Descendants 3 offers a satisfying conclusion as we reach the end of the line of the musical Descendants trilogy on the Disney Channel.
The first film would become a re-imagining of a different nature. It was very different from ABC’s hit fairy tale series, Once Upon A Time (2011-2018). At the same time, one can see exactly why Disney continues to draw upon their hits in their film canon. It’s because audiences will continue to eat them up. Where OUAT freshened up these characters for a new generation, Descendants would introduce viewers to the villains’ children. Four of them in particular: Mal (Dove Cameron), Evie (Sofia Carson), Jay (Booboo Stewart), and Carlos (Cameron Boyce). They are the children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella de Vil, respectively. True to Disney nature, Descendants was a musical.
The film is book-ended by numbers that allow for its starring cast to shine. The core four return to the Isle of the Lost on another VK day. Auradon Prep may get its newest recruits but this does not come without Hades (Cheyenne Jackson) breaching the barrier. Auradon cannot risk another villain coming over, be it Hades or Uma (China Anne McClain). If Mal had her way, they would close the barrier for good! Meanwhile, a new villain looms in the distance with eyes on the scepter. I like the out-of-the-box thinking by screenwriters Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott. It is certainly a bold choice to say the least.
Descendants 3 continues a trend of introducing us to new villain children. This time around, we get the chance to meet Celia (Jadah Marie). She is the daughter of Dr. Facilier (Jamal Sims). Meanwhile, Peter Pan fans will recognize the name of Smee. His twin sons, Squeaky (Christian Convery) and Squirmy (Luke Roessler), are also introduced. Among the new children, Celia gets the most to do with helping out Mal. The other two, including VK recruit Dizzy Tremaine (Anna Cathcart), suffer from a spell that hits the kingdom. A slightly different spell has some different fun in mind for King Ben (Mitchell Hope). It is mostly up to the core four to defeat this new villain and restore the kingdom.
The film’s music allows the cast to shine once more. Sofia Carson’s Evie gets a chance to shine with a solo number about true love’s kiss. There is a rock duet between Mal and Hades that I like but to say more would spoil the film.
It is for good reason that the series reaches its inevitable conclusion. While we certainly have had fun watching them, it is hard to see where they can go without Cameron Boyce’s Carlos. With Boyce’s tragic passing, going on would have been seemingly impossible.
As Disney soon launches Disney+, it will be interesting to see if films will remain Disney Channel Original Movies such as Descendants 3. We’re a long way away from the High School Musical franchise.
DIRECTOR: Kenny Ortega
SCREENWRITERS: Josann McGibbon & Sara Parriott
CAST: Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, Sarah Jeffery, Brenna D’Amico, Melanie Paxon, Thomas Doherty, Dylan Playfair, Zachary Gibson, Jedidiah Goodacre, Anna Cathcart, Jadah Marie, Dan Payne, Keegan Connor Tracy, Bobby Moynihan, with Cheyenne Jackson and China Anne McClain