“Disenchanted” - Movie Review

Story posted November 29, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Kaitlyn Murphy.

After 15 long years, audiences were welcomed back to the magical and musical world of Disney’s “Enchanted” with the sequel film, “Disenchanted.”

“Disenchanted” came as an answer to passionate fans asking for a continuation of Giselle, Robert and Morgan’s fantastical story.

With iconic Oscar-nominated songs and the unique combination of animation and live action, “Enchanted” was an instant classic. For that reason, Disney+ was faced with the impossible task of topping it.

As the name conveys, “Disenchanted” proves that not everything is bright and hopeful after “happily ever after.” Giselle (Amy Adams) struggles to adapt to her New York life in a cramped apartment, especially after welcoming a new baby with Robert (Patrick Dempsey).

To add to the stress, a now teenaged Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) no longer appreciates Giselle’s flamboyant personality and storytelling.

Giselle and Robert decide a change is necessary, and move the family to a beautiful cottage in Monroeville, a suburban town outside of New York.

While it’s certainly exciting to see Adams and Dempsey on screen together again, the film got off to a slow start. The opening song “Even More Enchanted” was easily forgettable, which was unfortunately a trend across most of the soundtrack.

As Giselle continues to sing and move her family into their new home, the audience is introduced to Maya Rudolph’s character, Malvina Monroe. Her name alone tells viewers everything they need to know, that she would likely turn out to be the “villain” of the story.

Soon after, two familiar and welcome faces appeared as Prince Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel) popped out of a wishing well in the house’s backyard.

They sang a cute duet and gifted Giselle an Andalasian wishing wand, something she thought only existed in stories.

After this, Marsden and Menzel were barely in the film. It was a little disappointing to say the least, since Prince Edward was a fan favorite in “Enchanted,” and Marsden has an amazing singing voice.

Things quickly take a turn for the worst when Giselle uses the wand to wish that their lives were more like the fairytale one she once lived, and her wish is granted.

Giselle finds herself rapidly turning into an evil stepmother to Morgan, since that is the way the fairytales are written.

The vilification of Giselle is certainly not what audiences were expecting to see in “Disenchanted,” since the entire premise of the first film was that Giselle was a shining light in an increasingly dark and cynical New York City.

It felt wrong to see her this way, although Amy Adams did the best work she could with the frustrating plot and lackluster musical numbers.

Morgan is tasked with reversing the spell and saving Giselle from becoming fully evil, and she enlists the help of Nancy to guide her. This scene brings the best song in the film, “Love Power,” sung by Menzel.

A highly impressive and hopeful ballad, “Love Power” shows Morgan that her memories and love for Giselle may be the only thing that can stop the evil from engulfing her completely. Menzel’s vocals are reminiscent of her “Wicked” days, and made the song the only memorable piece in the film.

The ending of the film utilizes visual effects to bring the magical spells and crumbling kingdom of Monroelasia to life, however, they end up sucking any remaining life from the film. While “Enchanted” certainly used effects for the dragon scene in its final act, “Disenchanted” overuses effects to the point where the ending felt cheap and artificial.

Rudolph’s performance as Giselle’s Monroelasian “nemesis” Queen Malvina was also extremely unconvincing in the battle scene, as (without getting into spoilers) her motives made absolutely no sense.

Once again, since the original film was so beloved by generations of Disney fans, “Disenchanted” was cursed from the start. The plot was not as unique and well-crafted as its predecessor, and the soundtrack did not produce anything groundbreaking aside from “Love Power.”

While it was lovely to see Adams and Dempsey step back into their characters, the nostalgia wasn’t enough to save this highly underwhelming sequel.

Rating: 2.5/5

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu.