Descendants movie full length review - Better in small doses.
When kids reach a certain age, they tend to think of the standard classic fairy tales as being something beneath them. It takes revisionists ranging from Jay Ward to Melissa De La Cruz to give them a shot in the arm to make them more amusing and appealing to older audiences.
Before the movie, I saw the promo and it looked like it had a few obvious clichés. The kids are so deliciously bad, they're good. I get it, but that never really stopped me from wanting to see it. And after the equally overly-hyped "Teen Beach 2," this seemed like it might be a little more worthwhile.
The son of Beauty and the Beast who is next in line to becoming King of Adaron, makes his first decree, which is to allow the kids of the most notorious Disney Villains to go to their boarding school. Never mind the fact that Maleficent and Grimhilde are products of Central Europe during the Renaisannce, Jafar was from the pre-Islamic Middle East, or Cruella DeVille was from early-20th Century England. Somehow, all these people are alive today, and have kids that are living in the 21st Century.
The kids all go rampaging through the Isle of the Lost trashing everything and singing about how bad they are, like the Jets and the Sharks from "West Side Story." Maleficent, Grimhilde, Jafar, and Cruella tell these kids they're being transferred, and Maleficent uses this as an opportunity to send her daughter Mal on a mission to steal the Fairy Godmother's magic wand.
When they arrive at the boarding school run by the monarchy, there's some slight tension between Mal, and the Prince's current girlfriend Audrey, who is the daughter of Aurora and Prince Phillip. They also find that their headmistress/teacher is none other than the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella played by none other than Melanie Paxson. I know she's a lot younger than the fairy godmother from the original movie, but let's face it - Paxson is too cutesy NOT to be in a movie like this.
All four main characters seem to face a crisis of consciousness, as they realize everything their parents taught them about life and how to live it was a lie. Cruella's son Carlos realizes that dogs make better pets than fur coats. Grimhilde's daughter Evie realizes she doesn't have to manipulate people with her looks. Jafar's son Jay realizes there are other ways of getting ahead besides being a vicious thief. But Mal is hit hardest by this revelation, because while she puts a spell on the prince to get him to fall in love with her so she can grab the magic wand, she starts falling in love with him.
Like a lot of other viewers, I really wasn't expecting a musical. But if you put it into perspective, many of the characters that the kids were descended from were seen in partial musicals too, so I let that issue slide. Dove Cameron's musical numbers are a little too over the top and overly emotional for my tastes, even though they're appropriate. It should be obvious I'm talking about "If Only," but "Evil Like Me" starts out that way too. And it's not like I hate her singing, in fact if you've seen my reviews I've stated that I love her voice on quite a few occasions. Also since Dove has always been a fan of Kristin Chenoweth, the chance to sing with her in a duet has to be both a career and personal highlight.
Many fans weren't to willing to accept the hip-hop version of "Be Our Guest," but I liked it. Even the villain kids are invited despite the fact that it was part of the parents day celebration, and their parents are uninvited. And for these kids, that party seems to be going okay, until Audrey's grandmother discovers Mal's connection to Princess Aurora, and takes her anger out on her instead.
Before the movie aired, Disney was pushing promos for Melissa De La Cruz's young adult novel about The Isle of the Lost. I suppose it would've helped if I had read the book too, since it might make sense of a few things here.