After fifteen years, Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey return to Enchanted universe for a sequel. Directed by Adam Shankman, Disenchanted picks up about a decade after the events of the first film and sees Giselle – now surnamed Phillip – with a new baby, prompting her family to move to the suburbs, causing tension between her and teenage stepdaughter Morgan (played by Gabriella Baldacchino) .
Tensions rise between the two when Giselle tries a little too hard to help Morgan adjust to their new town, and godparents King Edward and Queen Nancy (played by returning James Marsden and Idina Menzel) arrive to give a magical gift to the new baby Sophia. When things reach a boiling point, Giselle uses this gift to try to improve the family’s situation, but ends up getting more than she bargained for.
The story here is a classic “be careful what you wish for” situation combined with a key message about non-traditional families and growing up. None of this is new, but the magical elements of the story allow the cast to have fun with it, especially Adams, who plays a double role of sorts as her magical spell leads to some unintended consequences that bring forth a new one. side of Giselle. Baldacchino holds her own in scenes with powerhouses Adams and Menzel, and Maya Rudolph joins the franchise with her own tour-de-force performance as the story’s main villain. Her lackeys of sorts are played by scene stealers Yvette Nicole Brown and Jayma Mays.
Since this is a story about mothers and daughters at its core, the women take center stage and the men take more of a back seat. Dempsey’s Robert, who was one of the first film’s central figures, doesn’t get much to do here and is practically inconsequential to the plot (although he does get to sing a little bit in this one). Marsden’s Edward is as fun to watch as ever, but also doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as in the original.
Also returns from Enchanted is the songwriter Alan Menken. He has the “classic Disney” sound down (as he should, considering how many Disney movies he’s scored for at this point), but Disenchanted‘s songs are nowhere near as powerful as its predecessor’s. If there’s a stand-out, it’s probably the duet between Adams and Rudolph about their rivalry, and thankfully the film corrects the original’s mistake of not giving Menzel her own number by giving her both a big solo and a cute duet with Marsden . Really, it would be a crime for a franchise that pokes fun at classic Disney tropes not to let her sing her heart out, since she became a bona fide Disney icon in the interim between these two films as the voice of Frozenis Elsa. (They even manage to incorporate a “Let It Go” reference into her big song.)
The other area where the film falls a little short is the satire itself. While there’s still a lot of discussion about how fairy tale tropes fit (or don’t) in the real world, it’s played a little more straight here, with less of a knowing wink at the audience. In the fifteen years between these films, Disney poking fun at itself has become a trope all its own—and admittedly a pretty tired one at this point—but Enchanted franchise actually seems like the most appropriate place to do it, so it’s odd that they cut back on it a bit with this sequel.
Disenchanted is probably not quite as strong as its predecessor, but is a worthy follow-up, and it’s definitely fun to catch up with these characters and go on another adventure with them. It’s a good movie for families to watch together and should push the nostalgia button for fans of the original film.
Like ComingSoon’s audit policy explains, a score of 7.5 corresponds to “Good”. A successful piece of entertainment worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.