Disenchanted is now streaming on Disney+.
By Greg Wheeler
As the film industry’s age of nostalgia continues, its string of movie remakes has now been met with sequels to older films. Whether it is Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar 2, filmmakers are banking on the power of nostalgia to attract the attention of audiences. Disenchanted does the same, relying on the endearing characters from the 2007 film to draw us back into the story. At first, it works. But Amy Adam’s Giselle is the only character who manages to captivate until the end credits.
The story itself loses focus, trying to do too much at once. It picks up a few years after the events of Enchanted — Giselle and Robert have a baby girl named Sofia while Morgan is now a moody teenager. The exhaustion of new parenthood and a strained relationship with Morgan persuade the family to move to the suburban town of Monroeville. When things don’t get easier, Giselle uses an Andalasian wand to wish that they had the perfect fairy tale life. Unfortunately, the perfect fairy tale usually involves a wicked stepmother and Giselle finds herself, unintentionally, turning into one.
At its heart, Disenchanted wants to be about a stepmother and her adopted daughter. It’s an admirable objective and with the right mix of fantasy and emotional depth, could have been a moving story. Sadly, the film seems to forget about this objective halfway through.
It had a massive potential to make a hard-hitting statement on negative emotions and imperfect relationships — remember when Giselle felt anger for the first time in her life in Enchanted? Well, you won’t see any of that insight in this installment. Instead, the plot wraps itself around the new fantasy world of Monrolasia and its evil queen.
It’s a pleasant enough watch and Morgan still plays an important role, but her relationship with Giselle isn’t explored the way it could. Instead, it takes a backseat right until the climax where a few heartfelt words seem to solve the entire problem.
What works is Giselle’s descent into her wicked stepmother alter ego. Amy Adams flits between the sweet, kindly Giselle and the cruel, vain stepmother with ease, her expression and tone of voice switching from one to the other at a drop of a hat. And you can’t take your eyes off her as she does it.
The rest of the film — while embellished with gorgeous costumes and appropriately kitschy CGI — is unable to rise to the level of its predecessor. Except for Idina Menzel’s ‘Love Power’, the movie’s songs are quite forgettable. Which is a shame when compared to the irresistible quality of ‘That’s How You Know’ and ‘Ever Ever After’ from Enchanted.
Adams truly is the best part of the film. She grabs your attention and keeps it going right until the closing scene. But the weight of an overloaded script and lack of emotional depth is too much even for her award winning shoulders.
I give Disenchanted a C+.