A joyful return to happily ever after meets reality, Disenchanted ups the musical numbers, the magic, and the villain count. It may not top the original, but this sequel has its enough charm and fun that fans are going to enjoy the ride.
Disenchanted Movie Review
What happens after happily ever after? Disenchanted picks up 10 years after Enchanted and sees Giselle (Amy Adams) and her true love Robert (Patrick Dempsey) set to move their family from New York City to a fairy-tale suburb. Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), now a teenager full of sarcasm, does not want to leave her life in the city behind. As the family tries to settle into their new home in Monroeville, tensions between Morgan and her parents continue to rise. Desperate to bring happily ever after to this life, Giselle uses the Andalasian Wishing Wand Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel) had gifted to her new daughter Sophia. However, if fairytales have taught us anything, it is be careful what you wish for.
Disenchanted is a musical, joyful return to the world we fell in love with 15 years ago. It may not top the original, it is rare lighting strikes twice, but it has enough of its own charm and fun to please old and new fans alike. Unlike many other long-awaited sequels, this one doesn't try to cookie cutter its way through the story. Screenwriter Brigitte Hales opts to zero in on a different popular trope: the evil stepmother. What makes this story even better is that it is not a previously established villainous character but rather Giselle herself who gets down and wicked.
Amy Adams is clearly having the best time portraying both the bright-eyed, optimistic side of Giselle and the scheming, conniving one as well. She is delightfully wicked and practically perfect all in the same film and a lot of the time within the same scene. Adams chews up the scenery as she waltzes around embracing her dark side . Even the lighting subtly changes to match her Jekyll and Hyde nature. But she isn't the only baddie in this storybook world.
Maya Rudolph is Monroeville's reigning queen of the cul-de-sac, Malvina. She goes from PTA tyrant to actual evil Queen as Giselle's wish takes hold of the town. But there is only room in any story for one villain and neither of these ladies wish to be a minion. The result is a dueling duet called “Badder” that is as campy as it is catchy. Rudolph is a wonderful addition to this cast, equipping Malvina with quick wit and an air of superiority.
Packed with more songs than the original, Disenchanted once again proves the motto here must have been go big or go home. With the king Alan Menken back at the piano, each number is infused with a classic Disney feel and lyrical Easter eggs. Dempsey even gets in on the action this time around and not at all begrudgingly. Marsden also gets to sing again, although not enough. Menzel finally gets her moment to show off her vocal skills in the big third act number “Love Power.” Young Frozen fans will delight in this as much as Wicked fans, yes there is even an Easter egg for that show in here as well.
Gabriella Baldacchino steps in to fill the shoes of the original Morgan, Rachel Covey, and does well imitating this teen version of the sweet girl Giselle met so many years ago. Pip also makes a return, as a narrator and co-conspirator to Giselle. Alan Tudyk has also made his way into this Disney property as the voice of the Andalasian scroll. Although he sounds very similar to his King Candy persona in Wreck-it-Ralph.
Dan Hennah’s sets and Joan Bergin's costume designs all add to the overall fantasyland feel of Monroeville. There is CGI of course, unfortunately that kind of magic doesn't exist in our world, but like the original it doesn't get in the way of or detract from the story. With plenty of practical sets and effects not to mention the way these actors embody their characters, Disenchanted feels real. Or real enough that I would be up for a visit.
Ultimately, Disenchanted is the sequel fans have been asking Disney for all these years. It has its own unique charm, memorable moments, and catchy songs. Although it doesn't surpass the original, most sequels never do, it is an enjoyable romp through a fairytale world that sees Adams giving her most entertaining performances ever. The story itself ties up neatly so if this is truly the end then no one will feel cheated. However, if Disney wants to make an Enchanted 3 with more Edward and more Giselle in suburbia then I for one am here for it.
Disenchanted is now streaming on Disney+. It is rated PG for mild peril and language with a runtime of 118 minutes.