Desenchanted feels muddled and half-assed, but Enniskerry looks like Disney World

Desenchanted feels muddled and half-assed, but Enniskerry looks like Disney World

Disenchanted

director: Adam Shankman

certification: none

With: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Maya Rudolph, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, Gabriella Baldacchino, Idina Menzel, James Marsden

Duration: 1 hr 58 mins

Disney’s belated streaming sequel to the delightful 2007 hit Enchanted begins with its core couple – Amy Adams is still Giselle; Patrick Dempsey is still Robert – and no longer lives quite happily in Manhattan. Due to lack of space, they decide to move to a satellite town, a train ride away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Morgan, Giselle’s teenage stepdaughter, is inevitably depressed at being stuck in this lovely dorm room. You know the kind of place, all the manicured lawns and gossip about the box hedges.

Most of Disenchanted was filmed in Enniskerry.

Relax, Wicklow. we joke If you can’t laugh about it, you won’t break a smile over your gag during this strenuous attempt to get long-gone magic back into an elaborately decorated bottle.

To be fair, Desenchanted isn’t nearly as bad as streaming service Disney+’s recently released Hocus Pocus 2. It helps that they’re more likely to haunt a good movie than a terrible one. No sane person would rank the songs among Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz’s best, but if we must have middle-class musicians, best hire Disney’s A-List to write the songs.

Despite all of this, Disenchanted feels confused, half-hyped and dragged down by its need to constantly talk to us through its indifferent high concept.

You’ll recall that the original worked both as a celebration and as an emulation of Disney’s own sunny animated fantasies. Adams played a fairy princess – friend of singing animals – who is abducted to New York in the early millennia and, after various adventures, is married to Dempsey’s initially surly divorce attorney.

The challenge with such sequels is to break up the ending order of the previous film and reignite the conflicts. There’s something about a wishing well. There’s something about a magic wand. Eventually, Enniskerry transforms into an escalation of the archetypal fairy tale realm. (That means it looks like Walt Disney World.) The local villain (Maya Rudolph, always welcome) becomes the Evil Queen. The submissive block in the café becomes her “mirror on the wall”. And so forth.

What we really needed was something along the lines of the second Scream movie — a sequel that, rather than just deconstructing classic Disney tropes, satirizes emerging streaming sequel conventions

What we really needed was something along the lines of the second Scream movie — a sequel that, rather than just deconstructing classic Disney tropes, satirizes emerging streaming sequel conventions. You might cynically point out that we accidentally came up with exactly that. Far too much of this lengthy conversation is taken up with meditations on what elements of the lore are being explored in the city’s redesign.

In the most intriguing subplot, Giselle battles being turned into an evil stepmother, but Adams doesn’t get nearly enough valuable material. She knows how to square her shoulders like an ugly sister. She knows how to tighten her vowels. Yet toxicity never satisfactorily spoils its inherent friendliness.

It’s no big surprise to learn that reshoots took place in Buckinghamshire (boo!) after rumors of “mixed reactions” to a test screening earlier this year. While not a total disaster, Disenchanted feels hampered by compromise. Maybe too much time has passed. The clever deconstructions of the first film were forgotten in TV series like Schmigadoon! and disenchantmentlies. When has a long-delayed sequel lived up to the original? Okay, stop yelling “Top Gun” at me. It’s still hard. It is difficult. An honorable effort, but the magic has worn off.

Disenchanted begins streaming on Disney+ today

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