I doubt that this film was intended to be anything more than family fun and, given that I'm neither a seasoned critic nor knowledgeable enthusiast, I'm not going to attempt to suggest whether it's "good". But I like watching it because it reminds me of things I believe about love. Leaving aside the questionable morality of giving a person away as a birthday gift (which I confess I was completely blind to until my friend Anna pointed it out a couple of years ago), I actually think this fantasy depiction of a relationship is far closer to my reality than the average 'real-life' based romantic comedy.
Without going into too much detail, the hunt for power, eternal youth and beauty is a big part of the plot and, if you feel like being profound about it, the film definitely contains a parody of society's preoccupations with those things. Against the backdrop of all that superficiality is the unfolding story of a love that is lighthearted and characterised by banter, but at the same time is felt so deeply and given so completely that it literally makes the female lead radiant, empowers the male lead to live forever, and enables them together to defeat danger and darkness. Pretty powerful stuff!
And love is like that. In my life, it's love that inspires me to move past insecurity, to be brilliant, to stop being afraid. It's incredibly precious when that love is concentrated in one particularly empowering relationship - when sexual attraction is only one part of the magnetism holding two people together, and the real reason for being together is the almost unbelievable fact that it would be impossible to be the best version of yourselves apart. That's romance with a captial 'R'. But I'm convinced that empowering love is out there for us all to encounter, in all sorts of forms: faith, family, friendship. Granted, life is a little more complicated than 122 minutes in a fairy-tale universe, but I watch this film and find myself feeling like my ability to be loving is some sort of cosmic superpower that I should use and not squander.
A film that achieves that can't be all bad...