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Just from the title alone, you can tell that this is another Disney Channel-esque film debuting on Disney+. Sadly, I have to review it, so let’s hurry up and get it over with. Here’s my review of Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.
And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!
The film’s premise is told to us via a narrator.
The film takes place in the kingdom of Illyria. Samantha, played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, is the second-born daughter of the late monarch. Her father and uncle died in a plane crash resulting in the monarchial responsibilities falling upon her mother, Catherine, played by Élodie Yung. However, her elder sister, Eleanor, played by Ashley Liao, is soon to turn eighteen and will take over from her mother as the rightful queen of the kingdom.
Samantha isn’t a fan of monarchy as a form of government and openly opposes her own family’s monarchy.
Meanwhile, we see what seems to be a high-security prison of sorts.
Two of the prison workers deliver a meal to one of the inmates. However the inmate uses a pin concealed in an apple sent in by someone from the outside to escape.
Reverting our attention back to Samantha, she was arrested after being caught at an underground concert and as punishment, her mother sentenced her to summer school. She’s bummed about it, of course, as are most of the other students she meets there.
Soon enough, Professor James Morrow, played by Skylar Astin, arrives and informs the class that this school isn’t as it seems. This isn’t a summer school, rather it’s the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.
Apparently, the second-born in all royal families possesses a unique ability or superpower. And all the students who have been called here today are the second-born in their royal families. What’s more shocking than that for Samantha is that her mother is the head of this society as she is the second-born in her royal family as well!
Basically Samantha and the others have been called here to train with Professor James to find their particular superpowers and utilize them to protect them kingdoms. Samantha has overstimulated senses. Social media-obsessed Roxanna, played by Olivia Deeble, can turn invisible. Popular Tuma, played by Niles Fitch, has the power of persuasion. Socially awkward Matteo, played by Faly Rakotohavana, can control bugs. And cheery January, played by Isabella Blake-Thomas, can temporarily take other’s powers.
Professor James does his best to train the kids, utilizing whatever he needs, be it television screens, a swimming pool, or a treadmill.
As they spend more time together, the group becomes close friends. Samantha bonds especially well with January and together, they even break into her castle at night. Having this new best friend though causes issues with Samantha’s original non-royal best friend, Mike, played by Noah Lomax.
When Samantha and January return to the society later that night, the inmate from the beginning of the film attacks them. He seems to have telekinesis powers as well as seems to know Samantha. Professor James, January, and the others help fight him off and an ambulance takes him away.
Samantha is confused about all this and seeks an explanation from her mother. Queen Catherine explains that the inmate is Samantha’s uncle Edmond, played by Greg Bryk. He didn’t die in the plane crash alongside her father. Rather he was a former member of the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals before going evil and betraying the society. He was then imprisoned by Queen Catherine before escaping at the beginning of the film.
Soon, Eleanor’s coronation day arrives. We then realize that January isn’t what she seems. She was actually the person who helped Edmond escape from his prison cell. And she feigned friendship with Samantha to get access to security codes for her castle. She is sick of her elder brother ruling her kingdom and hired Edmond to bump him off so that she could take over as Queen. Right now though, she and Edmond are getting ready to use a device that will kill anyone at the coronation who is of royal blood.
Samantha and the others soon discover what’s happened and try to stop January and Edmond. They use their powers to stop Edmond and trap him in a device. January escapes though, but at least the coronation continues as normal and Eleanor becomes Queen. She announces to Samantha that the first thing she’ll do as Queen is to establish a parliament.
The film ends with January taunting Samantha and the others to find and stop her while Samantha and the others get ready to do just that.
And that was Secret Society of Second-Born Royals! The story is interesting enough, but it can’t help possessing that Disney Channel generic-ness that we’re so used to. And that’s the main problem with the film. I really enjoyed the acting by Isabella Blake-Thomas and some of the other kids were good too. But Peyton Elizabeth Lee and most of the adults didn’t really do anything for me. The special effects range from satisfiable to not that great and the “plot twist” is something I guessed pretty early on in the film.
In the end, this film was better than I expected, but that’s not saying much. If you want to watch a Disney film with superheroes, you’re best to stick with Sky High.
So, my final score for this film is 19/35 = 54.29% (F) !
The next review will be posted on November 3, 2020.