Looking to Disney for a provocative satire of fairy-tale princess movies is foolish. I knew that going in, but I was hoping, anyway, for some of the pluck of “Petronella” by Jay Williams or “The Long-Nosed Princess” by Priscilla Hallowell—stories I loved as a little girl for the way they applied the magical just-so quality of fables to stories featuring female characters with agency and personality. I wasn’t fundamentally opposed to happy endings or even to princesses; I just couldn’t get interested in girls who only sat there while the boys had all the fun and made all the decisions.
But Enchanted was a disappointment, both to the adult me disgusted with the whole princess culture and to the child me, hidden underneath the cynicism and doubt, hoping for an heir to Petronella and long-nosed Felicity. The movie makes feints in their direction. It lightly tweaks a few conventions and moralizes that after the whole love-at-first-sight thing, you might spend a while getting to know your Twoo Wuv, but all that is just filigree over a story that, at its core, is indistinguishable from those of the movies it teases: just another passive heroine, another lifeless romance.