Disenchanted – Film Review

Enchanted was a delightful, charming film in Disney’s live-action library, poking fun at all the tropes that the brand has cemented in its familiarity, while also having the magic of a Disney film. Its sequel, Disenchanted, may not have much of the cleverness of its predecessor, but it definitely injects more of whatever Disney magic is left, with more musical numbers and fairy-tale pizzazz that kids and fans of the original will definitely enjoy. Yet if there is anything that Enchanted taught me, it’s that less is more. As with most sequels of today, Disenchanted‘s sole reason of existence is because of how many people love the original. It doesn’t particularly rely on nostalgia or fan-service, and has potential for a continuation. In fact, Disenchanted has a bit of delight going for it, but I cannot help reminiscing how truly special Enchanted was.

Disenchanted sees the return of Amy Adams as Giselle, as she has adjusted to her life in New York, being married to Patrick Dempsey’s Robert Philip, and raising their daughter, Morgan (now a teenager, played by Gabriella Baldacchino), along with a new baby girl. Yet happily ever after does not seem all that is cracked up to be for this princess of Andalasia, as Giselle is struggling with being a mother and wife. Wanting a new experience, Giselle and her family move to the city of Monroeville, where they end up in a fixer-upper. Along with the new house and not being able to connect with Morgan, Giselle makes a musically-inclined wish for a fairy-tale life, with the help of a wand bestowed to her family from King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) of Andalasia. The next day becomes just that; everything is colorful, people are singing, with everything made to be of old. Yet what Giselle is unaware of is that her new attitude is that of a wicked stepmother that shows up as her evil side. On the other hand, Monroeville (or Monrolasia) has an evil queen (Maya Rudolph) who eventually becomes Giselle’s adversary.

While the town of Monrolasia is rife with fun, and Disney references galore, Adams is brilliant in her return as Giselle, balancing the peppy Disney princess persona, along with the wicked stepmother side. The rest of the cast, besides Baldacchino and Rudolph, are barely given anything to do throughout its two-hour runtime, mainly serving as fairy-tale parodies. Dempsey is reduced to being a bumbling prince who seeks to slay dragons, bringing to mind Edward from Enchanted, while Marsden doesn’t really do much than to give advice, while the only thing Menzel was given was the chance to finally burst out into song as a way to express her pipes. Though not as memorably cunning as Susan Sarandon’s Queen Narissa, Rudolph’s Malvina does have her moments, including a villainous duet with Adams as the only memorable song.

Disenchanted is serviceable enough to work as a Disney sequel, and while I do see many people enjoying it for being a continuation of Enchanted, especially with the presence of Adams and the original cast. The display does not come as close as to what came before it.

GRADE: B-

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