I had to let the latest Disney Channel Movie sink in after Friday nights premier. When the news first started to spread about Descendants I was filled with joy. Being a big fan of Ever After High and Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, I was excited to see more of what has been happening since we said goodbye. I also am a huge fan of getting to know more and more about the children of our favorite Disney couples. But sadly, Descendants did not live up to the hype.
The director, Kenny Ortega, is know for Newsies, Hocus Pocus, and High School Musical. While all of those movies are great, let’s not forget how crazy High School Musical became. So it comes to no surprise that Disney would try the same formula again (and again and again and again). Since the first H.S.M we have seen the same plot set up and song choices in Camp Rock, Starstruck, Teen Beach Movie and now sadly Descendants. There were so many possibilities to really make this original and clever. To make something new and exciting, that would allow Descendants to blaze its own path. Perhaps my distaste comes from what Disney Channel movies use to be vs where they are today. I grew up in a era where the Disney Channel Movies were original, each one had a strong message, and while they all had love interests, the plots were greatly varied.
If you are some of the few who don’t know what Descendants is, then let me break it down before I go into the highs and lows of the movie. The latest Disney Channel Movie, Descendants, follows the children of Maleficent (Kristin Chenoweth), Jafar (Maz Jobrani), Evil Queen (Kathy Najimy), and Cruella de Vil (Wendy Raquel Robinson) as they embark on a once in a life time chance at redemption per the request of Prince Ben (Belle and Prince Adam’s son). As he gets ready to be crowned king, he gets to make his first proclamation, leaving his parents speechless as he describes his idea to allow the children to join the prep school that house children of the iconic Disney heroes. Feeling pressure from their parent Mal (daughter of Maleficent) leads the charge while working with Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of Evil Queen), and Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil) to grab the Fairy Godmother’s wand, giving their parents an opportunity to escape the Isle of the Lost. This movie really dives deep into the pressure of living up to your parents, while trying to find yourself.
While I was totally let down by some of the repetitiveness in Descendants, there were also some amazing high points. I absolutely loved the actors. You could see that they really had fun with their rolls. Dove Cameron (Mal), Cameron Boyce (Carlos), Booboo Stewart (Jay), and Sofia Carson (Evie), and Mitchell Hope (Ben) were all amazing as they brought life and energy to their characters. The reason this show will go far is because of these young talents and the characters they created. I might have hated the plot and the feeling of recycled songs, but I was invested in the characters.
Another high of the show was seeing some of the children of beloved characters. For example we get to meet Dopey’s son, Aurora’s Daughter (Prince Ben’s Girlfriend), Fairy Godmothers daughter, and so much more. I almost wish they would have pushed it a little more on the children front, giving us more of a chance to see other children of Disney characters. However, with them being sparse, I can only think that a sequel is already in the works. Besides just seeing characters, there were some amazing bits weaved into the movie for all Disney fans. As the movie continued, I found more joy in the way they combined the two worlds together.
While the songs were predictable, they were still catchy and adorable. Here are the top three performances from the movie:
3) At first I didn’t know how I felt about this song, but it has been stuck in my head for days now. Not sure if that is a plus or a negative, but you can’t help but smile and laugh as you watch the song unfold.
2) I was so happy when I started to hear the intro to one of my favorite songs growing up. Not to mention, sometimes revamping a song can be a big fail, but not this time. Whoever composed this song is a genius. Not only did they keep some of the favorite things we loved about the song, but kept it fresh and updated. The only downfall is the song is to short. I NEED MORE!
1) This song stole the show! It might be because Kristin Chenoweth can do no wrong. Being well known for her pipes and personality, she takes this song to new heights, leaving me to watch it over and over again.
Even though this movie pushed my limits on how many similarities it had to all the musical movies before it, the quality of the songs and over all performances, has made it a keeper in my eyes.