Disenchanted: Enchanted Sequel Falls Short

Amy Adams as Giselle in Disney's live-action DISENCHANTED, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Disenchanted, the long-overdue sequel to Disney’s 2007 hit film Enchanted, is finally making its arrival for audiences to watch on Disney+.

I love Enchanted but I’m not quite sure that I’m at the same level for Disenchanted. Where the first film sees Disney go meta by doing a hybrid animated/live-action Disney Princess movie, the sequel does the same for villains. The fact that this film sees Amy Adams’ Giselle becoming the wicked stepmother is something that I’m not entirely on board with. I get that they have to try to do something different but it’s not the same. That’s not to take away anything from Amy Adams because she’s magnificent as usual. If one is expecting Disenchanted to be an instant classic, it’s unfortunate that the magic falls a bit short of the original. There were reshoots after a test screening because of the mixed reception. The fact that the review embargo is lifting at launch should tell you everything you need to know.

I’ll discuss the film more in-depth below the photo.

(L-R): Amy Adams as Giselle, Sofia (played by Mila & Lara Jackson), Gabriella Baldacchino as Morgan Philip, and Patrick Dempsey as Robert Philip in Disney’s live-action DISENCHANTED, exclusively on Disney+. Courtesy of Disney Enterprises; Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Right off the bat, the film is not a real-time sequel to the original. The project profile synopsis states that the film takes place 15 years after the original while the production notes list more than ten years. My guess is that it’s at least ten years after “happily ever after” because that would put Morgan at around 16 years old. Anything longer and she would have to be in college this time around. Morgan was six years old in the original film. I’ve done the math and it doesn’t add up to have the film taking place 15 years later. In this film, she’s attending high school as Gabriella Baldacchino replaces Rachel Covey in the role. The other recasting sees Griffin Newman replacing both Jeff Bennett and Kevin Lima as fan favorite chipmunk Pip.

Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) have a growing family. Their Manhattan residence is now too small for them and so they decide to movie out to Monroeville in the suburbs. Giselle is of the belief that it will offer them more of a fairy tale life. She still continues to break out in song, much to Morgan’s displeasure. Morgan has grown up into a sarcastic teenager and doesn’t want to leave her friends in the city. Their relationship is no longer what it used to be. Can it ever be fixed? Watch the film and find out! Meanwhile, Giselle is in for a rude awakening when she meets Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph). Much like Regina in Once Upon A Time, Malvina runs the city. To say that Giselle feels out of place would not be an understatement, never mind the current conditions between her and Morgan.

All of the core characters are in a different place than they were 15 years ago. Running on a routine can be exhausting so there needs to be some room for growth. Now that they’re in the suburbs, Robert has to commute to work. Once Giselle makes her wish (more soon), Robert becomes a knight on a quest. Morgan sees herself in a somewhat different role than Giselle in the first film. She’s a mixture of Cinderella and Snow White in this one.

When King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) present an wand from Andalasia as a gift, it just speaks recipe for disaster. Much like the ABC series, all magic comes with a price. Is it worth the price of using the wand if Giselle is going to become a wicked stepmother? A fairy tale life is not always the be-all, end-all answer to everything. In wishing for a fairy tale life, Giselle–what’s left of her, anyway–realizes she made a mistake and has until midnight before her wish becomes permanent.

My issues with the plot notwithstanding, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz try to elevate the film as much as the can. They certainly bring their A game and the cast and crew all do their best to bring these songs to life. How many of the numbers will become hits? This is the question that I cannot answer. I didn’t find myself reacting to them in the same way as the first film. Unlike Enchanted, I’m not sure I want to rush out and buy the soundtrack. I think I’d need to listen to the songs outside of the film in order to confirm my feelings. There’s a few good numbers here and the cast definitely looks like they’re having fun.

Sequels have a lot going for them. There are those that are more of the same and those which are better than the original. Disenchanted is not better than the original and falls well short in that regard. There’s a lot of pressure riding on the film and if Disney had more faith in it, it would be playing in theaters rather than going straight to streaming. The fact that the studio is holding the review embargo until launch is not a great sign at all.

DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman
SCREENWRITER: Brigitte Hales
CAST: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Maya Rudolph, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, Gabriella Baldacchino, with Idina Menzel and James Marsden

Disney+ launches Disenchanted on November 18, 2022. Grade: 2.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.