A nice little welcome home party for our Andalasia heroine.
It’s inevitable Giselle, the young heroine of “Enchanted,” would want her live-action life to have the same kind of fairy tale magic as her animated kingdom of Andalasia. She’s learned to survive this world through her singing and dancing and learning to overcome the cynicisms and troubles this world has to offer, at least at its PG rating.
While I was complaining that the live-action made-for-Disney+ version of “Pinocchio” was unnecessary, the made-for-Disney+ sequel “Disenchanted” tries to live up to the original’s standards, and it does a lively job. It doesn’t compare to the original, but it doesn’t condescend its target audience the way “Pinocchio” did. And even if it was released in theaters, as a live-action Disney sequel, it has more spirits than “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Me Tell No Tales,” or “Malicient: Mistress of Evil.”
My mother and I were both delighted by the first “Enchanted,” which knew how to satirize Disney Princess films with some help from the music of Alan Menken, and picked the right actors to nail their roles. In “Disenchanted,” Amy Adams is back as Giselle, Patrick Dempsey is her husband-the New York lawyer Robert, James Marsden as the dashing Prince-turned-King Edward, and Idina Menzel is Robert’s ex-girlfriend who becomes Edward’s wife Queen Nancy.
This time, because Giselle has added a baby girl to the family, she relocates her family-with Robert’s daughter Morgan (now played by Gabriella Baldacchino)-to the suburbs. Monroeville is the name, and it’s run by non other than Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph), who assures Giselle her son Tyler (Kolton Stewart) being the winner of her “Monroe-Fest” prince contest isn’t rigged. She’s the one who dislikes Giselle the way Christina Applegate disliked Mila Kunis in “Bad Moms,” and has her goofy associates-the ditzy Ruby (Jayma Mays) and the smarter Rosaleen (Yvette Nicole Brown)-at her side.
Because her husband takes a long commute to the city and her stepdaughter is becoming a teenager who would call her “stepmother,” Giselle wishes everything can be magical. That’s when Nancy and Edward give her a magic wand that works for anyone born in Andalasia, and that’s when she decides to make her wish, never dreaming of the consequences.
The biggest problem is Giselle becoming the Wicked Stepmother, in a Jekyll and Hyde way, and the wish would remain permanent “AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT.” Of course, it would.
One of the things that I’m sure other critics and fans of the original would appreciate is that Menzel is able to sing some songs, as her duet with Marsden was cut in the last film. Hearing her voice makes my viewing experience more enjoyable especially since the filmmakers (now with director Adam Shankman) making the right call to keep her songs in.
But she’s isn’t the only reason to see “Disenchanted.” Adams is able to reprise her role with a Jodi Benson spirit, and she has fun balancing both sides as the good Giselle and evil Giselle. The Rudolph character is a mixed bag for me, because she’s a little over the top in reality, but has some punk as the evil Queen version. And the musical numbers are elaborate and show-stopping, especially with Menken’s name.
“Disenchanted” is no “Enchanted,” because it doesn’t capture the full magic of that film, but it works well as a nice reunion for its stars. Maybe it’s just me being optimistic and positive, I don’t know. I just feel something warm inside. I’m not made of stone.
Streaming on Disney+