Disenchanted review: The Magic of Memory

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disenchanted is the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s box office hit, Enchanted, and sees the return of favourite cast and characters from the original heart-warming movie. Viewers adored Giselle (Amy Adams) in the first movie, a young woman from Andalasia who found her prince charming in the most unlikely of places. Disenchanted asks the questions we have all wondered, what happens after happily ever after, and how the musical Giselle adapted to a world without magic as she made it home. Disenchanted delivers on many things, including some great musical numbers and comedy. Now, Disenchanted is Disney+’s all new musical comedy that finally reunites the cast and characters audiences loved, but now things have changed and characters are older and find themselves in situations that could change them forever.

As with all sequels, audiences will be comparing everything in Disenchanted to its predecessor, Enhanced. Directed by Adam Shankman, Disenchanted is great as a sequel, but while the first movie had a fun hit such as ‘That’s How You Know,’ unfortunately, the sequel does not have a song as great as that. While it is missing a song like this, it shouldn’t take away from the music. Alan Menken delivers a fantastic score to the movie which has more of an emotional punch that the first movie. One thing that Enchanted missed was using the powerful voice of Nancy (Idina Menzel), but this is rectified in the ballad ‘Love Power.’ This song delivers on the emotional aspect of the movie and visually, it delivers on stunning transitions and special effects to empower and add weight to the emotion of the moment and that characters in it.                          

Disenchanted is set fifteen years after the original. Much has changed. For one, Robert and Giselle welcome their new daughter Sophia into the world and with a new baby comes new challenges. For one, their New York apartment (which is adorably referred to as a palace) is too small for their growing family, leaving them with one choice. Giselle is seeking to further her happily ever after and a new house in the suburb of Monroeville seems to be the perfect solution. With a new move, Disenchanted tackles characters feeling left behind or dealing with the sacrifices they had to make for a fairy-tale life. While Giselle spent the first movie looking for her Prince, this movie is her looking to belong and to include Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) in her journey of belonging.

While the theme of Disenchanted feels more mature and less of a comedy, it works brilliantly and that is mostly due to Adam’s timeless portrayal of Giselle. Giselle remains the hopeful that things will turn out okay; she’s truly grown up and adapted since we last saw her in the first movie. Instead of searching for her prince, Giselle’s focus is Morgan, which is a refreshing change to the traditional plot lines. It further shows that Disney is trying to move away from the desire for a romantic love interest; instead, it is now focusing on family and the bonds between the family you are born with and the one you pick up throughout your life. It also picks up on something from the beginning of the first movie, not all stepparents are evil. Giselle is a doting mother to Morgan who refers to Giselle as mom until the spell is cast. Disney is moving away from the typical stories and now they are showcasing the stepchild and parent relationship.

Morgan is the secondary lead of the movie and Baldacchino performs brilliantly. From the cliché teenager struggling to find her place in Monroeville and within her new family, to the strong young woman who takes assertive action, Morgan will be a character that a lot of younger viewers will want to be. With a singing voice that can stand out on its own, Baldacchino is the perfect scene partner for Adams’s Giselle. She is Amy Adams equal and can match the joyful nature with her own spin and impeccable talent.

Like many other fans of Patrick Dempsey, I was excited to finally hear him sing, and with the promise and hype of this, it was a little disappointing that Dempsey’s singing in Disenchanted is very short-lived. Robert, as a character, seems a little misplaced within the movie as he has no real purpose within the plot of the movie. Given that Robert was such a big presence in the first one, you would think that the writers would follow a similar trajectory with Robert, and the same can be said for Prince Robert (James Marsden) as his role is fleeting within Disenchanted.

While Disney references are wonderfully scattered throughout Disenchanted, one thing that falls flat is the addition of two minions in the form of Malvina’s (Maya Rudolph) sidekicks Rosaleen (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Ruby (Jayma Mays). The two evil sidekicks feel outdated and their comedy doesn’t quite hit the same level as Rudolph’s. 

As mentioned before, while the list of performers increased, unfortunately there were no standout hits like ‘That’s How You Know.’ Songs such as ‘Love Power’ certainly try, and it does have the emotional impact of the movie, but the writers had tried to do something fun. ‘Badder’ is performed by Adams and Rudolph and it is a fun song, but the tempo does feel a bit off. Without the performance by Adams and Rudolph, the song might not have been as successful in the movie, had it been given to anyone else.

Overall, Disenchanted does not live up to Enchanted’s wholesome and comedic feel, but it delivers as a great sequel and that is mostly due to the performance of Amy Adams as she balances Giselle and her wicked counterpart perfectly, and the more mature theme of sense of belonging within a family and a new world. 

Disenchanted’s MVC goes to Giselle. Amy Adams gives a brilliant performance as both Giselle and her wicked counterpart. Amy Adams brings the hope and joy of Giselle but also adapting her perfectly for the more mature and emotional lessons of the movie. 

Disenchanted streams on Disney+ on November 18th, 2022.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s