REVIEW: ELLA ENCHANTED

CAST

Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Steeve Coogan (The Parole Officer)
Aidan McArdle (No Angels)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day)
Eric Idle (Nuns on The Run)
Parminder Nagra (Agents of SHIELD)
Jim Carter  (Brassed Off)
Patrick Bergin (The Lawnmower Man 2)
Joanna Lumley (Euro Trip)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Jimi Mistry (The Guru)
In the kingdom of Frell, a baby girl named Ella (Anne Hathaway) is born to Sir Peter and his wife Lady Eleanor. She is given the “gift of obedience” by a misguided and obnoxious fairy called Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). This turns out to be more of a curse, as it forces Ella to do anything she is told to do, even if the command is against her wishes. Ella’s mother, on her deathbed, warns her daughter not to tell anyone about the curse she is under for fear that someone might use it to exploit Ella. After her mother’s death, only Mandy (Minnie Driver), the household fairy, knows the secret.

Several years later, Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin) remarries to a wealthy socialite, Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), who dislikes Ella. Her spoiled daughters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) notice Ella’s obedience and start to humiliate her. Ella stumbles upon Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), the handsome heir who will soon take the throne, as he’s being pursued by his fan club of besotted young women. He invites Ella to the Coronation Ball, but Olga intercepts the invitation. Hattie and Olive, fan club members themselves, are overcome with jealousy. They force Ella to insult and cut ties with her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra).

Ella cannot bear her situation a moment longer, and resolves to find Lucinda, as she is the only one who can reverse the spell. Mandy helps by lending Ella her boyfriend Benny (Jimi Mistry), who she accidentally transformed into a talking magical book that can show people in their current surroundings. During her journey, Ella encounters an elf named Slannen (Aidan McArdle), who wants to be a lawyer instead of an entertainer as the laws now require. They are both captured by a group of ogres, who want to eat them. Prince Charmont rescues them and accompanies them to a wedding in the land of giants, where Ella hopes to find Lucinda. En route, Ella opens Char’s eyes to the cruelty of the laws oppressing elves and giants established by the acting ruler, Char’s uncle Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes). Char invites Ella to visit the palace’s Hall of Records and find Lucinda faster. But Edgar’s talking snake, Heston (voiced by Steve Coogan), is spying on them.

At the palace, Heston tells Edgar about Ella’s obedience, which Hattie confirms when Edgar offers her Char’s hand in marriage. Knowing that Char intends to marry Ella, Edgar orders her to kill him when he proposes, and keep the plan a secret. Edgar also reveals that he murdered Char’s father. To save Char, Ella writes him a letter, saying she is leaving permanently and cannot explain why, which breaks his heart. She then asks Slannen to tie her to a tree and get the giants to help. Lucinda then appears before Ella, who asks her to undo the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda is offended that Ella doesn’t like her gift and simply tells Ella to remove it herself. She unties Ella, gives her a fancy dress, and tells her to attend the ball, where Char almost immediately takes her to the Hall of Mirrors and asks her to marry him.

Ella is about to stab him with the dagger Edgar provided, when she realizes Lucinda has provided the answer: looking into a mirror, she says, “You will NO LONGER BE OBEDIENT!” She drops the dagger and Char sees it. But Edgar is spying on them, and before Ella can explain, he orders the guards to lock her up and be executed the following day.

Meanwhile, Benny informs Slannen, the giants, and the ogres that Ella is in trouble, so they all sneak into the castle to rescue her. They find out that Edgar is poisoning the crown Char will receive during the ceremony. Ella and her allies burst in just in time to stop him putting it on. Edgar and Heston call for the knights and Red Guards, and a battle ensues. Ella explains everything while fighting alongside Char, while Mandy manages to transform Benny back into a human. When Edgar’s forces lose, Heston tries to bite Char, but is stopped by Ella. Caught trying to kill the prince, Edgar admits to the crowd that he killed the King, but says only he deserves the crown. Then, carried away by his own rhetoric, he puts it dramatically on his own head—poisoning himself.

Char and Ella kiss; her stepsisters arrive and order her to stop, but she happily refuses. Char once again asks Ella to marry him, and she agrees: “Now that I’ll do.” The movie ends with their wedding and a musical number. During all this, it’s shown that Slannen is in a relationship with a giant (Heidi Klum), Ella has rekindled her friendship with Areida, and Edgar has survived. The Narrator announces two final words: The End.A typical fairytale story brought up to date. It’s fresh and new for older audiences.

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REVIEW: SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT

CAST (VOICES)
Trey Parker (Orgazmo)
Matt Stone (Team America)
Mary Kay Bergman (The Iron Giant)
Isaac Hayes (Stargate Sg.1)
George Clooney (The IDes of March)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Dave Foley (A Bug’s Life)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Mike Judge (Office Space)
Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman head to the local movie theater to see the new film Terrance and Phillip: Asses of Fire which stars the boys’ favorite Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip (“Mountain Town”), but when the boys get there, they are refused entry due to the film being rated R by the MPAA, so they pay a homeless man to accompany them. The boys learn obscene phrases from the movie (“Uncle Fucka”) which makes the other kids in town want to see the movie. Stan finds his love interest, Wendy, ice-skating with a well-educated boy from Yardsdale named Gregory (“Wendy’s Song”). Whenever Stan tries to talk to Wendy he throws up (Wendy is now starting to be disgusted by his frequent vomiting, unlike in the show), so he asks Chef for advice on how to impress women. He is told that all he needs to do is to find the clitoris. Stan does not know what the clitoris is, but nevertheless searches for it throughout the film.
The kids begin cursing in class, so they are sent to see Counselor Mackey who informs their mothers. Learning that the language was from the movie, their parents force the teachers to enforce a strict dress code banning all types of Terrance and Phillip clothing and abandon their previous lesson plans and run a rehabilitation center for the kids to get them to stop swearing (“It’s Easy, M’Kay”). Afterwards, the boys and the rest of the children go to see the movie again. Kenny bets Cartman $100 that he can set his fart on fire like Terrance did in the film. Kenny immolates himself and dies when the doctors accidentally replace his heart with a baked potato. The boys are grounded for seeing the Terrance & Phillip movie again and Kenny is refused admission to Heaven and sent to Hell (“Hell Isn’t Good”), where he is tormented by Satan and Saddam Hussein who are gay lovers. The parents of South Park organize a boycott against Canada and Terrance and Phillip (“Blame Canada”), which is led by Sheila (Kyle’s mother). The new group of angry mob, called “Mothers Against Canada” has Terrance and Phillip arrested as war criminals, and when the United States refuses to release the duo, Canada strikes back by bombing the residence of the Baldwin brothers.
Sheila, now the appointed as “Secretary of Offense of the United States” and President Bill Clinton announce that the United States will go war with Canada and will have Terrance and Phillip executed at an upcoming USO show. After overhearing Cartman leading the kids in annoying Kyle with a song degrading herself and admonishing her ridiculous methods (“Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch”), she has Dr. Vosknocker forcibly implant a V-Chip in Cartman. The device gives sharp violent electrical shock every time Cartman swears. Meanwhile, back in Hell, Satan declares that if the blood of the two innocent Canadians touches American soil, it will be time for him to rise up and rule the world. Saddam wants to come with him, but Satan is tired of being bossed around by Saddam (“Up There”). Kenny tells Satan to break up with Saddam to which Satan initially agrees, but Saddam wins back Satan with a song (“I Can Change”). Kenny’s ghost visits Cartman to warn him of the consequences of executing Terrance and Phillip. The boys, after failing to convince their parents, decide to take matters into their own hands (“What Would Brian Boitano Do”). They have a secret meeting to talk about how they can save Terrance and Phillip. They form La Resistance and Gregory tells Stan to recruit a God-hating French expert on covert operations named “The Mole” (“La Resistance”).
While the troops, waiting for the execution of Terrance and Phillip, are being entertained by Big Gay Al (“I’m Super”), La Resistance and The Mole infiltrate the USO show, but The Mole is discovered by Sheila and the guards and is killed by guard dogs after Cartman fails to deactivate the alarms (“The Mole’s Reprise”). The remaining three children attempt to warn their mothers and the army about what will happen if Terrance and Phillip are killed, but they instead laugh at them, and Mr. Garrison throws the switch to the electric chair. A large Canadian force attacks the base and a massive battle ensues between the two armies. In the confusion, the boys are able to free Terrance and Phillip, though Cartman’s V-chip begins to malfunction from the electric shock. The other mothers, seeing the destruction their “Mothers Against Canada” movement has incited, decide to call it quits and head off to look for their children. After being stunned by an explosion, Stan has a hallucination and is visited by “The Clitoris” which tells him that all he needs is confidence if he wants to win Wendy’s heart and also reminds him about what’s more important: saving the world.
Stan leads the kids to find Terrance and Phillip who have been cornered by the US army. La Resistance forms a human shield while Kyle tries to persuade the army and his mother against killing the two, stating that he wants her to stop fighting everyone and deal with him. However, Sheila refuses and shoots Terrance and Phillip which fulfills the prophecy and results in Satan, his minions, and Saddam rising from Hell and attacking both Canadian and United States armies; as a result, Sheila now regrets everything, even though she wanted “to make the world a better place for children.” Saddam immediately tries to usurp Satan’s authority, demanding homage and announcing his intent to rule the world himself. Cartman is able to hold Saddam off by using his malfunctioning V-Chip to generate massive blasts of lightning every time he swears. With Kenny’s encouragement, Satan finally gets rid of Saddam by casting him back to Hell and getting impaled on a sharp stalagmite. Satan then grants Kenny a wish in repayment: Kenny asks for everything to return to how it was before the war, even though it means he’ll go back to Hell. He takes off his hood to say goodbye to his friends, revealing his face and voice for the first time. All the other deceased characters are brought back to life, the Canadians and Americans become friends again, Wendy becomes Stan’s girlfriend again and dumps Gregory (she never really liked him), and everything returns to normal in South Park (“Mountain Town (reprise)”). Instead of returning to Hell, Kenny ascends to Heaven due to his act of sacrifice, where naked angels are waiting for him and he is granted a halo and wings.
In a post-credits scene, Ike is still in the attic (when Kyle was hiding him from the American soldiers from taking him to an interment camp) and then eats a mouse that scampers by.
In essense it’s a very worthy release and is a must for any South Park fans out there. Please note, don’t expect groundbreaking special effects and all that jazz. It’s delightfully ruthlessly in-your-face crude, juvenile, political, outlandish and sheerly obscene. It’s South Park.