A Not-So-Original Premise
Dropped on Disney+ November 18 2022, Disenchanted is the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s Enchanted. And when I say “long-awaited,” I’m not exaggerating: this sequel comes fifteen years later.
❝ Ten years after the events of the first film, Giselle, Robert and Morgan Philip are living happily together with their newborn baby Sofia. However, life in Manhattan is starting to drag them on, so Giselle makes plans to move the family to Monroeville, a suburban town. The moving brings poor first experiences for them: their new house needs to be renovated; Robert has to commute to continue his job; and Morgan feels like an outcast at her new school. ❞ — Wikipedia
It’s not the most original plot line. In fact, as I discussed with my old co-blogger Mandy, you could watch Disenchanted without ever watching Enchanted—you would just miss a few nods to old characters. My excitement didn’t wane immediately, because the plot did have some room to breathe with the promised spell Giselle would cast: “I wish we had a fairytale life.” Turning Disney princess tropes on their head is what Enchanted did best, and it’s perhaps one of the things I most looked forwards to seeing in this sequel.
Unfortunately, fifteen years wasn’t enough to make this film a masterpiece. Or perhaps, it was too much. Disenchanted was a chaotic mismatch of villains, lackluster songs, and uninspiring plotlines.
Music that Lacked a Particular Glow
To this day, I have moments where That’s How You Know will pop into my head and I want to start dancing around my room. That song is a CLASSIC. And don’t get me started on A Happy Little Working Song. Maybe I can’t convince the cockroaches in my apartment to clean for me like Giselle can (I don’t even know if I want to), but I’m going to keep trying (maybe with the pigeons).
In this sequel, singing is more theatrical. Love Power feels like it was written to showcase Idina Menzel’s vocals rather than create a bonding moment between Morgan and Nancy. The Magic of Andalasia comes across as an informational ditty for the audience rather than a fun, spontaneous moment of song.
These are just two examples. Did you like any of the songs in Disenchanted?
✨ Even More Enchanted
✨ The Magic of Andalasia
✨ Fairytale Life
✨ Love Power
Sadly, none of these songs are going to be stuck in my head; although, maybe that is for the better.
Heavy-Handed and Underdeveloped Plotlines
Giselle and her family arrive in Monroeville, and the writers/producers waste no time in letting us know exactly where everyone stands. I thought the Queen B of the town, Malvina, was an actual storybook villain from how sinister she was written. (But no, she’s just supposed to be a domineering, helicopter mom.) Morgan is the stereotypical moody teen and Robert the unhappy-with-his-life spouse.
One scene at the beginning truly made me smile: Morgan comfortably calls Giselle “Mom.” But this moment is shattered not twenty minutes later when Morgan revokes the title and calls Giselle nothing more than a “stepmother.” This is but the start of rapid plot changes for the movie that often left me blinking in surprise.
A few plot points that I didn’t love:
✨ Robert and the dragon
(it took me ages to understand how this fit into the story)
✨ The attempts to meld in classic Disney princess storylines
(something done so well in the first movie fell flat here)
✨ Everyone becoming a caricature and losing defining features of their initial personality
(am I watching Enchanted anymore?)
Disenchanted favours TELLING the action, often through Giselle’s self-narration, to providing a clear storyline. This makes the movie a lot less enjoyable to watch and harder to follow.
All in All?
Disenchanted did not captivate this hopeful fan. I contemplated switching to a different show halfway through, and had to berate myself on that. I want to like this movie, and a lot of tiny moments still brought me joy. The love between Giselle and Robert was still easy to see on the screen. Every moment with Edward was hilarious—did James Marsden age at all? Despite how stereotypical Ruby’s character was, a lot of her lines caught me off guard, especially how she played off Yvette Nicole Brown. And Amy Adams is simply a queen at playing Giselle. Every dainty step and feathery breath brought me back to the original movie.
While this movie was not a success in my book, I want to know. What did you think? Have you seen Disenchanted? What were your favourite/least favourite moments? Am I off the mark on this one?