Disenchanted [Review]

(L-R): Amy Adams as Giselle and Maya Rudolph as Malvina Monroe in Disney's live-action DISENCHANTED, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Jonathan Hession. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Enchanted is one of those classic films that almost everyone loves. It was different from what anyone expected but had so much charm and was led by an excellent Amy Adams. It is a classic, a film that has survived time, and fans have been clamouring for a sequel. Disenchanted is the sequel we have been waiting for, and while it might not encapsulate the charm and magic of the first one, it is as close as it gets.

It has been 15 years since Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) wed, but Giselle has grown disillusioned with life in the city. Hence, they move their growing family to the sleepy suburban community of Monroeville in search of a more fairy-tale life. Unfortunately, it isn’t the quick fix she had hoped for. Suburbia has a new set of rules and a local queen bee, Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph), who makes Giselle feel more out of place than ever. Frustrated that her happily ever after hasn’t been so easy to find, she turns to the magic of Andalasia for help, accidentally transforming the entire town into a real-life fairy tale and placing her family’s future happiness in jeopardy. Now, Giselle is in a race against time to reverse the spell and determine what happily ever after truly means to her and her family. 

Amy Adams as Giselle in Disney’s live-action DISENCHANTED, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There is a lot to love about Disenchanted, and most of it stems from how much fun it is. It might not have the same charm as the first one, but the film still can capture that magic that made the first one so special. Much of that is because Amy Adams shines again in Giselle’s role. Without getting into many spoilers – even if the trailer did give a bit away – Adams get to play a side of Giselle that is so different than the original film, and it is clear that she is having the time of her life. Pair that with Maya Rudolph’s delicious turn as Malvina Monroe, and you end up with a duo that is having fun from start to finish.

If the first film was about finding happily ever after, the second film asked what happens next and what forms it. If the first film is a love story between Giselle and Robert, Disenchanted instead focuses on Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) and Giselle’s relationship. This is still a love story, but this time about a mother and a daughter and what forms a family. Giselle and Morgan might not be blood-related, but the film asks what makes a family.

(L-R): Amy Adams as Giselle, Sofia (played by Mila & Lara Jackson), Gabriella Baldacchino as Morgan Philip, and Patrick Dempsey as Robert Philip in Disney’s live-action DISENCHANTED, exclusively on Disney+. Courtesy of Disney Enterprises; Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Instead of putting Gisele in a different world like the first one, Disenchanted flips the switch and puts everyone else in Gisele’s world. It’s a straightforward idea, but one that works, except the film, takes a long time to get there. While they have to establish so much of what happened between the first and second film and reintroduce us to the new dynamics, the film just feels like it rushes through its ending because it spent so long establishing itself.

The main problem with Disenchanted is that it fails to recapture what made the original film so great, the music. So many songs of the first one are still to this day some of the most iconic musical songs, and yet, even after watching this less than twelve hours ago, I don’t think I could tell you of any songs. They are cute and entertaining but don’t hold the same magic as the original film. The only saving grace of the music is that this time around, the film lets Idina Menzel sing, and everything is made better by letting her sing.

Disenchanted fails to recapture the magic of its predecessor. Still, a tour de force performance from Maya Rudolph and Amy Adams makes it fun enough to watch that fans of the original might get something out of it, even if rewatching the original might be the better option.