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The Hollywood Insider Disenchanted Review

Photo: ‘Disenchanted’

The original ‘Enchanted’ came out at a time when Disney’s live-action game was made up of mostly misses, with a few notable hits (the first few ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ movies and the first couple of ‘Narnia’ films standout).  On paper, the concept of a fairytale princess wandering around the streets of New York City sounds silly.  But the film ended up playing off of this silliness, giving us a true gem in a fun, heartwarming, fairytale classic that still holds up fifteen years later.  

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A sequel sounds interesting, but unnecessary sequel syndrome is running rampant in Hollywood these days, and these types of projects typically lack the life and aurora that made their predecessors so special.  Does Disney+’sDisenchanted’ fall into this category?  Not necessarily.  The short answer is that this film is okay.  It’s not bad, but doesn’t have a rewatchability factor.  It is a step down from its predecessor, however, it does find enough on its own to make it a fun viewing experience.

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Missing the Original’s Charm

What many are already saying is true.  This movie lacks most of the magic of the original.  The 2007 film found much of its humor in seeing these archetype fairytale characters interact with the real and less magical world of Manhattan.  In this film, however, when everything else becomes a fairytale, it has a harder time trying to parody the fairytale princess world than its predecessor did.  Many of the characters lose much of what made them special in the original.  Amy Adams brings everything she brought to Giselle in the first film, but the direction the filmmakers chose to go with the character didn’t work and felt a little uninteresting.  In the first film, Patrick Dempsey was a struggling single dad and divorce lawyer, a career choice that brilliantly extended his attitude towards love and played off of his interactions with Giselle. 

The film not only lacks that aspect but diminishes Dempsey’s role in the film altogether.  Additionally, it became apparent a long time ago that anyone from SNL has a difficult time coming off as funny in any medium.  Maya Rudolph’s character does not work as a villain or a humorous one.  Compared to Susan Sarandon’s cartoonish yet clever evil queen character in the first film, Rudolph’s crossed the line into being simply too over the top.  Her two stooges, played by Yvette Nicole Brown and Jayma Mays, certainly didn’t help on that front.  Though Brown’s character was especially disappointing, she will always have a special place in the hearts of my generation as Helen from ‘Drake and Josh.’  

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Perhaps the most sorely missed element of the first film was the presence of James Marsden’s character.  Throughout the first film, Marsden’s character of Prince Edward was the typical fairytale prince completely lacking self-awareness and believing himself to be the hero in every tale.  Take this character and put him in New York City as he attempts to slay a commuter bus and is completely enamored by the concept of remote control to a “magic mirror,” and you have a hilariously fun fish-out-of-water story.  There are only small bits and moments of Marsden’s loveable curiosity and pompousness in the film.  Similar to Dempsey, he is tragically underused in this film.  On top of giving us less of the characters we wanted to see and more of the characters we wish were just not in the film, the movie actually feels pretty long.  The film is two hours, but feels two and a half hours long.  Usually not a good sign when your movie feels longer than it actually is.

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Some Spells Do Work

As mentioned above, the film does have a number of redeeming qualities that make it watchable enough.  A welcome choice in this film was the larger role of Idina Menzel’s character.  She was not only given more to do in this film, but the actress was also given a song or two to perform in this film.  Her songs were probably the standout of the entire film’s soundtrack.  Another redeemable part of the story was the focus on Robert and Giselle’s daughter, Morgan, now a teenager.  Whenever the film focused on her and her own arc, it worked.  To sum it up, this film tried to add a new feel to the original.  Sometimes it worked, others it didn’t.  

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‘Disenchanted’ Isn’t Rewatchable, But It Is Watchable

This probably isn’t a film I would be able to enjoy and rewatch over and over again like the first film, but I can’t say that I necessarily wasted two hours of my life with the film, because I didn’t.  The music is fun to listen to, the costumes and set pieces are colorful and vivid, and some of the characters were easy to like whenever they were on screen.  This sequel could have obviously been much better, especially considering that Disney had fifteen years since the original, but it was not an absolutely lifeless and dull sequel that we’ve come to expect from studios these days.  You also can’t really call this film a mere cash grab given that it was released on streaming instead of in theaters where it probably would’ve made even more money for Disney.  Though there seems to be a clear trend with movies released for streaming.  Similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime, Disney+’s original film catalog is okay at best and insufferably boring at worst.  By those standards, ‘Disenchanted’ is one of the streamer’s better original titles.  Though it could have been much better, it was not a tragic disappointment by any means.

Cast: Amy Adams, Maya Rudolph, James Marsden, Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, Gabriella Baldacchino

Written by: Brigitte Hales, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss

Directed by: Adam Shankman

By Nader Chamas

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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