"Disenchanted" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
It has been fifteen years since Kevin Lima's magical film, "Enchanted", was released, which charmed audiences all over the world and made viewers both young and old believe in magic in the real world. Since then, "Enchanted" is probably one of the most famous Disney live-action films, and is definitely one of the best in the past twenty years. So, when "Disenchanted" was announced, it's obvious fans were ecstatic to finally see Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) return to the screen in their famous roles, continuing on the magical story they set up in the first movie. However, as to be expected with sequels, this movie is not only bad, but in a way, ruins the magic they worked so hard to set up in the first movie.
The film opens up with a recap of the first movie, which shows how Giselle and Robert fell in love and started a family, while Prince Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel) returned to the fairy tale world of Andalasia to live out their happily ever after. However, after the birth of their baby and living life in the real world, Giselle realizes this may not actually be her happily ever after, prompting her and Robert to uproot their lives, as well as their now teenage daughter, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino, even though the original actress who plays Morgan makes a cameo appearance), and move to a new community, called Monroeville, which is inspired by the fairy tale world Giselle came from.
This premise alone is everything wrong that Disney could have done with the sequel. The first movie ended with the knowledge that Robert and Giselle were happy and so in love, which is the only Happily Ever After anyone could ever need. The movie didn't even have the purpose to garner a sequel, but since they decided to go through with a second movie, why did they choose to focus on this premise? It takes away all the magic and hard work that Lima put into the first film, ruining the chances for our characters to have that happily ever after.
However, by the time they move there, Morgan is adamant that she wants to go back to New York, rebelling abasing her family and even going so far to call Giselle her "step mother". Because of this, Giselle uses a magic wand, gifted by Edward and Nancy, to make a wish that will turn the new community into a version of Andalasia. However, by doing this and getting her wish, Giselle realizes that she is turning into the Evil Stepmother, planning every which way to sabotage Morgan's chances at happiness.
At the same time, there is another evil presence in the town: Malvina Monroe, whose husband runs the town. She serves as a sort of snobby PTA mom, who is followed by her cronies, Ruby (Jayma Mays) and Rosaleen (Yvette Nicole Brown). After the spell is cast, the mean women in town turn into evil witches, who are hellbent on destroying Giselle and her family. This pits the two evil witches together in an all-out brawl in the town.
If there is one thing I could use to describe the entirety of this film, it would be "TV movie". This whole movie feels like it was made for television, and I would even go as far as to say some Disney Channel movies, like "High School Musical", has a better plot and design than this movie did. It baffles me on how this franchise went from a fantastic and magical Hollywood picture to a poorly designed, written, and acted piece of trash that goes straight to streaming on Disney+.
Unlike the first movie, none of the characters in this film are particularly likable, nor are they fun to watch. In my opinion, they completely ruined the character of Giselle, and I don't think there is any redeeming her or Morgan at the end of this movie. At the same time, they waste all the potential from Marsden, Menzel, and Dempsey, who are barely even in the movie at all. And when they are present on the screen, they are doing idiotic things, such as failing at attempting to slay a dragon we don't even see. This movie starts to feel like a spoof of itself, and not in a good way at all.
There are a couple of good things in this movie that are enjoyable, such as Rudolph's performance. She is great at playing these evil characters who are simply wicked for the sake of being wicked, and this movie is no different. Yet, the story holds her back from her true potential, and doesn't let go of the reigns for her to have her fun. If they had made her into a villain like Susan Sarandon's Narcissa in the first one, she could have easily been one amazing villain.
The songs aren't memorable, the plot is poorly designed, and the movie, as a whole, is just not fun to watch. Time seemed to go by so slowly as this film progressed, and I found myself wondering why we were only twenty minutes into this mess when it felt like hours. The fact they put our characters in a new climate, and not in the craziness of New York, was also a huge disappointment as they had no clue how to set up this new town and environment our characters are in.
I'm not sure what Disney was trying to go for here, but whatever it was, they failed on nearly every level, and this movie shouldn't have even been made honestly. If I was the Disney executives and the filmmakers working on this project, I would be absolutely embarrassed to put this film out, and I would honestly just resign from my position.