Disenchanted Fails to Recapture the Original’s Magic

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer

Plot: Fifteen years after her happily ever after, Giselle questions her happiness, inadvertently turning the lives of those in the real world and Andalasia upside down in the process

Review: There’s something to be said about the unexpected sequel. Lately it seems like Hollywood has been digging through their back catalogue for anything that can be considered remotely nostalgic to revisit with the hope that fans of the first film will still be interested in revisiting characters and stories that they once enjoyed.

Welcome to the desert of the real

Most recently there was Hocus Pocus 2, before that was Mad Max: Fury Road and more recently Coming 2 America, all examples of sequels that came out thirty years after their predecessors. And, of course, there’s the upcoming Avatar: Way of the Water (15 years after the original) coming to your neighbourhood theatres soon. Depending on where you land, these long-delayed sequels are either a waste of time or surprising stellar follow-ups to movies that you love. And the latest to join this list is Disney’s Disenchanted, which for this viewer is less Top Gun: Maverick and more Tron: Legacy.

Picking up ten years after Enchanted, Giselle (Amy Adams), Robert (Patrick Dempsey), Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) and the newest member of their family baby Sofia have decided to move to a town called Monroeville with Giselle hoping to find them a more “fairy-tale” life like the one she had back in Andalasia. A visit from their old friends King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) brings some of that magic in the form of a wand gifted to baby Sofia that can grant wishes. But when Giselle wishes for Monroeville to be more like her fairy tale home world, she learns in predictable Disney fashion that one should always be careful what one wishes for as things go awry and the family has to contend with a real-life evil queen in the form of Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph).

YASSSSSSS Queen!

I quite enjoyed the first movie Enchanted which took the old tropes of classic Disney animated movies and spun them in ways that were fresh and fun to watch. But what brought me back wasn’t the first movie so much but more my undying fangirl love for one Ms. Maya Rudolph (more on that later). The main story itself, while not as interesting as the first, was still engaging enough to follow, with Giselle still struggling to find her happily ever after in the real world and Morgan, now a teenager, lashing out at the change moving brings to her life and her place in her family where her stepmother has a new baby. It’s the kind of tale a lot of real world families deal with, and the underlying moral is one that’s emotional and, for the most part, well executed.

Being a Disney movie and one that pulls from the old animated tales at that, there are a lot of musical numbers here, at least one every ten minutes (or at least that’s how it felt to me). I’m not the biggest fan of musicals and it takes a certain level of sincerity to pull them off without coming across as cringe-worthy, which, sorry to say, most of these felt a bit too polished and lacked that special something that makes Disney musical numbers so memorable. That said there were two I quite enjoyed, the first being “Baddest of them All” which worked like a duel/duet between Giselle and Malvina, and the second and the best of the bunch was “Love Power” performed and sung by the unconquerable Idina Menzel. Love Power was that one song and the one moment that TRULY shined in the entire film. It hit all those high emotional notes with perfection and brought back the whimsy the first film had. It’s just a shame the rest of the movie couldn’t hold on to that tone.

Take it down there, prince boy. Photo by Jonathan Hession. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While all the actors are fine in their parts, none of them feel like they were completely invested in their characters or maybe it was just the way the whole affair felt like I was watching set pieces on a Hollywood sound stage instead of the real world. Adams gives it her all, but Giselle is written in a way that feels like she hasn’t changed at all in ten years. Madsen is always good for a laugh as King Edward and his antics did manage to bring a smile to my face. But poor Patrick Dempsey is relegated to a side plot involving a sword and his journey to find adventure in his life, while Maya Rudolph’s immense comedic talent is completely ignored and, in its place, we get the kind of role any other actor could’ve played without anyone noticing.

I know it sounds like I hated this movie but Disenchanted isn’t a terrible movie and there are moments like Menzel’s performance and Giselle’s heartfelt scene in the final act with her daughter Morgan that hits all the right notes (literally). The set pieces are beautiful to look at, as well as the costumes but as a whole Disenchanted lacks the magic that made Enchanted so memorable and as long awaited sequels go, this one fails to outshine its predecessor.

Score: 6 out of 10

Have you checked out Disenchanted? What did you think of it? And you can check out more Disneyfied content below:

DISNEY’S ‘HOCUS POCUS 2’ DOUBLE CAST REVIEWS
DISNEY’S ‘GODMOTHERED’ IS ELF MEETS ENCHANTED
DISNEY’S SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND-BORN ROYALS IS CHEESY, FAMILY FUN

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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