Things In Ella Enchanted That Only Adults Notice

Ella Enchanted was one of the cheesier movies of the 2000s that we still can't help but love. The sometimes-silly but oh-so-fun 2004 film was based on the novel of the same name by Gail Carson Levine (per film critic Roger Ebert). It was basically a Cinderella retelling with a twist. Gifted (or cursed, depending on your perspective) with the gift of obedience, Ella, played by Anne Hathaway, has to do whatever anyone tells her to do. She embarks on a quest to break the spell on her, finding love and adventure along the way.

Ella Enchanted is a lot of fun for kids, but is it as magical for adults? Or does the cynicism of grown-up life take off some of the shine of this beloved classic? Whether you love the movie or hate it, here are some of the things you'll only notice in Ella Enchanted if you watch it as an adult.

Why hasn't anyone tried to put a stop to Lucinda in Ella Enchanted?

In Ella Enchanted, the fairy Lucinda has a penchant for going around and giving people terrible "gifts," such as the gift of obedience she gives to Ella. Other fairies seem to agree that Lucinda is a pretty horrible person, so you've got to wonder how she's allowed to just run amok. Why don't some of the fairies who are frustrated with her behavior team up to put a stop to her reign of terror?

This fairy is clearly trouble, so it's kind of strange that the threat of her menacing gifts isn't being taken seriously in Ella Enchanted. We are, after all, talking about a kingdom that has strict laws to keep ogres, elves, and giants from gaining too much power. While this is, of course, an oppressive and terrible thing, it's still mind boggling that a country that is so wary of magical creatures would just ignore a fairy who has spent years wreaking havoc on the kingdom. 

Has Lucinda actually cast a spell on the entire kingdom in Ella Enchanted that allows her to bring chaos wherever she goes without any fear of repercussions?

Why does Mandy only have one outfit in Ella Enchanted?

We aren't entirely sure what's going on with the clothes in Ella Enchanted. While the outfits can't be pinpointed to a specific time period, in what seems to be a deliberate attempt at combining a magical kingdom with modern-day references, that doesn't explain what's going on with Mandy's outfit. Yes, outfit — she only has one. Mandy's outfit is pink, which seems to be the color that all fairies wear, although why they do is never explained.

If the other characters wore the same outfit throughout the film, which wouldn't really be unusual for a fairy tale, things might make more sense, but all the other main characters get costume changes. Why doesn't Mandy?

Even towards the end of the film, when everyone is dressed up for Prince Char's coronation, Mandy is still wearing the same pink outfit she wore more than a decade earlier when Ella was born. It's only in the final scene when Ella and Char get married that Mandy is seen wearing a new outfit. Does Mandy have multiple sets of the same outfit? Or is she keeping her one outfit fresh through her magic?

Ella Enchanted's Dame Olga doesn't seem like the type to rush into a marriage

After Ella's mother passes away in Ella Enchanted, her dad remarries Dame Olga without even telling his only child beforehand. Ella scarcely has time to process the fact that she has a new stepmother when Olga shows up to the house with her two daughters in tow. Olga and her daughters, Hattie and Olive, are the quintessential evil stepmother and evil stepsisters. Dame Olga begins to show her true colors when she becomes visibly upset that her new husband's charming-but-modest home isn't a castle.

Olga is clearly a gold digger, so it seems pretty strange that she wouldn't verify a suitor's net worth before rushing to the altar. Olga is definitely the type of woman who would want to see a guy's house, his bank statements, and his tax returns for the past ten years before tying the knot. It's clear that she doesn't really have any true feelings for Ella's father and certainly doesn't care for Ella, so it seems even more out of character that she wouldn't perform an examination of his assets before accepting his proposal.

How did no one else find out about Ella's gift in Ella Enchanted?

When Dame Olga and her kids move into Ella's home in Ella Enchanted, it takes evil stepsister Hattie about half a scene to figure out that Ella is obligated to obey any and all commands. She even exercises her control over Ella in front of their class at school. It's established in Ella Enchanted that, while Hattie is manipulative and greedy, she's not particularly bright. If she can figure out Ella's so-called gift so quickly, how does no one else know about it?

Remember, this is a secret that has been kept from almost everyone. Even Ella's father doesn't know about the gift. Yet it seems like it would be pretty easy for the people in Ella's life to notice something was up. How is it possible that not even Areida, Ella's best friend since childhood, hasn't pieced together the fact that things are not quite right with her BFF? 

How did Ella suddenly forget the Elfin Restrictions Act in Ella Enchanted?

While on the road to find the fairy Lucinda in order to ask her to remove the "gift" of obedience in Ella Enchanted, Ella teams up with an elf named Slannen. While talking to him, Ella seems to completely forget about the Elfin Restrictions Act that prevents Slannen from pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer, as elves are only allowed to work in the entertainment industry. 

While this lack of knowledge might be understandable coming from the average citizen, Ella has spent a good chunk of Ella Enchanted up until that scene protesting the unfair conditions that have been imposed upon the magical creatures of the kingdom. Activism is kind of her thing. So how did she forget something so basic? This moment in Ella Enchanted was clearly written just so Slannen can explain how the elves are suffering under these oppressive laws, but it simply doesn't make sense for Ella to have forgotten.

Why did Char just let human-eating ogres go in Ella Enchanted?!

When Ella is captured by ogres in Ella Enchanted and is unable to flee thanks to her gift of obedience, Char, played by Hannibal's Hugh Dancy, miraculously comes along and saves her. After Ella is freed, Char confronts the ogres and asks if they killed his father, as his uncle, Edgar, had told him that the former king had been killed by ogres. The ogres say that Char's father was a "good man," and then Char lets them go... Wait, what?

While Char sparing the lives of the ogres was a noble and benevolent thing to do, it was also quite foolish. Whether or not they had actually killed Char's father, the ogres had proven that they are dangerous. They almost ate Ella, after all. And yet, instead of capturing them and imprisoning them, or even taking down their names and warning them not to snack on any other humans, Char just lets them walk off into the forest. It's like this guy doesn't care about the safety of his subjects at all.

Char in Ella Enchanted is truly a clueless royal

Prince Char may be beautiful, but he really is lacking in the brains department. How does he know so little about his kingdom? His uncle, Edgar, mentions that Char has been off at school while he'd been holding down the fort (and the crown). Has Char just been off partying for the last few years without once asking his uncle how he had been ruling the kingdom? Is he clueless, or does he simply not care? Either way, we're far from impressed. 

While the concept of a playboy prince isn't exactly unfamiliar, even to those of us who don't live in a fairy tale, it's pretty disappointing that the love interest of Ella Enchanted is one. Why couldn't Ella fall for a man whose passions and convictions match hers?

Yes, Char starts to change by the end of Ella Enchanted, but change doesn't happen overnight. Ella has a long road ahead trying to mold Char into a good king. It's safe to say that she's going to be the de facto ruler of the country, because she knows a lot more about politics and diplomacy than the prince does.

Ella's infatuation with Char in Ella Enchanted is kind of puzzling

Yes, Ella, Char is very cute and charming, but there are plenty of men out there. How did the seemingly sensible protagonist of Ella Enchanted end up infatuated so quickly with the man she had spent so long resenting for his governmental policies? She doesn't even wait until he commits to being a better ruler before swooning — Ella is clearly enchanted by Char the very first time she sets eyes on him.

As Ella Enchanted progresses, Ella becomes more and more smitten, and it's pretty unsettling to see our strong-minded heroine behaving so irrationally and out of character, especially as she was so dismissive earlier in the movie of Char's fan club whose members only adore him because of his good looks. Char isn't the worst possible choice of suitor, but he's not exactly on Ella's level. Adults watching Ella Enchanted won't be able to help but notice that the romance that plays out in the film is far from ideal. Ella should be with someone who is as passionate and committed to upholding justice as she is.

Char is really rushing his relationship with Ella in Ella Enchanted

Char is smitten the first time he sees Ella in Ella Enchanted. She is, after all, the first girl who has dared speak her mind to him instead of fawning over his good looks, so she must be his soulmate, right? His "love" for her only grows as she continues to tell him off and help him learn empathy. After finally become a halfway decent human being, Char and Ella kiss and he rushes her back to his castle and gets ready to propose. 

While being enamored with a woman's confidence is better than the fairytale trope of falling in love with a damsel's beauty, it still pushes the "love at first sight" narrative. Not only is falling in love with someone this quickly unlikely, but it also promotes unrealistic expectations of what love is. Kids watching Ella Enchanted will see a fairly formulaic fairytale love story unfold. Adults, however, will see Char's superficial love for the shallow thing that it is. True love, after all, isn't something you just stumble into. It's a choice that you make to grow with someone after getting to know them.

Couldn't Ella have had Slannen stop her from killing Char in Ella Enchanted?

After Char's evil uncle Edgar discovers Ella's secret in Ella Enchanted, he orders her to kill Char. Ella then has Slannen chain her to a tree to prevent her from carrying out the command. She also has him mobilize the magical creatures of the kingdom to defend the castle from Edgar but, because of Edgar's orders, is unable to tell him why she's asking him to do seemingly random things. Now, it's been made clear throughout Ella Enchanted that it's possible for one command to be canceled out by another. It seems pretty unlikely that, during this whole puzzling exchange, Slannen wouldn't say something like, "Just tell me what's going on!" which would allow Ella to divulge the truth.

There doesn't seem to be anything preventing Ella from simply asking Slannen to tell her to give him more details, either. Even something as simple as saying, "Slannen, tell me to stay by this tree all night," would have negated Edgar's previous command and would have made it unnecessary to have the elf chain her to the tree.

Why didn't Char just let Ella explain her curse in Ella Enchanted?

After Char's incredibly rushed proposal in Ella Enchanted (seriously, Char, you barely know each other!), Ella manages to break the spell that compels her to obey. Unfortunately, Char's evil uncle arrests her for attempting to kill Char, even though it was painfully obvious that she wanted to do anything but. Between Ella dropping the dagger with which she was supposed to kill Char and her complete emotional breakdown, you would think that Char would at least ask his intended bride for an explanation. Instead, he lets his uncle's guards haul her off to the dungeon with the full knowledge that his uncle probably plans to have her executed. So much for true love. 

Is closure not a thing that princes need? Most people would want to know why the person they thought they were going to spend the rest of their life with had tried to kill them. It's also pretty alarming that someone can be thrown into a dungeon without any sort of trial in this country.

How does Char not realize his uncle is evil in Ella Enchanted?

Char has to be one of the most naive fairytale princes out there. Not only does he have no idea how his kingdom is being run, but he also seems to have zero inkling that his uncle is evil. Edgar is so obviously the bad guy in Ella Enchanted, and you don't have to be an adult to notice it. The guy has an evil laugh, walks around in a pompous manner, and even has a pet snake who does his bidding. The Harry Potter series probably doesn't exist in the realm of Ella Enchanted (although the band Queen apparently does, so who knows?), but Edgar sounds an awful lot like Lord Voldemort.

How has the kingdom not revolted by now? Surely the ogres and elves and giants are tired of being oppressed by Edgar's harsh laws. And how is the prince so oblivious to his uncle's less-than-noble intentions? Is Char suffering from Stockholm syndrome? That seems like the best explanation for the fact that he hasn't somehow pieced together that his uncle is one seriously shady character.

Why don't the coronation guests in Ella Enchanted run away when fighting breaks out?

Towards the end of Ella Enchanted, Char is about to be crowned king. He finally learns that his uncle is evil, but he doesn't figure it out on his own. Instead, it's Ella who shows him. After escaping from the dungeon with the help of Slannen and other magical creatures, she comes to the rescue and tells Char of his uncle's plot to kill him. Before she can do that, though, she and Char have to fight off the guards who are sent to recapture her. To his credit, now that Char sees Ella again, he's finally willing to let her talk and fends off the guards.

A few people who are there for Char's coronation join in the battle, like Mandy and her boyfriend-turned-book (who is now a man again), Benny. But most of the guests scream and watch the melee in horror. Why didn't they join in the fight or, more sensibly, run for their lives? Don't the background characters of Ella Enchanted have any sense of self-preservation?