level. Giselle catches Robert, and they manage to keep from sliding off the roof, ending in a romantic embrace.
Edward finds Giselle's discarded shoe and places it on Nancy's foot (à la Cinderella). They happily leave for Andalasia to be married. Giselle uses her magical dress-making talents to run a successful New York boutique, assisted by both humans and animals. Both Nathaniel (in New York) and Pip (in Andalasia) become successful authors, writing self-help books based on their experiences. The last scene shows Giselle, Robert, and Morgan playing and living happily ever after together as a family.
- Amy Adams as Giselle. A princess-to-be who ends up almost having her dream of meeting her prince a reality. Adams was announced to have been cast in the role of Giselle on November 14, 2005. Although the studio was looking for a film star in the role, director Kevin Lima insisted on casting a lesser-known actress. Out of the 300 or so actresses who auditioned for the role, Adams stood out to Lima because not only did she look like "a Disney princess" but her "commitment to the character, her ability to escape into the character's being without ever judging the character was overwhelming." Hailing from Andalasia, Giselle displays similar traits to the Disney Princesses; Lima describes her as "about 80% Snow White, with some traits borrowed from Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty... although her spunkiness comes from Ariel a.k.a. The Little Mermaid." She is "eternally optimistic and romantic" but is also "very independent and true to her convictions". Over the course of the film, she becomes more mature but maintains her innocence and optimism.
- Patrick Dempsey as Robert Philip. A cynical, New York City divorce attorney who doesn't believe in true love or happily-ever-after, or understand his daughter, Morgan. Lima cast Dempsey after Disney was satisfied with the casting of Adams but had wanted more well-known actors in the film. Dempsey, whose starring role on TV series Grey's Anatomy had earned him the nickname "McDreamy", was described by Lima as "a modern-day Prince Charming to today's audience". The role was challenging for Dempsey because he had to play the straight man to Adams' and Marsden's more outrageous characters.
- James Marsden as Prince Edward. A narcissistic and athletic prince who ends up confused with the world of New York once entering it. Marsden was announced to have been cast on December 6, 2005. At the time Marsden was auditioning, the role of Robert had not been cast but he decided to pursue the role of Prince Edward because he was "more fun and [he] responded more to that character." Edward is a prince in Andalasia and the stepson of Narissa. He is "very pure, very simple-minded and naive, but innocently narcissistic."
- Timothy Spall as Nathaniel. Nathaniel is a servant of Queen Narissa, who controls him through his infatuation with her and his own lack of self-esteem. He initially does Narissa's bidding, but ultimately realizes her true nature and rebels against her. He has a penchant for disguises. This is the first of two Disney films Timothy Spall has been in, the other being Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in which he was the voice of Bayard the Bloodhound.
- Idina Menzel as Nancy Tremaine, Robert's fiancee. Once Giselle falls in love with Robert, she falls for and leaves with Edward. Menzel, who is well known for her Broadway musical roles in Wicked and Rent, was offered the role of Nancy Tremaine. Since the role did not require any singing, Menzel said in an interview that "it was a compliment to be asked to just be hired on [her] acting talents alone." Nancy is a fashion designer and Robert's girlfriend. She is named after Lady Tremaine, the stepmother from Cinderella. Like Adams, Benson, O'Hara, and Kuhn before her, Menzel went on to play a Disney Princess: Elsa the Snow Queen in Frozen, which she worked with director Chris Buck, who previously directed Tarzan with Lima in 1999.
- Rachel Covey as Morgan Philip. Morgan is Robert's six-year-old daughter. Despite her father misunderstanding her and telling her otherwise, she believes in fairy tales and believes that magic exists.
- Susan Sarandon as Queen Narissa. An evil sorceress with a hatred for Giselle; Edward's stepmother and the film's main antagonist. Sarandon had been attracted to the project prior to Lima's involvement as director. Since Sarandon's on-screen time was relatively short, it took only two weeks to film her scenes. Narissa's mannerisms, characteristics, powers, and physical features were inspired by such classical Disney villainesses as the Queen Grimhilde and Maleficent. Sissy Spacek, Anjelica Huston and Mary Steenburgen were in close competition for the part.
- Jeff Bennett and Kevin Lima as Pip. Bennett provided the voice for the 2D-animated Pip in the animated segment while Lima provided the voice for the computer-generated Pip in the live-action segment. Pip, a chipmunk friend of Giselle who has no trouble expressing himself through speech in Andalasia, loses his ability to speak in the real world and must communicate by acting.
- Jon McLaughlin as himself, singing "So Close" at the ball while Robert and Giselle dance.
- Fred Tatasciore as the Troll from Andalasia who tried to eat Giselle.
- Several actresses who have played characters in Disney films have cameos:
- Paige O'Hara as Angela, a soap opera character. O'Hara provided the speaking and singing voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
- Jodi Benson as Sam, Robert's secretary. Benson provided the speaking and singing voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid as well as the voices of the various Barbie dolls in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
- Judy Kuhn as Pregnant Woman with Kids. Kuhn provided the singing voice of the title character in Pocahontas and its its sequel.
- Julie Andrews as Narrator. Andrews played the title character in Mary Poppins as well as appearing in The Princess Diaries series as Queen Clarisse Renaldi.
The initial script of Enchanted, written by Bill Kelly, was bought by Disney's Touchstone Pictures and Sonnenfeld/Josephson Productions for a reported sum of $450,000 in September 1997. However, it was thought to be unsuitable for Disney because it was "a racier R-rated movie". To the frustration of Kelly, the screenplay was rewritten several times, first by Rita Hsiao and then by Todd Alcott. The film was initially scheduled to be released in 2002 with Rob Marshall as director but he withdrew due to "creative differences" between the producers and him. In 2001, director Jon Turteltaub was set to direct the film but he left soon after, later working with Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer on the National Treasure franchise. Adam Shankman became the film's director in 2003, while Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle were hired by Disney to rewrite the script once again. At the time, Disney considered offering the role of Giselle to Kate Hudson or Reese Witherspoon. However, the project did not take off.
On May 25, 2005, Variety reported that Kevin Lima had been hired as director and Bill Kelly had returned to the project to write a new version of the script. Lima worked with Kelly on the script to combine the main plot of Enchanted with the idea of a "loving homage" to Disney's heritage. He created visual storyboard printouts that covered the story of Enchanted from beginning to end, which filled an entire floor of a production building. After Lima showed them to the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Dick Cook, he received the green light for the project and a budget of $85 million. Lima began designing the world of Andalasia and storyboarding the movie before a cast was chosen to play the characters. After the actors were hired, he was involved in making the final design of the movie, which made sure the animated characters look like their real-life counterparts.
Enchanted is the first feature-length Disney live-action/traditional animation hybrid since Disney's Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, though the traditionally-animated characters do not interact in the live-action environment in the same method as they did in Roger Rabbit; however, there are some scenes where live-action characters share the screen with two-dimensional animated characters, for example, a live-action Nathaniel communicating with a cel-drawn Narissa, who is in a cooking pot. The film uses two aspect ratios; it begins in 2.35:1 when the Walt Disney Pictures logo and Enchanted storybook are shown, and then switches to a smaller 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the first animated sequence. The film switches back to 2.35:1 when it becomes live-action and never switches back, even for the remainder of the cartoon sequences. When this movie was aired on NBC in 2010, the beginning of the movie (including the first animated sequence) was shown in standard definition; the remainder of the movie was shown in high definition when it becomes live-action. Lima oversaw the direction of both the live-action and animation sequences, which were being produced at the same time. Enchanted took almost two years to complete. The animation took about a year to finish while the live-action scenes, which commenced on location in New York City during the summer of 2006 and was completed during the animation process, were shot in 72 days.
Out of the film's 107 minutes of running time, ten of the approximately 13 minutes of animation are at the beginning of the film. Lima tried to "cram every single piece of Disney iconic imagery" that he could into the first ten minutes, which were done in traditional cel animation (in contrast to computer-generated 3-D animation) as a tribute to past Disney fairy tale films such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was the first Disney film theatrically released in America to feature traditional cel animation since Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005). This film, although quite different in terms of plot from any previous Disney film, also contained obvious homages to other Disney films of the distant past, such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, Bon Voyage!, and Savage Sam. As most of Disney's cel animation artists were laid off after the computer graphics boom of the late 1990s, the 13 minutes of animation were not done in-house but by the independent Pasadena-based company James Baxter Animation, which was started by noted lead animator James Baxter. Baxter had previously worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation, bringing to life many memorable Disney animated characters like Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Rafiki (The Lion King), and Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
Although Lima wanted the animation to be nostalgic, he wanted Enchanted to have a style of its own. Baxter's team decided to use Art Nouveau as a starting point. For Giselle, the 2D-animated character had to be "a cross between Amy [Adams] and a classic Disney princess. And not a caricature." Seeing Giselle as "a forest girl, an innocent nymph with flowers in her hair" and "a bit of a hippie", the animators wanted her to be "flowing, with her hair and clothes. Delicate." For Prince Edward, Baxter's team "worked the hardest on him to make him look like the actor" because princes "in these kinds of movies are usually so bland." Many prototypes were made for Narissa as Baxter's team wanted her face to "look like Susan [Sarandon]'s. And the costumes had to align closely to the live-action design."
To maintain continuity between the two media, Lima brought in costume designer Mona May during the early stages of the film's production so that the costumes would be aligned in both the animated and live-action worlds. He also shot some live-action footage of Amy Adams as Giselle for the animators to use as reference, which also allowed the physical movement of the character to match in both worlds. Test scenes completed by the animators were shown to the actors, allowing them to see how their animated self would move.
Principal photography began in April 2006 and ended in July 2006. Because of the live action sequence setting, all live action work was filmed in New York City. However, shooting in New York became problematic as it was in a "constant state of new stores, scaffolding and renovation".
The first scene in New York, which features Giselle emerging from a manhole in the middle of Times Square, was filmed on location in the center of the square. Because of the difficulties in controlling the crowd while filming in Times Square, general pedestrians were featured in the scene with hired extras placed in the immediate foreground. Similarly, a crowd gathered to watch as James Marsden and Timothy Spall filmed their scenes in Times Square. However, the scene Lima found the most challenging to shoot was the musical number, "That's How You Know", in Central Park. The five-minute scene took 17 days to finish due to the changing weather, which allowed only seven sunny days for the scene to be filmed. The filming was also hampered at times by Patrick Dempsey's fans. The scene was choreographed by John O'Connell, who had worked on Moulin Rouge! beforehand, and included 300 extras and 150 dancers.
Many scenes were also filmed at Steiner Studios, which provided the three large stages that Enchanted needed at the same facility. Other outdoor locations included the Brooklyn Bridge and The Paterno, an apartment building with a curved, heavily embellished, ivory-colored façade located on the corner of Riverside Drive and 116th Street, which is the residence of the film's characters Robert and Morgan Phillip.
All the costumes in the film were designed by Mona May, who had previously worked on Clueless, The Wedding Singer and The Haunted Mansion. To create the costumes, May spent one year in pre-production working with animators and her costume department of 20 people, while she contracted with five outside costume shops in Los Angeles and New York. She became involved in the project during the time when the animators were designing the faces and bodies of the characters as they had to "translate the costumes from two-dimensional drawings to live-action human proportion". Her goal was to keep the designs "Disneyesque to the core but bring a little bit of fashion in there and humor and make it something new". However, May admitted this was difficult "because [they're] dealing with iconic Disney characters who have been in the psyche of the viewing audience for so long".
For the character of Giselle, her journey to becoming a real woman is reflected in her dresses, which become less fairy tale-like as the film progresses. Her wedding dress at the beginning of the film directly contrasts her modern gown at the end of the film. The wedding dress served to provide a "humongous contrast to the flat drawings" and to accentuate the image of a Disney Princess. In order to make the waist look small, the sleeves were designed to be "extremely pouffy" and the skirt to be as big as possible, which included a metal hoop that holds up 20 layers of petticoats and ruffles. Altogether, 11 versions of the dress were made for filming, each comprised 200 yards (183 m) of silk satin and other fabric, and weighed approximately 40 pounds (18 kg). On the experience of wearing the wedding dress, Amy Adams described it as "grueling" since "the entire weight was on [her] hips, so occasionally it felt like [she] was in traction".
Unlike Giselle, Prince Edward does not adapt to the real world and James Marsden, who plays Edward, had only one costume designed for him. May's aim was to try "not to lose [Marsden] in the craziness of the outfit... where he still looks handsome". The costume also included padding in the chest, buttocks and crotch, which gave Marsden the "same exaggerated proportions as an animated character" and "posture – his back is straight, the sleeves are up and never collapse".
May was delighted that Lima "went for something more fashion-forward" with Susan Sarandon's Queen Narissa. She decided to make her look like a "runway lady", wearing something that is "still Disney" but also "high fashion, like something John Galliano or Thierry Mugler might design". Since Narissa appears in three media: 2D animation, live-action and computer animation, May had to make sure that the costume would be the same throughout in terms of "color, shape and texture". The costume for Narissa consisted of a leather corset and skirt, which looked "reptilian", as well as a cape. Working with the animators, May incorporated parts of the dragon's form into the costume; the cape was designed to look like wings, the layers of the skirt wrap around like a tail and a crown that would turn into horns during Narissa's transformation into a dragon.
The film's score was written by accomplished songwriter and composer Alan Menken, who has worked on a number of Disney films previously. Fellow composer Stephen Schwartz wrote the lyrics for six songs, also composed by Menken. Menken and Schwartz previously worked together on the songs for Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Menken became involved with the film in the early stages of the film's development and invited Schwartz to resume their collaboration. They began the songwriting process by searching for the right moments in the story in which a song moment was allowed. Schwartz found that it was easier to justify situations in which the characters would burst into songs in Enchanted than in other live-action musicals as its concept "allowed the characters to sing in a way that was completely integral to the plot of the story." The three songs Giselle sings contain references to earlier Disney films. The first song played in the film, "True Love's Kiss", was written to be "a send-up of, and an homage to, the style of those Disney animated features", namely, "I'm Wishing" (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (Cinderella), during which Disney heroines sing about the joy of being loved. It posed a challenge for Menken and Schwartz because of the "many preconceptions with that number"; it had to be reflective of the era of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella. Accordingly, Amy Adams performed the first song in an operetta style in contrast to the Broadway style of the later songs.
Both "Happy Working Song" and "That's How You Know" also pay tributes to past Disney songs. "Happy Working Song" pays a lyrical homage to such songs as "Whistle While You Work" (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), "The Work Song" (Cinderella) "A Spoonful of Sugar" (Mary Poppins) and Making Christmas (The Nightmare Before Christmas), and a musical homage to the Sherman Brothers (with a self-parodic 'Alan Menken style' middle eight). "That's How You Know" is a self-parody of Menken's compositions for his Disney features, specifically such big production numbers as "Under the Sea" (The Little Mermaid) and "Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast). To achieve this, Schwartz admitted he had to "push it a little bit further in terms of choices of words or certain lyrics" while maintaining "the classic Walt Disney sensibility". However, Menken noted that the songs he has written for Disney have always been "a little tongue-in-cheek". As the film progresses, the music uses more contemporary styles, which is heard through the adult ballad "So Close" and the country/pop number "Ever Ever After".
Out of the six completed songs written by Menken and Schwartz, five remained in the finished film. The titular song "Enchanted", a duet featuring Idina Menzel and James Marsden, was cut from the movie.
The majority of the visual effects shots in Enchanted were done by tippett Studio in Berkeley, California, who contributed a total of 320 shots. These shots involved virtual sets, environmental effects and CG characters that performed alongside real actors, namely the animated animals during the "Happy Working Song" sequence, Pip and the Narissa dragon during the live action portions of the film. CIS Hollywood was responsible for 36 visual effects shots, which primarily dealt with wire removals and composites. Reel FX Creative Studios did four visual effects shots involving the pop-up book page-turn transitions while Weta Digital did two.
Out of all the animals that appear in the "Happy Working Song" sequence, the only real animals filmed on set were rats and pigeons. The real animals captured on film aided Tippett Studio in creating CG rats and pigeons, which gave dynamic performances such as having pigeons that carried brooms in their beaks and rats that scrubbed with toothbrushes. On the other hand, all the cockroaches were CG characters.
Pip, a chipmunk who can talk in the 2D world of Andalasia, loses his ability to communicate through speech in the real world so he must rely heavily on facial and body gestures. This meant the animators had to display Pip's emotions through performance as well as making him appear like a real chipmunk. The team at Tippett began the process of animating Pip by observing live chipmunks which were filmed in motion from "every conceivable angle", after which they created a photorealistic chipmunk through the use of 3D computer graphics software, Maya and Furrocious. When visual effects supervisor Thomas Schelesny showed the first animation of Pip to director Kevin Lima, he was surprised that he was a looking at CG character and not reference footage. During the filming of scenes in which Pip appears, a number of ways were used to indicate the physical presence of Pip. On some occasions, a small stuffed chipmunk with a wire armature on the inside was placed in the scene. In other situations, a rod with a small marker on the end or a laser pointer would be used to show the actors and cinematographer where Pip is.
Unlike Pip, the Narissa dragon was allowed to be more of a fantasy character while still looking like a living character and a classic Disney villain. When filming the scene which sees the transformation of Narissa from a woman into a dragon, a long pole was used to direct the extras' eyelines instead of a laser pointer. Set pieces were made to move back and forth in addition to having a computer-controlled lighting setup and a repeatable head on the camera that were all synchronized together. In the film's final sequence, in which Narissa climbs the Woolworth Building while clutching Robert in her claws, a greenscreen rig was built to hold Patrick Dempsey in order to film his face and movements. The rig was a "puppeteering" approach that involved a robotic arm being controlled by three different floor effects artists.
The film was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to 3,730 theaters in the United States. It was distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International to over 50 territories around the world and topped the box office in several countries including the United Kingdom and Italy.
Enchanted was released on standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on March 18, 2008, in the United States. While Enchanted topped the DVD sales chart on the week of its release in the United States, narrowly defeating the DVD sales of I Am Legend, the Blu-ray Disc sales of I Am Legend were nearly four times the number of Blu-ray Disc sales of Enchanted. The DVD was released in United Kingdom and Europe on April 7, 2008, and in Australia on May 21, 2008.
The bonus features included on both the DVD and Blu-ray Disc are "Fantasy Comes to Life", a three-part behind-the-scenes feature including "Happy Working Song", "That's How You Know" and "A Blast at the Ball"; six deleted scenes with brief introductions by director Kevin Lima; bloopers; "Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure", a short in pop-up storybook style; and Carrie Underwood's music video for "Ever Ever After". Featured on the Blu-ray disc only is a trivia game entitled "The D Files" that runs throughout the movie with high scoring players given access to videos "So Close", "Making Ever Ever After" and "True Love's Kiss". In the United States, certain DVDs at Target stores contain a bonus DVD disc with a 30-minute long making-of documentary titled Becoming Enchanted: A New Classic Comes True. This DVD is also sold with certain DVDs at HMV stores in the United Kingdom.
The film received very positive reviews from critics. The movie review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes tallied the film at an overall 93% approval rating (based on 169 reviews, with 158 "fresh" and 11 "rotten"), while Metacritic gave it a 75% rating based on 32 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film as the ninth best reviewed film in wide release of 2007 and named it the best family film of 2007.
Positive reviews praised the film's take on a classic Disney story, its comedy and musical numbers as well as the performance of its lead actress, Amy Adams. Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, describing it as a "heart-winning musical comedy that skips lightly and sprightly from the lily pads of hope to the manhole covers of actuality" and one that "has a Disney willingness to allow fantasy into life". Film critics of Variety and LA Weekly remarked on the film's ability to cater for all ages. LA Weekly described the film as "the sort of buoyant, all-ages entertainment that Hollywood has been laboring to revive in recent years (most recently with Hairspray) but hasn't managed to get right until now", while Todd McCarthy of Variety commented, "More than Disney's strictly animated product, Enchanted, in the manner of the vast majority of Hollywood films made until the '60s, is a film aimed at the entire population – niches be damned. It simply aims to please, without pandering, without vulgarity, without sops to pop-culture fads, and to pull this off today is no small feat." Enchanted was the Broadcast Film Critics Association's choice for Best Family Film of 2007, while Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it the 4th best film of 2007.
Rolling Stone, Premiere, USA Today, and The Boston Globe all gave the film three out of four, while the Baltimore Sun gave the film a B grade. They cited that although the story is relatively predictable, the way in which the predictability of the film is part of the story, the amazingly extravagant musical numbers, along with the way in which Disney pokes fun at its traditional line of animated movies outweighs any squabbles about storyline or being unsure of what age bracket the film is made for. Michael Sragow of Baltimore Sun remarked that the film's "piquant idea and enough good jokes to overcome its uneven movie-making and uncertain tone", while Claudia Puig of USA Today stated that "though it's a fairly predictable fish-out-of-water tale (actually a princess-out-of-storybook saga), the casting is so perfect that it takes what could have been a ho-hum idea and renders it magical."
Amy Adams herself garnered many favorable reviews. Reviewers praised her singing ability and asserted that her performance, which was compared by some to her Academy Award-nominated performance in Junebug, has made Adams a movie star, likening it to Mary Poppins' effect on Julie Andrews' career. Similarly, film critics Richard Roeper and Michael Phillips, who gave the film positive reviews on At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, emphasized the effect of Adams' performance on the film with remarks like "Amy Adams is this movie" and "Amy Adams shows how to make a comic cliché work like magic." However, both agreed that the final sequence involving the computer-generated dragon of Narissa "bogged down" the film.
Empire stated that the film was targeted at children but agreed with other reviewers that the "extremely game cast" was the film's best asset. It gave the film three out of five. TIME gave the film a C-, stating that the film "cannibalizes Walt's vault for jokes" and "fails to find a happy ending that doesn't feel two-dimensional". Similarly, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian commented that the film "assumes a beady-eyed and deeply humourless sentimentality" and that Adams' performance was the "only decent thing in this overhyped family movie covered in a cellophane shrink-wrap of corporate Disney plastic-ness". Bradshaw gave the film two out of five.
Box office performance
Enchanted earned $7,967,766 on the day of its release in the United States, placing at #1. It was also placed at #1 on Thanksgiving Day, earning $6,652,198 to bring its two-day total to $14.6 million. The film grossed $14.4 million on the following day, bringing its total haul to $29.0 million placing ahead of other contenders. Enchanted made $34.4 million on the Friday-Sunday period in 3,730 theaters for a per location average of $9,472 and $49.1 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday in 3,730 theaters for a per location average of $13,153. Its earnings over the five-day holiday exceeded projections by $7 million.
In its second weekend, Enchanted was also the #1 film, grossing a further $16,403,316 at 3,730 locations for a per theater average of $4,397. It dropped to #2 in its third weekend, with a gross of $10,709,515 in 3,520 theaters for a per theater average of $3,042. It finished its fourth weekend at #4 with a gross of $5,533,884 in 3,066 locations for a per theater average of $1,804. Enchanted earned a gross of $127,807,262 in the United States and Canada as well a total of $340,487,652 worldwide. It was the 15th highest-grossing film worldwide released in 2007.
In total, Enchanted was nominated for 19 awards presented by various critics associations and movie industry groups, five of which it won: Best Live Action Family Film at the 8th Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, Best Family Film at the 13th Critics' Choice Awards, notably beating out Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and three Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Actress for Amy Adams, and Best Music for Alan Menken.
Enchanted dominated the Best Original Song category at the 80th Academy Awards with three nominations but did not win either one. The nominated songs were "Happy Working Song", "So Close" and "That's How You Know", all three of which were written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. "That's How You Know" was also nominated at the 65th Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song and the film's lead actress, Amy Adams, was nominated in the category of Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
At the 13th Critics' Choice Awards, Adams was nominated for Best Actress, Menken was nominated for his film score in the category of Best Composer and "That's How You Know" was nominated for Best Song. Enchanted received two nominations at the 12th Satellite Awards: Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for Amy Adams' performance and Best Visual Effects for the visual effects work done by Thomas Schelesny, Matt Jacobs and Tom Gibbons. Gibbons, along with James W. Brown, David Richard Nelson and John Koester, were nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award in the Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture category for the animated chipmunk, Pip. Costume designer Mona May received a nomination in the category of Excellence in Fantasy Film at the 10th Costume Designers Guild Awards but lost to The Golden Compass, while music editors Kenneth Karman, Jermey Raub and Joanie Diener were nominated for a Golden Reel Award in the category of Best Sound Editing: Music in a Musical Feature Film.
The film also received three nominations at the MTV Movie Awards and four nominations at the Teen Choice Awards, which are voted upon by the general public. The three MTV Movie Award nominations were Best Female performance (for Amy Adams), Best Comedic Performance (for Amy Adams) and Best Kiss (for Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey). The nominations at the Teen Choice Awards were Choice Movie: Chick Flick, Choice Movie Actress: Comedy (for Amy Adams), Choice Movie Actor: Comedy (for James Marsden), and Choice Movie: Villain (for Susan Sarandon). Menken and Schwartz were nominated twice at the 51st Grammy Awards in the category of Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for "Ever Ever After" and "That's How You Know". For its trailer, the film received a 2008 Golden Trailer Award for Best Animation/Family feature film preview.
According to director Kevin Lima, "thousands" of references are made to past and future works of Disney in Enchanted, which serve as both a parody of and a "giant love letter to Disney classics". It took almost eight years for Walt Disney Studios to greenlight the production of the film because it "was always quite nervous about the tone in particular". As Lima worked with Bill Kelly, the writer, to inject Disney references to the plot, it became "an obsession"; he derived the name of every character as well as anything that needed a name from past Disney films to bring in more Disney references.
While Disney animators have occasionally inserted a Disney character into background shots, for example, Donald Duck appears in a crowd in The Little Mermaid, they have avoided "mingling characters" from other Disney films for fear of weakening their individual mythologies. In Enchanted, characters from past Disney films are openly seen, such as the appearances of Thumper and Flower from Bambi in the 2D animation portion of the film. Disney references are also made through camera work, sets, costumes, music and dialogue. Obvious examples include the use of poisoned apples from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and True Love's Kiss from Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, admitted that part of the goal of Enchanted was to create a new franchise (through the character of Giselle) and to revive the older ones.
- Prince Edward wanted to marry Giselle and find her for her voice like Prince Eric and Prince Phillip.
- Thumper and Flower are seen with Giselle in the 2-D part.
- Giselle arrives at the chapel in a coach resembling the pumpkin coach from Cinderella.
- Similarly to Cinderella, Giselle wears a white dress.
- Queen Narissa turns into a hag to trick Giselle like the Evil Queen does to Snow White.
- "Part of Your World" is heard whilst Giselle is looking at the fish at Robert's Work.
- Giselle cleans up Robert's apartment with the help of animals, similarly to how Snow White did it.
- When Giselle is scrubbing the floor in the bathroom, her relecction is seen in bubbles like in Cinderella.
- When Giselle leaves the shower, the birds give her a beige towel. The way the towel lies down on her when she accidentally falls on Robert during Nancy's visit is reminicent of Ariel's attire mainly composed of beige cloth being tied up by ropes.
- Jodi Benson guest stars as Sam, Robert's secretary. Benson provided the speaking and singing voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid and was the voice of several Barbie dolls in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
- Poisoned apples are used like The Evil Queen has.
- When Nathaniel hands Giselle the poisoned apple, the caramel covering it makes the same skull pattern seen on the poisoned apple in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- During "That's How You Know" sequence, when Giselle and Robert are swimming on a boat in the pond is reference to to the "Kiss the Girl" sequence from The Little Mermaid where Ariel and Eric are also swimming on a boat in a pond.
- As Nathaniel is watching the soap opera, "Beauty and the Beast" is heard in the background.
- Paige O'Hara guest stars as a soap opera character. She provides the speaking and singing voices of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
- The news reporter that interviews Giselle has the last name Caselotti, a tribute to the voice of Snow White, Adriana Caselotti.
- The "So Close" ball sequence references the "Beauty and the Beast" dance sequence from Beauty and the Beast.
- True Love's Kiss is needed to wake the princess up like in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Queen Narissa transforms into a dragon like Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
- Giselle loses her shoe as she runs out of the ball to save Robert, simiarly to Cinderella.
- Judy Kuhn guest stars as a Pregnant Woman with Kids. Kuhn provided the speaking and singing voice of Pocahontas in Pocahontas and its sequel.
- Julie Andrews plays the part of the Narrator. Andrews played Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins and appeared in The Princess Diaries Series as Queen Clarisse Renaldi.
- One of the old men in the song "How Does She Know" also played one of the Chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins.
- When Giselle accidently covers a man with her dress, she mistakenly identifies him as Grumpy after seeing his size and attitude towards her.
- The way Narissa (as the dragon) and Robert fall from the Woolworth Building, with Narissa falling to her death but Robert managing to land on the building on a lower level, is similar to what happened with Claude Frollo and Quasimodo, respectively, during the final battle in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Disney had originally planned to add Giselle to the Disney Princess line-up, as was shown at a 2007 Toy Fair where the Giselle doll was featured with packaging declaring her with Disney Princess status, but decided against it when they realized they would have to pay for lifelong rights to Amy Adams' image. While Giselle is not being marketed as one of the Disney Princesses, Enchanted merchandise was made available in various outlets with Adams' animated likeness being used on all Giselle merchandise. Giselle led the 2007 Hollywood Holly-Day Parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios. She was also featured in the 2007 Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade in the Magic Kingdom with the official Disney Princesses.
A video game based on the film was released for Nintendo DS and mobile phones in addition to a Game Boy Advance title, Enchanted: Once Upon Andalasia, which is a prequel to the film, about Giselle and Pip rescuing Andalasia from a magic spell.
- Part of the Pink Elephants' parade from Dumbo was heard playing and the scene where Edgar Bergen was comforting Mortimer Snerd when he was crying because of Willie's supposed death from Fun and Fancy Free was seen on T.V.
- Like in Frozen, the main heroine falls in love with the prince, and after a disaster, has to spend time with someone else, and finds out out at the end that her true love is actually not the prince, but the person whom she spent more time with. Both heroines also have a duet with the prince, and want to marry a day after meeting each other.
- This is the only unofficial Disney Princess film to be both a live-action and animated movie.
As of July 2014, Disney had hired screenwriters J. David Stem and David N. Weiss to write a script for a sequel and also hired Anne Fletcher to direct the film.