The newest Disney Channel Original Movie has aired, and to mixed results.
Why were you looking forward to ‘Descendants’?
Three reasons; for one, I am a big fan of Disney’s animated fairy tales, both from the animated films and ‘Once Upon A Time’; secondly, Kenny Ortega directed this movie, director of the ‘High School Musical’ trilogy; and thirdly, Kristen Chenoweth is an amazing talent, from ‘Glee’ fame.
Why were you mixed on this film? Good question, but first let’s delve into the film’s story.
The film opens up with a book, uh… I mean a cover of a book, only to open up as a tablet? Yes, even I am confused! I guess they want to be modern? But back to the story, after Belle and the Beast wed, the kingdoms are formed as one called the United States of Auradon and are elected as the new kingdom’s leaders. When their son, Ben, is awaiting to become ascended to the throne, he lets the four teenagers from each of the most terrifying villains around, the son of Cruella De Vil, Carlos; the son of Jafar, Jay; the daughter of the Evil Queen, Evie; and the daughter of Maleficent, Mal. But what the kingdom doesn’t know is that the four villain children have a plan to capture the Fairy Godmother’s wand and use it for evil.
Let’s start with the positives first, praises to Dove Cameron’s portrayal as Maleficent’s daughter Mal, as she actually does a tremendous job, despite the sometimes cheesy lines. Kristen Chenoweth also brings a good performance as Maleficent.
Even sometimes the film works, giving references to the animated classics for die-hard Disney fans and tension towards the film’s climax, but that’s when the film has problems. The climax doesn’t feel earned, and actually comes out of nowhere, just for the sake of having a twist in the film’s narrative.
The musical numbers are even disappointing, as they feel very uninspiring, and granted, you’ll question me in saying, well ‘High School Musical’ songs aren’t very inspiring? And I’ll say, “Start of Something New” or even “Stick to the Status Quo” isn’t inspiring with a good message? It’s a kids film, aimed at kids, but I’ve seen some very good films for kids that work well with some good songs and a good message, look no further to my review for ‘Lemonade Mouth’. However, out of all the film’s songs “If Only” and “Evil Like Me” are the stand outs, with the latter very Broadway, Disney-like, while some like “Be Our Guest” rearranged for a very modern audience with pop and rap elements, even though the song is pretty perfect in ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
Concluding, ‘Descendants’ isn’t that bad of a film, it’s a fine kids film with a nice story, although at times falls into the cliché category, with a good performance by Dove Cameron, ‘Descendants’ is okay, but could have been much better with its interesting premise of villainous characters.