SYNOPSIS: It has been more than ten years since Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) wed, but Giselle has grown disillusioned with life in the city, so they move their growing family to the sleepy suburban community of Monroeville in search of a more fairy tale life. Unfortunately, it isn’t the quick fix she had hoped for. Suburbia has a whole new set of rules and a local queen bee, Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph), who makes Giselle feel more out of place than ever. Frustrated that her happily ever after hasn’t been so easy to find, she turns to the magic of Andalasia for help, accidentally transforming the entire town into a real-life fairy tale and placing her family’s future happiness in jeopardy. Now, Giselle is in a race against time to reverse the spell and determine what happily ever after truly means to her and her family.
Giselle (Amy Adams) finally returns to the screen after an absence of 15 years although the events in Disenchanted is set 10 years after the original where Giselle and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) lives happily ever after in New York city after defeating the evil Queen Narrisa.
It goes without saying that there is no such thing as “happily ever after” and Giselle finds it so stressful juggling a new baby and a rebellious teenager, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) in the household that the entire family decides to relocate to a suburban called Monroeville.
When Giselle uses the wand gifted by King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) from Andalasia to wish her life to be the perfect fairy tale, things went haywire when Giselle starts turning into an evil stepmother while the town’s unofficial mayor, Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph) became the evil Queen. And now, Giselle has only till midnight to reverse her wish before everything becomes permanent.
While many praised the original for poking fun at Disney’s animated Princess movies with a cheery soundtrack and hand-drawn animation to go along, Disenchanted takes on a more formulaic approach as compared to its predecessor. The premise and idea is less clever this time as the story mainly focused on the stepmother trope and the question of is there a thing such as happily ever after in reality.
But whatever other ingredients that make the original work, they are mostly transported to the sequel. Disney-go-to composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz returns to charm listeners with more musical numbers including “Even More Enchanted”, “Love Power” and our personal favourite “Badder”, a rousing number between the movie’s two evil queens, Giselle and Malvina.
Talking animals are a must for Disney titles although there’s less of that here. What we have is Pip the chipmunk and a talking scroll voiced by Disney regular, Alan Tudyk. There’s a decent 2D animated sequence in the final act, once again nostalgic enough to wish Disney should continue making these. Director and dance choreographer Adam Shankman took over the directing reins from Kevin Lima and blessed the production with a handful of well-choreographed dance sequences unfortunately underperformed if you consider that amazing Enchanted “That’s How You Know” sequence in Central Park.
Amy Adams remains as enchanting as always, making the long-delayed sequel a worthwhile wait mainly because of her flawless performance. Without Susan Sarandon, Maya Rudolph is deliciously wicked as the movie’s main antagonist. Patrick Dempsey gets to fight a dragon and a giant troll despite his limited screentime while James Marsden is criminally underused. This show it seems belong to the ladies.
We know Disenchanted lacks the wittiness of the first and not even consider a worthy satire comedy. Still, magic is very much present as Disney delivers a charming follow-up on the small screen. When you can’t have everyone living happily ever after at least you can sprinkle some magic to sweeten the days.
Review by Linus Tee