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Disney+ Review: Disenchanted

November 18, 2022

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Arriving fifteen years after Enchanted, Disney’s self-aware 2007 fairy tale that found an animated princess stumbling into our live action world, Disenchanted is a direct-to-streaming sequel that unfortunately struggles to recapture the same magic.

Amy Adams reprises her role as Giselle, who left her home in the animated Kingdom of Andalasia, and went to live in New York with her husband Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter Morgan, who is now a sarcastic teenager (Gabriella Baldacchino). Giselle and Robert have a new baby together, and the film opens with them deciding to leave the city and move to the suburban community of Monroeville.

But the family’s attempts at starting a new life get off to a bumpy start. Robert resents having to take the train into the city for work, Morgan struggles to fit in at a new school, and Giselle is unable to compete with the “queen” of Monroeville, Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph). With the help of some Andalasian magic courtesy of King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel), Giselle makes a wish that they had the perfect fairy tale life. But Giselle’s wish starts to backfire, and threatens to turn her into a Wicked Stepmother.

Directed by Adam Shankman, taking over for the first film’s Kevin Lima, Disenchanted begs the question of, did we really need a sequel fifteen years later exploring Giselle and her family’s suburban malaise? For me, at least, the answer is no. This change in setting is one of the main challenges of this sequel, which lacks the special New York magic of the original. While it attempts to copy the self-aware but still sincere tone of its 2007 predecessor, which poked fun at the classic Disney tropes while also embracing them, Disenchanted simply doesn’t feel that fresh this time around.

It has the feel of a sequel that is arriving too late, and lacks the genuine spark of the first one. The film’s generic, predictable story is somewhat sluggish at roughly two hours, and the mediocre visual effects are actually a step down from 2007 (the crickets look especially cheap). It looks like a TV movie compared to the theatrical production of the first one. Alan Menken and Stephen Scwartz do return with a selection of new original songs, but the tunes aren’t even particularly memorable this time around, and there is nothing on par with their wonderful contributions to Enchanted.

I loved the first Enchanted, so it pains me to say that this sequel is a disappointment. Adams (who also serves as producer) does seem to be having some fun reprising her role as the cheery Giselle, especially as her character starts taking on the traits of an “evil stepmother,” and Marsden does steal the few scenes he has. But almost everything about Disenchanted feels like a pale copy of the original. It’s not a terrible streaming option, especially for families, but it is a major letdown compared to the first one, and too often feels like it is just going through the motions.

Disenchanted is now available to stream exclusively on Disney+.

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