MOVIE REVIEW: Disenchanted
"I wished for a fairy tale life and it’s all gone terribly wrong."
This year is the 15th anniversary of Enchanted, which introduced the fairy tale princess Giselle who gets banished into the real world by the evil queen and finds new love in a lawyer named Jack while teaching him to love. And on Friday, Disney+ released Disenchanted, a sequel to the well beloved classic.
I was both excited and worried about the sequel. Excited because I loved Enchanted so much. It was such a great concept with great music. But, I was also worried because Disney+ movies have been hit or miss. But, I was also worried because Disney+ movies have been hit or miss. And that is Disenchanted – a hit and miss
The premise, which takes place ten rather than fifteen, is that Giselle (Amy Adams) has grown listless in her fairy tale life in the real world. She is still married to Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and mother to stepdaughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) and newborn daughter Sofia. She sees a sign for Monroeville which promises you a life like a fairy tale. When they arrive, Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel) arrive from Andalasia and bestow upon their goddaughter Sofia a wishing wand.
But, when Giselle finds her problems have not been solved - Jack is not liking the new commute, the new house is a mess, she is bullied by Malvina (Maya Rudolph) and Morgan is being an emo teenager who, out of a fit of anger, calls Giselle a “stepmother” - she uses the wand of wishes to turn her life back into a fairytale. But it all backfires, when she is no longer the princess, but the evil stepmother.And now it is a race against time before the transformation becomes permanent.
I really liked the idea and how they revisited this world by turning “fairytale” on its ear. I thought the movie was enjoyable to watch and I wasn't bored. Amy Adams did a fantastic job in going back and forth between being sweet and saccharine Giselle and evil Giselle. Her facial expressions were just perfect.
And I can watch Maya Rudolph be basically anything and I will love her. Of course, her performance in this movie is no exception. Gabriella Baldacchino is really an up-and-comer. She also transforms from sarcastic Morgan to Belle-like princess Morgan. She was who they should have gotten to play Belle in the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast!
And, they actually gave Idina Menzel a couple of songs to sing this time which she wasn’t given in the original - something I have vocally lamented for fifteen years!
But, that brings me to the things that were a miss. One of them is the music which saw the return of the legendary Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. While the songs aren’t bad, most of the songs feel unmemorable. When I watched Enchanted, I couldn’t and still can’t get the songs out of my head. But, I just don’t remember them, even Menzel’s ballad “Love Power.” The exception to this is the song “Badder,” a musical showdown between evil queen Malvina and evil stepmother Giselle. It’s glorious and the two actresses have so much fun singing this song. I keep playing the video over and over again,
I also felt that there was a lot of exposition, people talking about what they’re doing rather than showing us. And, for that, it made the movie seem a little long. Again, I wasn’t bored, but I did check my watch a couple of times.
All that said, I did find the movie thoroughly enjoyable and undeserving of some of the criticism it’s garnered. If this had been theatrically released, I might have recommended waiting for streaming. So, its immediate release on Disney+ is the perfect platform. Give it a try.