REVIEW: ‘Disenchanted’ Lacks The Magic Of Its Predecessor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Disenchanted - But Why Tho

Disenchanted is a Disney+ Original Film directed by Adam Shankman. After the events of Enchanted, Giselle (Amy Adams) and her husband Robert (Patrick Dempsey) decide to move out of New York City and into a small town called Monroeville. While Giselle feels that the move is just what her family needs, she has to deal with her rebellious teenage stepdaughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) and the imperious Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph).

King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel), who visit from Giselle’s home of Andalasia, give Giselle & Robert a wishing wand as a gift to celebrate their baby daughter Sophia’s birthday. Giselle, desperate to fix her life, uses the wand to make life more like a fairy tale. This ends up transforming Monroeville into…well, something out of a Disney film, with talking animals and people randomly bursting into song. But it also has the unintended side effect of turning Giselle into an evil stepmother, and she races to undo the spell before it’s too late. However, she has opposition in the form of Malvina, who is now the queen of Monroeville and is willing to do anything to keep her power.

When Enchanted debuted, I was surprised by how fresh it felt. Not only did it have a great story hook in “fairy tale princess lands in New York”, but it was able to poke fun at many of the conventions within fairy tales themselves. With Disenchanted, it feels as though there are two films at war with each other. The idea of Giselle inadvertently becoming an evil stepmother could have carried an entire film, but it has to share space with the plot about Monroeville transforming. As a result, the comedic parts of the premise don’t land with the same precision as their predecessor. And the nods to other Disney films feel less clever and more like subliminal advertising to try and get viewers to check out the rest of the Disney+ catalog. It’s hard to get invested in a film that apes Cinderella when the same streaming service put out a much better effort earlier this year.

This goes doubly for the performances. While Adams rises to the challenge of playing Giselle as having more of an edge in her wicked stepmother form, the rest of the cast is hit and miss. Dempsey doesn’t have much to do, which is frustrating because his chemistry with Adams was a large part of what makes Enchanted work. Also woefully sidelined is Marsden, whose himbo energy was a breath of fresh air, along with Yvette Nicole Brown & Jayma Mays as Malvina’s flunkies. As for Malvina, try as she might, Rudolph can’t give her the menace of a Maleficent or a Jafar.

Even the songs feel off-key in more ways than one. Both Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz return to craft a new batch of songs for Disenchanted, but they lack the comedic punch of the original. The sole exception is “Love Power”, which just happens to be sung by Menzel of all people. Not only is it a solid song, but it also lets Menzel show off her vocal talents. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being a sleeper hit like her other power ballad “Let It Go.”

Honestly, the best part of the film is the return of Pip the Chipmunk, who is voiced by Griffin Newman this time around. Not only does Newman perfectly capture Jeff Bennett’s Brooklyn accent, but he has some of the funniest lines in the film. The funniest has to go to the moment when Pip and Giselle see Malvina in her queen getup; Pip correctly predicts that she’ll be a problem. Disenchanted also features the return of the gorgeous 2D animated sequences from Enchanted, which made me wish that the entire film could have been done in that style.

Disenchanted can’t quite capture the magic of its predecessor, as clashing ideas sap the power of what could have been a great sequel. Plenty of classic films have received some stellar sequels this year, and it pains me to say that Disenchanted isn’t one of them. Fans would be better off sticking with Enchanted or seeking out other alternative fairy tale fare.

Disenchanted is now available to stream on Disney+.


Disenchanted
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Disenchanted can’t quite capture the magic of its predecessor, as clashing ideas sap the power of what could have been a great sequel. Plenty of classic films have received some stellar sequels this year, and it pains me to say that Disenchanted isn’t one of them. Fans would be better off sticking with Enchantedor seeking out other alternative fairy tale fare.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
%d bloggers like this: