Disenchanted (2022)

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Disney’s Enchanted proved to be a major hit with audiences and Disney fans alike! It managed to both pay homage to and make lighthearted fun of the fairy tale genre and Disney itself, whilst not being disrespectful or dismissive either. As you can imagine, a sequel was announced for a while, finally being released to Disney+ in 2022. Is Disenchanted as good as Enchanted? Read on to find out!

And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film begins with an animated Pip (the chipmunk from the first film), voiced by Griffin Newman, reading the story of Enchanted to his kids as a bedtime story. He then tells them that there’s more to the story and begins to narrate to them the events of the current film, Disenchanted.

Ten years have passed and Giselle and Robert, played again by Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, respectively, are still happily married. They decide to move out of New York City into the suburbs to a town called Monroeville.

I feel this is just Once Upon a Time‘s Storybrooke!

Here they hope to have a better life to raise their baby, Sofia, as well as Robert’s daughter, Morgan, who’s now a teenager and played by Gabriella Baldacchino. As you can guess, Morgan isn’t happy with the move and Giselle is hoping that she and Morgan can reconnect and share the closeness they used to have before Morgan became a teenager.

However things don’t go very well from the start with Morgan’s room accidentally catching on fire burning most of her clothes as well as Giselle selling cupcakes at Morgan’s high school encouraging the students to befriend Morgan because she’s new there and has no friends yet. Giselle is quickly stopped from doing so by the town council head (and namesake of the town), Malvina Monroe, played by Maya Rudolph.

“M&M’s, you say? That gives me an idea!”

Things reach the limit when Morgan takes the subway to NYC by herself one day without informing her parents and tells Giselle that she’s just her stepmom and not her real mom. Seeking a solution, Giselle decides to use a magical wishing wand that was given to them as a housewarming gift by the King and Queen of her kingdom of Andalasia, Edward and Nancy, played again by James Marsden and Idina Menzel, respectively. King Edward also gave Robert a sword which he decides to take on the train with him during his work commutes.

If he was brown, bringing a sword onto a train would end very differently for him, just saying!

Anyway, Giselle wishes for a fairy tale life and the next morning, her wish seems to come true. Morgan is happy, singing, and loves her dearly! Robert, the townspeople, and even her household appliances are all happy and singing as well! Everyone’s wearing beautiful fairy tale clothes and dancing in the streets! Everything seems to be perfect!

Well, we soon realize this is not the case. Monroeville is now the kingdom of Monrolasia, ruled by Malvina who is now the Queen. And every time Giselle hears the town bell ring, her demeanor changes. She becomes less sweet and more snarky, shows more disdain towards Morgan, and even challenges Malvina for the throne! She realizes what’s happening: since she wanted a fairy tale life, she gets everything that comes with it including her becoming an evil stepmother!

She tries to unwish the wish using the magic instructions scroll, voiced by Alan Tudyk, that came with the wishing wand, however Queen Malvina by now has sent her minions, Rosaleen and Ruby, played by Yvette Nicole Brown and Jayma Mays, respectively, to steal it. Unable to find any replacement magic that can help, Giselle sends Morgan to Andalasia to seek out the help of King Edward and Queen Nancy in breaking the spell before things go too far!

Something every animation studio said after 2010!

In Andalasia, Morgan (now animated) discovers that all the magic in Andalasia is being pulled into the real world due to Giselle’s wish threatening Andalasia’s existence. Queen Nancy suggests to Morgan that she show Giselle her “memory tree” she made when she was a little girl because memories are magic and maybe that will help break the spell. Morgan returns to the real world and confronts Giselle who rips up the memory tree, but that releases magic bringing Giselle back to normal.

Something every animation studio said after 2010 when their movie bombed at the box office!

Giselle, having retrieved the wishing wand from Queen Malvina, gives it to Morgan to use to break the spell. Originally the rules were that only a true daughter of Andalasia could use the wand, but it appears that Morgan is indeed a true daughter of Andalasia because…jus sanguinis, I guess. Morgan makes her wish to break the spell.

Although I feel the way she worded this would revert back to when her biological mom was still alive…pre-Enchanted!

The wish works and everything reverts back to normal. Only Giselle and Morgan remember what happened; everyone else perceived everything as a dream. And everyone lives happily ever after!

And that was Disenchanted! Honestly, it’s very……okay, at best. The biggest problem is that the plot is so weak and the scope so narrow that a lot of the film seems like fluff! Notice that I barely mentioned Robert throughout the film. This is mainly because the script didn’t know what to do with him, so they give him a mini side quest of wanting to be a heroic knight figure that doesn’t have anything to do with the overall plot! Maybe the filmmakers were trying to make a statement about how in men-centered films, the women tend to do nothing or are given some random thing to do just so people don’t complain. So in this women-centered film, the men are treated the same way. I dunno, it comes across as patronizing to me instead of teaching a lesson or bringing light to an issue. I’d rather they have written Robert (and the other men) out of the film totally!

This film is a musical like the first with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz returning as the songwriters. However most of the songs are pretty forgettable including the “We have Idina Menzel and didn’t give her a song to sing in the first film, so let’s give her one in this move” song! The only song I can say was legitimately good and memorable was the villainous Badder song!

The best acting was that of Amy Adams; seeing her seamlessly go back and forth from being a heroine to a villain is brilliant to witness! The other actors were merely okay at best. This film simply lacked passion and drive. Overall, Disenchanted was disenchanting!

So, my final score for this film is 18/35 = 51.43% (F) !

The next review will be posted on February 24, 2023.

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