Enchanted (PG), Bee Movie, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Enchanted? Oh yes, this is Disney at its fairytale best

The least headache-inducing of this week's three family films is Disney's Enchanted, which seems, for the first 10 minutes, to be the sort of hand-drawn cartoon which the studio was making when Walt was still in charge. Its heroine is Giselle, who lives in a storybook forest, where she trills ballads about spring-cleaning her cottage, with the assistance of her four-legged woodland chums. She's to marry the prince of her dreams, too, until his wicked stepmother banishes her to "a place where there are no happily ever afters" New York City.

From then on, the film is live-action, and Giselle is a flesh-and-blood woman, played by Amy Adams. Her tendency to dance and sing whenever the mood takes her disconcerts everyone she meets, including single dad (Patrick Dempsey) who lets her sleep on his sofa. And although her soprano yodel can still summon wild animals to help with the housework, they're now rats, roaches and one-legged pigeons.

Adams, who was Oscar-nominated for her part in Junebug, is perfect in the fish-out-of-water role, getting laughs, and the audience's sympathies, simply by playing Giselle's twinkling naivety absolutely straight. She can sing, too. There's also rousing support from Susan Sarandon, as the witch, and from James Marsden, as the handsome, yet none-too-brainy prince who follows Giselle into the real world.

The joy of Enchanted is that it's a mischievous pastiche of Disney conventions, but it's also wholesome and, yes, enchanting. And it could be a sign that Disney is finally playing to its strengths. When it comes to hip, ironic 3D computer animation, Disney is never going to beat Pixar and Dreamworks, and they shouldn't bother to try. What children want from a Disney film is fairy tales, a few songs, and lush animation. Enchanted may be mostly live-action, but it still qualifies as Disney's best cartoon in years.

Speaking of hip, ironic, 3D computer animation, Bee Movie is co-written and co-produced by Jerry Seinfeld, who also voices its stripy hero, Barry B Benson. At first, Seinfeld's comic outlook fits surprisingly neatly into a world of cartoon insects, just as Woody Allen's did in Antz. In Bee Movie, bees work for the Honex corporation, a division of Honesco, and their lives are so short that they spend only three days at college. Then things start to go awry. It's weird enough when Barry starts dating a human florist, voiced by Renee Zellweger, but when he decides to sue the human race for using honey without the bees' permission it's like a brainstorming session in which no one had the courage to criticise the boss's bad ideas. The Seinfeldish gags keep buzzing along, but as the film flits from coming-of-age movie to romantic comedy to courtroom drama to disaster movie to heist movie and then back to disaster movie, it's so undisciplined that Bee Movie is a "C" at best.

It could be worse, though. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium is set in a magical toyshop owned by a 243-year-old wizard, played as a lisping simpleton by Dustin Hoffman. He's planning to hand over the store to his assistant, Natalie Portman. And that's all there is to it. There's forced whimsy by the bucketful, some shoplifting from Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl's own wonder emporia, and innumerable lectures about believing in yourself.

However, beneath all the quirkiness and the preachiness there's almost no story left on the shelves. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium is the setting for a film. Now someone just has to come up with the film.

Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
    Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

    They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

    A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
    David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

    Hanging with the Hoff

    Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
    Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

    Hipsters of Arabia

    Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
    The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

    The cult of Roger Federer

    What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
    Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

    Malaysian munchies

    With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
    10 best festival beauty

    Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

    Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
    Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

    A Different League

    Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
    Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

    Steve Bunce on Boxing

    Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf