Disenchanted is the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s Enchanted, now streaming on Disney+. Coming 15 years after the original became a surprise hit, this sequel certainly retains all of the original’s charm, although it isn’t quite as fun.
The film opens with an animated prologue of chipmunk Pip (voiced by Griffin Newman), who reads from a storybook filling us in on what has happened following the ending of the first film. Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) settle into life in New York with Morgan and their new baby Sofia. However, life in Manhattan soon drags on them and Giselle arranges to move the family to a fairytale suburban town called Monroeville.
Their initial arrival in town doesn’t go well; their house is still being renovated, Robert struggles with the daily commute to work and the now-teenage Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) feels like an outcast in her new school. Giselle also meets queen bee Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph), the self-appointed leader of the town who is throwing a fairytale-themed ball with her son being elected as the prince.
Soon after their arrival, Giselle and Robert are visited by King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) from Andalasia, who wish to bestow a gift on their new goddaughter, a wishing wand. Following a falling out with Morgan, Giselle begins to feel disillusioned with her life and finds herself wishing for her fairytale happily ever after. Taking up the wishing wand, she wishes for her perfect fairy tale life and wakes up the next day to find the entire town has been turned into Monrolasia.
Malvina has become the town’s evil queen, Morgan is a dutiful daughter doing her chores, Robert is a brave heroic prince and Giselle feels like she’s living her perfect life. However, after exhibiting some unusually cruel behaviour, Giselle turns to the wishing wand’s instruction scroll (voiced by Alan Tudyk) and discovers she’s turning into an evil stepmother. With Pip by her side, Giselle fights to stop her evil side from taking over and spare the entire town from evil.
The original Enchanted was somewhat unusual for Disney as it parodied all of the fairy tale cliches that Disney films did so well. And there’s certainly more of the same in Disenchanted, with some very charming and witty self-awareness of yet more fairy tale tropes. It’s certainly fun and entertaining, although it’s not anywhere near as humorous as the original. Most of this is down to the severe lack of James Marsden’s Edward, who raises a laugh every time he’s on screen but this isn’t nearly often enough. Although Alan Tudyk’s marvellous talking scroll and Pip’s transformation do go some way in making up for it.
Amy Adams is just as charming as Giselle the second time around, wonderfully balancing the innocent princess with her more evil side, and Patrick Dempsey seems to revel in playing the dutiful Disney prince. The Broadway-style tunes and soundtrack are brilliant, although I would argue not quite as memorable as those in the original, and the CGI and animation look good too. Again they’ve managed to seamlessly blend the live-action side with the cartoon world of Andalasia, however, I do think this is a little too CGI heavy, especially in the finale and weirdly this causes the film to lose some of the magic that made the original so endearing.
As sequels go, Disenchanted is an original and fairly enjoyable tale. It isn’t quite as funny or brilliant as the original and is certainly missing some of the magic that made Enchanted such a hit, but it’s definitely a reliable and entertaining sequel.
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!