'Disenchanted' review: No enchantment, whatsoever
Her perennial quest for the ‘happily ever after’ makes them move to the suburbs, and this is where the film really starts to fall off
In Enchanted (2007), we saw a doe-eyed Amy Adams step into the shoes of a Disney princess, who moves out of her fairytale world into the bustling New York City. As Giselle, her naiveté and overdose of optimism perfectly fit into the viewer’s expectations of a quintessential Disney film.
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Yes, it had a cliched trope of the damsel-in-distress tormented by the evil witch, waiting for her Prince Charming, even though it intelligently subverted it all to give us a rather heartwarming film that has stood the test of time. Disney’s recent drive to milk its classics, however, has left us disenchanted, much like this sequel.
A decade has passed since Giselle moved to New York City, and found a family with her beloved husband, Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and her stepdaughter, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino). The couple also has a baby now, and suddenly Giselle feels cramped for space and style in the city.
Her perennial quest for the ‘happily ever after' makes them move to the suburbs, and this is where the film really starts to fall off. A magic wish turns the suburbs into a fairytale land, where Giselle alternates between being both the kind fairy queen and the wicked stepmother.
She has to contend with her rebellious stepdaughter who she is at loggerheads, while also negotiating with an evil rival queen in the form of Malvina (a hilarious even if one-note Maya Rudolph). Resorting to a rather simplistic approach to complicated problems doesn’t help the narrative of Disenchanted.
Unlike its prequel, this film tries a bit too hard with its writing, which doesn’t exactly take advantage of the talented cast at its disposal. Although it is nice to see Adams let her hair down and have fun, after a series of serious films, it is not enough to recreate the magic that made Giselle one of our favourite Disney princesses.
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The songs don’t really stick, save for a couple such as ‘The Magic of Andalasia’ and ‘Love Power’, because the visuals don’t complement the music in a memorable way. Disney’s incessant need to reboot a much-loved franchise hasn’t exactly worked for it, even in the past.
It isn’t enough that the technology is in place to make these films visually superior to the original. Such films require better writing, and a lot more heart to ensure that these are looked at as warranted additions to the Disney roster rather than greedy attempts to milk a cash cow.