Released in 2007, Disney’s delighted is a modern classic if there ever was one: a beloved twist on the typical Disney format that introduced an entire generation to the brilliance of Amy Adams. Fifteen years after the original film swept the public, Disney once again returns to Andalusia with disenchantedthe long awaited sequel.
Although the film manages to separate most of the cast and creative team from the original, there just isn’t enough magic in it. disenchanted to rekindle (or even come close to) the light-hearted charm of the first movie, leading to a mediocre sequel that’s equal parts underwritten and unoriginal.
Starring Amy Adams and Maya Rudolph, disenchanted picks up years after Princess Giselle (Adams) found her happy ending with badly hurt but kind-hearted lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey). Despite a loving marriage and a growing bond with her stepdaughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), Giselle is not content with life or New York, and she moves her family to the suburbs in search of a new beginning. But as her discontent grows, a well-intentioned spell spirals out of control and soon Giselle becomes the villain in a new story that she must race to erase before it’s too late.
Purely conceptually speaking, disenchantedThe narrative of is an interesting reflection on the themes of the first film and an ambitious concept to tackle in a Disney film – a direct acknowledgment of the non-existence of a ‘happy ending’. First delighted The film primarily uses the dichotomy of Giselle’s expectations of the world for comedic purposes, but the dramatic undercurrent was always that Giselle’s sheltered upbringing failed to prepare her for the harsh realities of “real life.”
disenchanted explores this idea head-on, making it abundantly clear from the start that despite being in love with Robert and caring deeply for Morgan, even her feelings for them aren’t enough to help her adjust to a life that isn’t a fairy tale. It’s remarkably bleak: especially considering the light the ending of the first film sheds, but it’s a commendable concept for a sequel that fully embraces the murkier parts of an otherwise squeaky clean narrative.
Where disenchanted flounder, however, is in the running. The concept of Giselle not being sure how to find joy or fit into the real world is enthralling, but the script refuses to examine its own premise in any significant detail, instead making shallow, superficial musings feel half-hearted. . , just an afterthought to give Giselle a reason to go bad.
And turn the evil he certainly does into another bold choice. The decision to have Giselle slowly transform into an ‘evil stepmother’ while everyone around her is sucked into a twisted fairy tale is a clever subversion of the first film, to be sure, but once again, a solid concept gets bogged down in an unsophisticated script that merely digs into the skeletons of an idea instead of expanding on it.
Despite the fact that Morgan and Robert’s relationships with Giselle are crucial to the film’s emotional and narrative core, Robert is severely underpinned and Morgan spends too much time as a fairy tale cliché after Giselle’s wish is fulfilled. accidentally concedes. Thus, with the two most compelling characters removed, Giselle spends most of the film dealing with repetitive and pointless confrontations with Maya Rudolph’s Malvina Monroe, the village queen bee/evil queen of the fairy tale.
While it’s certainly understandable to want to feature a talent like Rudolph, the character of Malvina feels completely unnecessary when the Giselle-turning-evil narrative is fair enough. Not only that, but Malvina’s presence almost always comes at the expense of another, more interesting character: in addition to the aforementioned Morgan and Robert, James Marsden’s Prince Edward and Idina Menzel’s Nancy are particular victims of this phenomenon.
While Amy Adams will always be the most iconic performance in delightedJames Marsden’s Prince Edward is an equally (though certainly not as celebrated) performance that has been revived to great acclaim in disenchanted—but the movie hardly seems interested in showing off one of the few characters it actually has going for it. Marsden’s mere presence makes any scene better, and Menzel’s vocal abilities are impressive enough to convey even the most tired original songs, but for whatever reason, they step aside in favor of spending more time with Malvina.
As mentioned, however, there is one saving grace in this bitter sequel: Amy Adams does double duty as the good Giselle and the evil stepmother who is slowly taking over. The physical comedy and sheer camp that Adams is injecting into this performance is almost reminiscent of Jim Carrey in The mask—the energy is always at 1000%, and his fervent commitment to the single-handed part makes even the most banal dialogue watchable.
When it comes to being a fitting spiritual successor to a much-loved Disney favourite, disenchanted unfortunately it’s a dud – it struggles to recapture the charm of the original and places too much emphasis on original songs, theatrical shenanigans, and recognizable talent. Although Amy Adams and James Marsden have perfect pitch, even the combined power of their performances isn’t enough to make disenchanted a worthy sequel.
(featured image: Disney)
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