Monday, June 26, 2023

Ella Enchanted by Robert Tonner

Deciding what I want to review each week is always an interesting process.  My decision is often based on a loosely-structured master plan that involves balancing newer releases, awesome suggestions from all of you, and an ongoing desire to document a wide range of dolls on this site.  But I occasionally allow myself to be guided by a whim.  This past week, it's been windy and rainy outside, and my husband was far away on business travel.  That's the recipe for me to feel nostalgic and emotional.  In that kind of mood, I get hung-up on a lot of things from my past, including Robert Tonner dolls--the first fashion dolls I ever collected as an adult.  And in moods like this, I also tend to crave the emotional release of cheesy romantic movies.  I mean, isn't that why those movies are made?

Anyway, I love Robert Tonner's work mostly because of his interpretations of my favorite princess, Cinderella.  Tonner's 16-inch fashion doll Cinderellas are among my favorite dolls of all time, and are what I think about when I imagine the Cinderella character.  The doll in today's review is not a typical Tonner Cinderella, but she's based on a Cinderella-like character from...wait for it...a cheesy romantic comedy called Ella Enchanted.  Sounds pretty perfect for my mood, right?

I've had this doll in my collection for a while, always assuming I would share her with you some day.  But for one reason or another she's never pushed her way to the front of the queue.  I suspect now you understand why this week, for a bunch of reasons, she was the perfect doll for me to spend some time with...and do some movie "research" on.  I hope she's just what some of you need, too:

Ella Enchanted by Robert Tonner, 2004.
I'm not sure what the original retail price of this doll was back in 2004, but I'd guess around $30.  She's fairly rare these days on the secondary market, and usually sells for between $60 and $150.  I bought mine several years ago and paid $140 for the doll and three extra outfit packs, which I'll also include in this review.

Robert Tonner's collectible 16-inch fashion dolls typically come in all-cardboard boxes with white shippers, but Ella is packaged more like a play doll, in a plastic box with a cardboard backdrop:

The box has a small cardboard cutout at the front, with the Ella Enchanted title and a photograph of Anne Hathaway:

I tend to get Ella Enchanted confused with The Princess Diaries in my head, especially when I haven't seen either movie in a long time.  Both are princess-themed romantic comedies that star Anne Hathaway.  I believe The Princess Diaries was Ms. Hathaway's movie debut, and then Ella Enchanted came out a few years later--right before the Princess Diaries sequel, Royal Engagement.

I had to watch all three movies again for my research, obviously.  The Princess Diaries and its sequel are arguably better films (with Julie Andrews, no less), but I enjoyed Ella Enchanted a lot, too.  It's very silly.

The Ella doll comes with a few accessories, most of which had come loose from the backdrop over the years.  The most tantalizing accessory was this box-like object, which was facing away from me and hard to see:

I think it's meant to be a book.
It's like having a surprise accessory, I suppose!

The back of the box has a lot of text, but it's hard to read behind the glare from the plastic covering:

I decided to remove the cardboard backdrop from the plastic so that we could get a better look at what's written on the back.

The backdrop was hard to extract.  I had to snip little pieces of tape running all of the way around the plastic edges, and only then could I separate the cardboard.  A few of Ella's accessories fell out at this point, but I'll keep that book-like thing secret for another minute or two:

Let's read what it says on the back of the box:

The text includes a synopsis of the movie, and then an explanation about how the doll is based on the film character and sculpted by Robert Tonner:

It also advertises Ella as being 14 inches tall, but she's only 13.5 inches tall.  Small point, but still.

Underneath the text, there are photographs of all the available Ella Enchanted products.  This includes three fashion packs, the doll in this review, and a Happy Ending doll wearing a wedding gown:

Ella was secured to the backdrop with zero plastic ties (yay!) but with a bunch of small stitches, some of which were hard to find:

She also had a plastic string around her neck and a sturdy wire wrapped around her legs:

Here's everything that was in the box:

The three accessories are the mystery book/box, a gungy plastic comb, and an imitation leather pouch:

I don't remember a pouch like this from the movie:

I do remember Ella having a nice, big purse at one point, but not a pouch.

In any case, it looked like the pouch might open, but it was stitched closed with brown thread:

I snipped the thread and opened it anyway...and found only a ball of stuffing inside:

Nothin' but stuffin'
I'm not sure why I open things like this.  I mean, what did I expect to find inside?  A pony?  It was obviously going to be stuffing, but I had to see it with my own eyes.

It was easy to close the pouch back up and re-tie it.  No thread necessary:

Good as new.
Okay!  Now let's get back to the mystery accessory.   For those who haven't see the movie, one of Ella's adventure companions is a man named Benny who's trapped inside a book because of a fairy's spell gone wrong.

Here's a screenshot of Benny the book:

With that in mind, here's the last accessory: 

And on the other side is...

A hologram of Matt O'Neill!  That cracks me up.  For those unfamiliar with the Tonner Doll world, Matt O'Neill is Tonner's leading male doll.  He's the boyfriend of Tyler Wentworth, who is the primary character in the fashion doll lineup.  So, he's basically the Tonner equivalent of Ken.

It's my autobiography!
Matt doesn't really capture the Benny character from the movie, but I can totally see why Tonner went that route, and I'm glad he did because it got a chuckle out of me.

I was hoping there'd be something inside of this book, but it was empty:

You've lived a hollow life, Matt.
It's a nice little box for storing small items, though.

As entertaining as the accessories were, I was eager to get a closer look at Ella herself.   The first thing I noticed is that she doesn't look anything like Anne Hathaway.  Not even a little bit.  Most shockingly, she has bright blue eyes, not Ms. Hathaway's lovely deep brown eyes: 

However, she comes wearing an excellent reproduction of the outfit that is worn throughout most of the movie:

Here are two screenshots of the movie costume:

I think Tonner captured the look of this outfit really well, and I love that the crushed velvet cape was included, too.

The cape is definitely the highlight of the outfit.  It's full and long and very dramatic:

If a little wrinkled.
It even has a working hood that can pull up over Ella's head.  In fact, it pulls all of the way over half of her face, too!

When it's positioned correctly, the hood looks great:

The cape ties in the front with a blue ribbon drawstring, and is easy to untie:

The cape is unlined, which is unfortunate, but the construction is good and there's a ton of fabric!

No skimping on this cape.
Underneath the cape, Ella is wearing a white blouse and a blue skirt.  She also has a necklace, a belt, and boots:

The skirt was horribly wrinkled from being tucked in the box for almost 20 years!

The necklace is a plastic cameo pendant on a plastic string:

For some of the movie, Ella is wearing a silver necklace that was a deathbed gift from her beloved mother:

This necklace is silver and heart-shaped, with a blue stone in the center:

The necklace symbolizes an important plot point, because it's stolen by one of the evil stepsisters in the beginning of the movie, and when Ella reclaims it at the end, it's a moment of triumph and independence.

The doll's necklace has nothing in common with the movie necklace; it's triangular, with a gold background and white accent:

The pendant is very pretty, but the plastic chain doesn't look great. 

At first I assumed that the necklace couldn't be easily removed, since there's no clasp in the back--just a knot:

My assumption was wrong, but I'll get back to that in a little bit.

Ella's hair came mostly loose and messy around her shoulders, but the hair around her face was pulled back into a rubber band:

...or what used to be a rubber band:

I picked out the bits of old rubber band and brushed Ella's hair:

The hair does not feel great, and it's hard to make it look good.  It's dry and scraggly--especially at the ends, and tends to poof out:

The texture is not at all silky, either, so the hair fibers don't flow or hang very well.

There's a small rooted part along the top midline of the head, and then the rooting in the back is more sparse:

I tied Ella's hair back into a ponytail so that we could take a look at her face:

I think her face is beautiful.  It's clearly recognizable as a Tonner face, with mostly realistic proportions and crisply-painted features.  I think she has the same sweetly romantic look as the 16-inch Cinderella dolls.

You've seen the Tonner Cinderella face around here a lot, but I'll show you a quick reminder:

Ella has a more youthful look, with bigger eyes and simpler features overall.  She's like a young Cinderella, I guess.

Here she is in profile:

She has pierced ears, but none of the sets or outfit packs that I own include earrings.  I believe that the Happy Ending wedding doll has earrings, though.

I put Ella directly under the lights to look at the detail in her face paint.  Her eyes are painted with each eye glancing upward and slightly outward.  This means that she has a hard time looking straight at the camera, which is frustrating:

The eyes are painted nicely, though, with bright blue irises and crisp reflective areas.  She also has painted upper and lower eyelashes with some brown shading around the entire eye:

Ella's mouth is molded with slightly parted, full lips that are painted a bright reddish-pink color:

It feels like there was zero effort spent to make this doll's face resemble Anne Hathaway--despite the obvious care taken to replicate the movie outfit.

Ella Enchanted was originally an award-winning book, and so I'm wondering if Mr. Tonner took his inspiration for the doll's facial features from the book rather than the movie?  It would have been a strange choice, given how clearly this doll's association with the movie is advertised, but who knows.  

In any case, I've ordered the book and am excited to read it, especially because I've heard that the Cinderella elements of the story are more pronounced, and Ella is a stronger character overall:

She has blue eyes in the cover art...
Despite not resembling Anne Hathaway, and despite being simpler than other Tonner dolls that I own, I love Ella's face.  I think she's totally charming.

Among his many talents, Robert Tonner is a fashion designer, and so his dolls tend to have really interesting, well-made clothing.  I was excited to see if Ella's outfit lived up to that standard: 

In order to remove her skirt, I first had to wrestle with Ella's imitation leather belt.  This has an unconventional closure in front, with a band of fabric that is threaded through slits in the belt and knotted in front like a dress tie:

I untied it the same way I would a dress tie: by sliding one end of the strip out through the top of the knot, and then through the slit in the belt:

The belt is certainly accurate to the movie, but it's lightweight and a pain to take off and put back on again.

Both the blouse and the skirt are easier to deal with.  They each have velcro closure in the back for quick removal:

The skirt is made out of a slightly stiff, shiny, periwinkle blue fabric that looks nice but wrinkles easily, as we've seen.  The construction is good, although some of the seam edges are not reinforced:

The blouse is the more impressive of the two garments: 

The top of the blouse has a peasant-style cut, with elastic at the neckline and sleeves.  There's also a gathered seam at the bust line:

The lower part of the blouse is made out of a separate panel of fabric with a slightly different texture.

The entire blouse is lined, and the construction is excellent, with neat stitching and serged seam edges:

The tag in the side seam is pretty large and distracting, but could easily be cut out:

The blouse had some yellow spots and smelled a little musty, so I hand-washed the whole outfit with OxiClean and left it to air dry.  After it was dry, I also ironed the skirt, and the wrinkles came out easily.  It's nice to know that the clothing can be refreshed like this with no damage.

The last piece of Ella's outfit, which was completely hidden by her long skirt, is a pair of blue vinyl boots: 

Don't you step on my blue vinyl boots.
These have a molded leaf and vine pattern on the front, and no painted areas.  The boots also do not have a slit in the back, but they're still quite easy to get on and off:

With chunky boots like this, I would have thought that Ella's balance would be better, but unfortunately she cannot stand on her own--not even for a second.

And without her boots, she has fashion-heeled feet, so she can't stand alone when she's barefoot, either:

Tonner's 16-inch fashion dolls would usually come with stands (except for the basic dolls, which often did not).  It's a real shame that Ella doesn't come with a stand, since she can't balance on her own and she doesn't really fit into the other stands that I have laying around.

Here she is trying out a small Kaiser stand, and showing off her transparent white underwear in the process:

Ella is 13.5 inches tall and has a plastic torso with flexible vinyl arms and rubbery legs:

She has only seven points of articulation (neck, shoulders, hips, and knees), which is less than I'd expect from a Tonner doll.

The color match between the different components of her body is fine, but not perfect:

She has a simple molded Tonner copyright mark on the small of her back:

As I was getting ready to test out Ella's articulation, I stared to get fed up with the necklace.  What a silly idea to make a necklace that can't be removed!  I tried to untie the little knot at the back, and in doing so realized that the plastic string is stretchy!  Duh.

So the necklace can be (easily) removed, after all.  Silly me.  Here's a close-up look:

The back of the pendant does not have any design:

With the necklace out of the way, it was much easier to show off Ella's articulation!

Her head has great mobility.  Not only can it spin around, but it can tip from side to side:

And also look up and down:

Her shoulders are rotating hinges, so she can lift her arms up away from her body a little bit:

And she can spin them all around:

Ella does not have any elbow articulation, but she has a detailed hand mold that includes really long, straight fingers with miniature fingernails:

She even has little creases at her finger joints!

Fly-swatter hand.
Ella has what look like ball-and-socket hip joints, so she can slide into partial side-to-side splits:

And she can do excellent front-to-back splits:

She can sit on the ground with her legs together (leaning back a little):

And she can also sit on the ground with her legs apart:

She has internal click knee joints (boo) with modest flexibility:

This is enough to allow her to sit in a chair, though:

And even sit on the ground with her legs crossed:

Overall, Ella's articulation is fine.  I wish she had more flexibility in her arms, but her head and leg joints are good.

Ella's size and scale is not like any of the other dolls that I have laying around.  

Update: I have to amend the previous statement because the doll I reviewed right after Ella, My First Barbie, is actually the same size as her, so here's that comparison:

My First Barbie (left) and Ella Enchanted (right).
For reference, she is considerably taller than a standard Barbie:

Ella Enchanted (left) and Signature Looks Barbie (right).
And she's considerably shorter than a standard Tonner fashion doll:

From left: Tonner Cinderella Rose (2007), Ella Enchanted (2004), and Tonner Cami (2009).
The 16-inch girls look like giants next to little Ella, don't they?  Also notice how many joints the larger dolls have: Cinderella has fifteen and Cami has fourteen.

I'd excuse Ella's lack of articulation by saying that she's meant to be a play doll, but Tonner's other forays into the play doll realm have involved an impressive number of joints.  Think of the City Girls or LittleMissMatched as examples.

While Ella's outfit was drying, I also took the opportunity to wash her hair.  Most of the rubber band bits came out with a brush, but there was still some stickiness on the top of her head that wasn't pleasant.  I also hoped that maybe a boil wash would soften the hair fiber a little, but it didn't make much difference.

Here's Ella with her clean outfit and washed hair:

I have to say, the hair is a real disappointment.  It's very poofy and dry, and it will not lay flat and sleek against Ella's body:

It just kind-of sticks out at strange angles:

And Anne Hathaway has incredible hair, so the contrast is a bummer.

This situation is almost enough for me to put in the time to learn how to re-root a doll's hair.  I know lots of people are doing this kind of thing with Monster High and other fashion dolls, and it would make a world of difference for Ella.  Her face is so lovely, she really needs hair that is worthy.

If I work hard at it, I can get Ella's hair to lay a little bit more naturally against her body, and it looks better like this!

I played around with Ella for a while at this point, trying to get some nice portraits of her.  I can picture her setting off on an adventure to find the fairy Lucinda, with Benny the book tucked under one arm!

Because of her limited articulation and poor balance, Ella is not capable of a huge variety of action poses, but maybe here you can picture her trying to run away from the ogres?

In the end, I had more fun playing with Ella's dramatic cape than I did trying to find new poses for her to strike.  The cape is truly glorious!

And the hood does a great job of taming that frizzy hair:

I tried to free a few strands of hair from around the edges of Ella's face, which looks okay...

But she's better off when her hair is either fully-contained within the hood, or loose down her back:

But who needs tons of joints or good hair when you have a face (and a cape) like this??

Ella is pretty great, but don't forget that I also have the three fashion packs that are advertised on the back of the box!  I want to take a few minutes to look at those, too.  

The outfits are called Peachy Princess, Lavender Lady, and Golden Gal (dolls not included):

The strange thing about these three outfits is that they have nothing to do with the movie.

Ella wears her cape outfit throughout the majority of the film, but she has some other costumes, too.  Like this skirt and blouse:

This denim dress:

A blue shirt and blouse set:

This getup, which reminds me of a smoking robe or really uncomfortable pajamas:

And of course her lovely ball gown:

My favorite.
None of the fashion packs are even remotely similar to any of those outfits.

The wedding dress is not much like the movie equivalent, either:

This design has some things in common with the movie outfit, like the sheer sleeves, but the cut of the bodice is totally different:

One interesting detail is that the wedding dress transforms into a shorter version at the very end of the movie--to prepare for a big dance number:

And I'm not positive about this, but I think from looking at photos on eBay that Tonner's version of the wedding dress also has a shorter skirt underneath:

Photo courtesy of the lovely sashableu51 on eBay.
That's a really cute nod to the movie.  Too bad Ella doesn't have enough articulation to dance properly.

So, clearly Tonner decided to go rogue with the extra outfits.  And honestly, if I were a fashion designer I'd probably have made the exact same decision.  So let's see how the outfits turned out!

The first one I opened is Golden Gal:

The packaging for the outfits is very similar to the packaging for the doll, with a cardboard backdrop enshrouded in clear plastic.

The back of the box has the same text and photographs that we saw on Ella's box:

And the box was also a pain to open, since I had to snip little pieces of tape all around three of the four sides:

The set includes a multi-piece outfit and a pair of vinyl boots:

The boots have exactly the same mold as the blue boots that we already saw, but these are yellow:

The outfit has a three-piece top that includes a sheer bodysuit, a knitted sweater vest, and a gold twist belt:

The sleeves of the bodysuit are angle-cut with serged edges:

The knitted part of the top is multicolored, with a golden yellow base and flecks of pink, blue, and green in the yarn.  It's sewn with princess seams that look really nice...if a little out of place on a knitted item.

The knitted vest closes in back with a strip of velcro:

The construction is good, with solid-looking, straight seams:

Although who knows how easily the knit edges will unravel.

The bodysuit is made out of a sheer yellow fabric, and is double-layered everywhere except for the sleeves:

The skirt in this set doesn't look much like the promotional photo.  There's no shine in the fabric, it's just a stiff, matte print sewn in four tiers:

The fabric is mostly a mix of yellows, but there are splotches of turquoise and veins of gold:

Here's Ella wearing the bodysuit and the skirt:

The velcro looks a little messy in back:

But all of that is hidden when the knitted vest is added into the mix:

I really like the colors in this outfit, especially because they're so different from Ella's signature blue:

And the mix of textures is fun, too, with the sheer mesh, the soft knit, and the stiff weave of the skirt:

The next outfit I opened is called Lavender lady:

As with the last outfit, this includes three pieces of clothing and a pair of boots: 

The boots are exactly the same mold as the other two pairs we've seen, but they're purple this time.

The clothing is more interesting:

As before, the set includes a sheer bodysuit, a bodice piece, and a separate skirt.  

The bodice is made out of fabric that resembles the skirt in the Golden Gal set.  It's a stiff, matte print with blotches of green and purple covered by vein-like golden lines.

The bodice is really well made, with a full mesh lining:

Here's Ella in the bodysuit and skirt:

And then with the bodice added in:

The purple color looks really nice on Ella, and the added gold bow accents are oversized, but pretty.

The last outfit is called Peachy Princess and looks a bit different from the other two:

This includes a three piece outfit and--you guessed it--some molded boots that look familiar:

There's a sheer bodysuit in the mix again, but the other two pieces have some new shapes.  The skirt has a narrow silhouette with two layers: a mesh peach overskirt covering a darker peach underlayer.  And the third piece, rather than being a separate bodice, is a full dress--with a large slit down the front:

 Here's Ella in the skirt and bodysuit:

And here she is in the full ensemble:

The pink dress could have left a bit more room for the underlaying skirt, but it looks fine, and the colors are complimentary to Ella's complexion:

I thought the necklace might be a nice addition to this look:

Each of the three outfits looks good on its own, and adds a lot of play value to the Ella doll.  The outfits are easy to use, too, and would be manageable for older kids.

The best thing about the outfits, though, is that because Mr. Tonner included separate (and similar) pieces in each set, there's huge capacity for mixing and matching.

For instance, here's Ella wearing the purple bodice and bodysuit with her original blue skirt:

And here, she's paired the yellow bodysuit and matching skirt with the purple bodice:

Not my favorite look.
I really like how the original white blouse looks with the lovely purple skirt:

And this even works with the cape:

I got a little crazy and even mixed the pink and the purple sets, using the purple skirt and bodysuit as a base for the pink dress:

And at the risk of a pastel overload, I even added in the cape!

Playing around with the outfit pieces was a lot of fun!  Even more so because Ella looks good in just about everything.

Bottom line?  What a fun week I ended up having!  I rarely get the chance to de-box a Tonner doll anymore, so it was a real joy to take Ella out of her packaging and play with her.  But, more than that, I also got to travel back in time and enjoy some heartwarming Cinderella-themed movies from the first part of the millennium.  Not only did those films lift my spirits, but they added another dimension of enjoyment to my experience with Ella.

But Ella isn't perfect, and I should probably take a moment to mention a few of the things about her that disappointed me.  First of all, the quality of her hair does not measure up to other elements of her design.  The fiber is coarse, frizzy, and feels dry at the ends.  I found it hard to get the hair to look neat and lay flat.  Tonner's high-end fashion dolls usually have wonderful hair, so Ella's substandard hair was a surprise.  Also, I'm bummed that Ella can't balance on her own--nor did she come with a stand.  Furthermore, her articulation is underwhelming.  Her seven joints only allow for a small range of action poses.  Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Ella in the movie is so energetic, the doll feels especially stiff and stilted in comparison.

The really fun thing about this doll is her wardrobe.  Her original outfit is attractive and well-made, with movie-accurate details and a spectacular cape.  The pieces also wash and iron well, which is a plus for anyone giving this doll to a child.  I might have designed the necklace and belt differently, since the belt is hard to use and the necklace hangs strangely.  But those are small details that don't take away from the overall appeal of the clothing.  The extra outfit packs do not align with the movie costumes, but they're colorful, well made, easy to use, and offer up a delightful range of mix-and-match possibilities.  I could have sat and tried out different combinations of bodysuits, bodices, and skirts for a long time.

The clothing is fun, but my favorite thing about Ella is her face.  I love her beautiful face.  In fact, I didn't even care too much about her lack of articulation at times because I was so hung up on getting close-up portraits of her face.  And I probably complained about her hair even more than I ordinarily would have, mostly because it feels like such an affront to her lovely face.  Sure, her eye paint makes her gaze a little wonky and she doesn't have as much detail in her features as a standard Tonner doll, but those things don't diminish her beauty in my eyes.  It's a shame that the doll's face doesn't capture Anne Hathaway's likeness or her animated portrayal of Ella.  However, if I forget what I know about the movie and look at this doll with fresh eyes, she feels like a younger version of Tonner's Cinderella to me, and that makes her a treasure.

A decade ago, there was a wonderful little girl who lived on my street and liked to come over and look at my dolls.  She especially liked my Tonner Cinderellas (smart girl!) and would gaze up at them, yearning to have one of her own.  But Tonner's larger dolls are expensive, and their intricate outfits, made with delicate fabrics, aren't always appropriate for young kids.  I cobbled together a generic Tonner doll for that little girl one year, but If I'd had Ella back in those days, she and her extra clothing packs would have made a perfect gift.  I wish I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, and surprise that girl with an Ella of her own.  But that's me getting all nostalgic again.  Time for some more cheesy romantic movies, I guess. 


  1. I'm glad you have a nice week. This is a pretty and interesting doll. Thank you!

  2. You should definitely have a go at rerooting her! It's not difficult at all - just time consuming. I find it really soothing, personally!

    1. I can see how it might be soothing! I enjoyed rooting baby Saskia's hair back in the day! I definitely might give it a try--it would make a world of difference.

  3. I hope you enjoy the Ella Enchanted book!! It was (and still is, to be honest) one of my favorite books as a child. It is *nothing* like the movie, however, for better or worse? I remember being so sad when the movie came out and was so different, but that sadness didn't last very long because I ended up enjoying the movie a lot more than I thought I would. (Cary Elwes being in it helped - I had a huge crush on him as a kid, and loved him even in his role in this movie lol) A part of me still hopes that someday they'll make a book-accurate adaptation - there's a lot of scenes I would have loved to see brought to life. (tbh, I think there's enough going on in the book that a mini-series might suit it better than a movie, but I tend to prefer slower-paced media in general)

    If you like the book version of Ella Enchanted, "The Two Princesses of Bamarre" is another book by Gail Carson Levine that has a kind of similar vibe! It's another childhood favorite of mine.

    1. The Two Princesses of Bamarre was one of my favorite books as a child. I felt the same, I think the Ella Enchanted movie is a fun adaptation and a different version of the story that stands on its own, but I would love to see a more book-inspired take someday. A mini-series would be really interesting!

    2. I literally can't be more excited to read the book at this point! It's so wonderful to hear how it's a favorite for so many. How did I ever miss it?? It's almost embarrassing! Me, a supposed Cinderella expert, lol!

      I also have a crush on Cary Elwes! If "The Princess Bride" (ultimate romantic comedy) wasn't enough to seal that deal, I'll also admit to liking him in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

      Thank you so much for "The Two Princesses of Bamarre" recommendation, too! I'll see if I can find it right now! :)

  4. I agree with the comment above; Ella Enchanted is one of my favorite books! So much so that I never had a desire to see the movie despite liking Anne Hathaway. Gail Carson Levine did a lot of other fairytale retellings, and Fairest is also set in the same universe.

    Tonner faces really are perfect for fairytale. The features look so delicate. A lot of the earlier Tyler and Kitty dolls only had five points of articulation, so I don't think he really expanded that until later. Love the Matt O'Neill reference with the picture. The magic book didn't originally have a character but I can see why they made that choice for the movie. And it's nice that the doll has fashion packs since she is such an unusual size.

    This is why I love your blog; it's fun to discover new dolls and revisit old favorites. Now I have to go set up an eBay search...

    1. Hi Rebecca! It's so great to see so much enthusiasm for the Ella Enchanted book! You make me even more excited to read it (it arrives tomorrow!). I've been having a hard time finding an engrossing, memorable book lately, but Cinderella tales literally never disappoint. They make me feel like a little kid again! ;D

      You make a great point about early Tonner articulation. It's easy to forget that Ella is *twenty* years old! And she pre-dates the highly-articulated dolls like Cami and Penelope Brewster by quite a few years. Thank you for reminding me of that. Ella was impressive for her time!

  5. Great review, but I must admit my first thought was the same as her hair, then she will be gorgeous. I also thought when you were doing the comparison with the other Tonner dolls that she would make a wonderful younger sibling for the 16" dolls, especially with her more youthful face.
    Clothes wise, I like her original costume, but wouldn't have bothered with the others, preferring to make my own without the use of Velcro.
    I hope you enjoy the book!
    Big hugs,

    1. Hi Xanadu! You're absolutely right about the velcro, and it's something I forgot to put in the review! The velcro on the bodysuits, in particular, is a huge pain. It gets caught on the mesh fabric and causes little snags! Thank you for reminding me! I should probably add that in. And I might try a re-root, but BlackKitty's comment, below, has me nervous! I really don't want to ruin her...but the hair is bad.

  6. Tonner dolls unfortunately are really hard to reroot - you have to keep the head heated the entire time. I would look into wigs if I were to keep this doll. She looks great with the cape though.

    1. Oh, bummer. That's a good warning for me because what I *really* don't need right now is a project gone bad--especially on this doll! A wig is a good idea. Or I could try a re-root and then resort to a wig if things go south?

  7. Ella Enchanted (the novel) is fantastic! I still have yet to watch the movie; I know it differs drastically from the book but to be honest I think it would be hard to translate the epic climax on screen.

    That cape is glorious; I wish more dolls came with capes (capes coming back in fashion irl would be great too!)

    1. I am SO excited to read the book! It's arriving tomorrow. :D And I totally agree that the cape is glorious! I love that it's so long that it pools on the floor. That's not a practical design for a real cape (and the movie cape is shorter) but what a wonderful bit of drama for a doll costume!

  8. (I have no idea why Blogger decided to post my last comment as anonymous...)

    1. Blogger does a lot of mysterious things...

  9. Oh I just love her clothes!!! It's a bit disappointing that the boots use the same mold, but the mold is very pretty and versatile. Do you think the doll's age and time in the box affected her hair condition at all, or was it just a lower quality fiber to begin with? It's interesting to see her lack of resemblance to the actress. Maybe there was a copyright issue with using her likeness, despite it being a movie doll? This review was such a treat to read on my work breaks today, thank you for the beautiful photos.

    1. You raise some good points! I'm pretty sure that the hair fiber is just bad. Usually a boil wash will recuperate old, musty hair...but it can't fix straight-up bad hair. I'm not completely sure, of course, but that's my hunch. I could always buy a Happy Ending doll just for another data, Emily! NO. ;D

      You also might be onto something with the copyright issue. Perhaps Miramax let Tonner replicate costume details, but Ms. Hathaway did not consent to a doll in her likeness? She certainly didn't get one!

  10. i was in the hospital emergency room for the past two days and found great comfort in rereading your posts, so i was surprised to see a new one whilst reading about the bratzillas lol

    ella is a beautiful doll and the clothes are great, but i don't think tonner would be able to get away with the major film discrepancies today seeing how easy it is to access movie stills and clips... i've never seen ella enchanted but details like the necklace and the fashion packs seem like huge misses from a movie souvenir perspective.

    1. Andrei, my goodness! I really hope you're okay!! What a scary place the ER can be. I'm glad Ella was a small comfort to you, and I hope you're on the mend. I have to say, the film discrepancies really confuse me, too. I mean, the outfit is spot-on (and Benny the book is pretty good!) but everything else is so different! It's a real head-scratcher. Hard to complain when I think she's so beautiful, though! :)

  11. Long term lurker here! Finally figured out how to properly comment and I'm glad I did it in time for this one! Ella Enchanted is an absolutely (pun intended) enchanting novel. I remember getting it when I was a little girl at one of the Scholastic Book Fairs we had and it's one of the only remaining books I have from my childhood. I re-read it every so often and probably always will. Didn't see the movie but some small parts and it never clicked with me like the book did. The book is a tad more serious and very vexing at times! The ending truly is a triumph. I hope you enjoy it!

    P.S. I've read your blog for YEAR, cover to cover so to speak. So when I got to your original ending to it, I was crushed. Randomly saw you picked it back up again when I went back to re-read a review about 8 months ago and my heart is still rejoicing.

    1. I think it's time for a re-read AND to finally watch this one. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    2. Hi Ashley! I'm so glad you found the site again and were able to comment! I'm getting SO excited about the book, based on what you and others have said, and also because I cherish any re-telling of the Cinderella tale! Another blog friend recommended a story called "Cinderella: Ninja Warrior" and I loved that, lol! Thank you for reading and for brightening my day with your comment. :)

  12. Ironically the face, is one of my least favourite, like all the elements are amazing but there is no personality to me, just a pretty picture. Like Cami is to me, is a rough girl who has been though some things and so part walls up but has a soft side and Cinderella is her older and healed and grown kind because of everything and has strength because of that. But with ella I get pretty doll

  13. This is totally off topic, but I found a 1972 Crissy doll in an antique store the other day! I'm on vacation in Ohio's Amish country :)

  14. Like someone else said, I wouldn't be surprised if the issue was using Hathaway's likeness making the cost over budget. But that face is so sweet, and very well done, I think that was for the best.

    The ability to mix and match the outfits is also really nice!

  15. Cute doll, I don't remember her (though I recall the film w/ Anne Hathaway)... I have a pretty huge collection of Tonner dolls that I inherited from a late doll collector friend. I never collected Tonner, but she did BIG TIME... in fact, I had no idea HOW big until her family gave me her dolls...10 boxes of them.

    And one of her ABSOLUTE FAVORITE treasures was the Tonner Cinderella set, and guess what? it was among the "missing". Nobody knows what happened to it! She had Cinderella, Prince Charming, Euphemia and whoever the chubby sister was, and a variety of outfits. I have most of the outfits but the dolls... disappeared into the ether. Who knows, maybe they will surface someday! (Euphemia was my very favorite of all her dolls, so of course... that's who was missing.)

    She would have LOVED Ella Enchanted, so maybe that's in there somewhere too... Tonner of course went bankrupt and that's whole 'nother subject for a LONG article... some of it had to be these failed dolls for the mass market. I just saw Little Missmatched at the Goodwill!

    (Oh and for Lauren who found 1972 Crissy... I have seen several recently, and did find at a thrift store a 1972-73 VELVET who was Crissy's little sister or cousin... I couldn't resist, she was so minty in her original outfit & shoes! $3!!!)