By Liliana Cifuentes | December 5, 2022
Photo Credit: IMDB
Disney’s "Disenchanted” addresses the question fans of its predecessor didn’t know they had: Can a fairy tale successfully have a post-happily-ever-after?
The answer? Yes, but you wouldn’t learn that from the story told in this sequel.
The film, released on Disney+ on Nov. 18, marks 15 years since stars Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, and James Marsden graced our screens as the bridge between the hustle bustle of New York City and fantasy-filled Andalasia. This time around, Giselle’s desires to live a post-happily-ever-after turn the annoyingly positive attitude often associated with her character into a dark and evil force viewers have never seen before.
Sounds decent, right?
Honestly, I think it could’ve been. Unfortunately, due to the poor execution of its first act, the overall film suffered as a result.
From its slow-burning nature that failed to effectively gauge audience interest to it being ridden with conveniently placed plot devices, Act I was difficult to sit through. The events during and after Giselle made the abrupt decision to move to the quiet suburbs from a torrential New York City played out in such a way where Act I felt spontaneous, while simultaneously taking almost an hour for the actual plot to begin. There is no mention of the successful fashion design business Giselle created for herself in “Enchanted”, or how it ties into the hasty choice to move away. There were a handful of awkward lines forced into character dialogue that were such a poor attempt of story foreshadowing that viewers have no choice but to cringe. As a result of the leisurely pace present in Act I, the film’s climax feels hurried through and forced upon the audience.
Instead, fans of the prequel are introduced to a Giselle who, after 15 years of acclimating to life away from the Andalasian fantasy, somehow still struggles to comprehend basic social cues. If I were to guess, story writers for this sequel wrote Acts II and III before going back to conjure up the content in Act I.
Despite all of the characters from “Enchanted” making a return, it certainly felt like only Giselle and Morgan, Robert’s now-adolescent daughter, went through any sort of substantial character development. The plot focused so heavily on strengthening the bond between the two women, who have vastly different opinions on how to live “happily-ever-after”, that there’s no room made for the audience to enjoy the likes of Robert, Prince Edward, and Nancy. The three went from occupying pivotal roles in “Enchanted” who made viewers’ hearts sing and break out in laughter to blending in with the background. Robert’s role is forced into the film’s narrative when, truth be told, did not contribute to the storyline whatsoever. Prince Edward, who served as the prequel’s comic relief, was not present in the film nearly as much as one would’ve liked. Viewers are also not briefed on how the relationship between him and his wife, Nancy, has flourished since we saw them last.
The film does have its perks, though.
The talents of lead Amy Adams are the saving grace of the film. Adams remains dedicated to her beloved Giselle but also welcomes the additional task of playing the fairytale’s villain with open arms. Her ability to depict the duality of her fun-loving character and its polar opposite, the wicked stepmother that sprouts within her as a result of a spell gone wrong, is one that is executed flawlessly.
The most noteworthy track is Adams’ duet with supporting actress Maya Rudolph, who plays PTA mother-turned-evil queen Malvina Monroe. The two actresses sing alongside each other in an unforgettable performance littered with alto and soprano notes. I’ve taken the liberty of downloading the song onto my device to stream without having to rewatch the film.
I’d give “Disenchanted” a 6/10.
“Disenchanted” is now available for streaming on Disney+.