Disillusioned is slightly less than enchanted in just about every way imaginable.
It’s less charming, less memorable, and less fun. The songs are not as catchy and the story is less unique. Even the animated sequences feel like a big step backwards, which is shocking. The jokes land less often and the cast – while doing their best with the script – feels less alive.
Overall, the production feels less polished – more like a movie made for a streaming service than one made for a theatrical release, which I suppose is exactly what it is. And that’s a shame. Disillusioned ultimately feels like the kind of movie that’s been in development hell for a decade and a half: messy, half-baked despite such a long gestation period, and bland compared to the original.
enchanted is, in my opinion, the best Disney movie of the 21st century. It was released fifteen years ago and nothing the House Of Mouse has released since then can match its humor, charm and musical numbers. I can hum or sing along to “Happy Little Working Song” or “That’s How You Know” right away. Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz wrote the music Disillusioned too, but most of the sequel’s songs are unmemorable and the choreography is never that clever.
Of the new movie’s songs, only “Badder” is a real hit (it’s actually “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from this movie). The song-off between Giselle (Amy Adams) and Monroeville matriarch Malvina (Maya Rudolph) is a lot of fun and has more energy than the rest of the film’s musical numbers combined.
And while it’s nice to see Idina Menzel get a track this time around, her song “Love Power” is passable but forgettable; I liked it more than anything frozen 2, what not‘not say much—like so many of the songs in the movie, i can’t remember the tune. Jack Dempsey even joins in the singing and dancing in the sequel, which is fun.
Most of the time, though, it felt like the cast was wasted on a predictable, ultimately unsatisfying script that did very little to build on the charming subversions of the original. Easter Eggs to previous Disney movies, such as the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty, don’t really count. (I enjoyed Pip’s transformation into a cat, which gave us one of the best lines in the movie: “I’m starting to feel superior to every other living thing”).
You can watch my video review below:
This was a movie that could have really landed with a tighter screenplay and more focus. It touched me personally simply because my daughter is now a teenager and has dealt with many of the same issues that Morgan (this time played by Gabriella Baldacchino) faces. My daughter saw enchanted first as a young girl (it came out the year she was born) and watching the sequel as a grouchy teenager was – well, bittersweet, I guess. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad.
The central conflict between Giselle and Morgan – the universal battle shared not only by stepmothers and stepdaughters, but also by mothers and daughters – eventually falls a bit flat thanks to the oddly rushed pace in the 2-hour film.
The premise is this: Giselle is unhappy with the life they lead in NYC after having a new baby with Robert. She doesn’t know how to handle Morgan now that she’s a teenager, so she decides – and Robert, foolishly agrees – to move everyone to the suburb of Monroeville. This is where things get worse, largely because it’s not the fairytale life she was hoping for and Morgan is, understandably, angry that she was forced to move to a small town where she doesn’t know anyone midway through high school. .
When Prince Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy from Andalasia appear and give baby Sophia a magical wand, Giselle uses it to wish for a fairy life. Things predictably go wrong – it’s all bad WandaVision but without the mystery or cleverness – and there’s a race against time to turn things back before the spell becomes permanent and Andalasia is sapped of all its magic and destroyed. Giselle begins to become the evil stepmother of her own story (cursed by the wish for some reason). One of the highlights of the movie is Adams’ turns between the sweet Giselle and bad good Wicked stepmother. It’s very Smeagol vs Gollum sometimes.
Anyway, at one point, Wicked Stepmother Giselle says something along the lines of “Everybody knows a fairy tale can only have one villain” and that’s a good point the film’s creators – director Adam Shankman and screenwriter Brigitte Hales – make. should have taken into account. account. Maya Rudolph’s character is almost superfluous to the plot and like so much in the film, it feels conflicted. Meanwhile, Dempsey is almost entirely used for laughs this time around, but the running gag wears off pretty quickly. We’re pretty much missing the dynamic between Robert and Giselle from the first movie at the end of this one.
I’ll make a separate post about the ending (so as not to spoil anything here), but I think they smelled pretty bad too. All in all I definitely enjoyed some of the spectacle and there were fun moments throughout, and even a few emotional scenes that I think hit closer to home simply because they were relatable to my own life, the multitude that the first made such a great movie was missing.
Disillusioned is rarely funny in the genuinely clever way of the original, and it lacks the focus, wit and charm of its predecessor. There’s probably a really good story about motherhood and family buried in the film, but it’s too shredded to get to the point of whether the idea of what “happily ever after” really means in the modern world is really compelling. to research.
Perhaps it never could have matched the original. On the other hand, perhaps it would have been better to give this the love, care and attention – not to mention the budget – that a sequel to the Oscar-nominated modern classic enchanted really deserves. And give it a theatrical release.
I enjoyed watching Disillusioned with my kids, but we all enjoyed it much less than the original.
Disillusioned is out today on Disney+.