Disenchanted brings back Amy Adams as Giselle, who got her happily ever after in Enchanted in 2007. Only now, the domestic suburban life isn’t quite what the former princess imagined.
Fans of Enchanted have begged for a sequel since it premiered in 2007. The story of a magical princess from the cartoon kingdom of Andalasia lost in New York City was whimsical and romantic and one of Amy Adams’ early defining roles.
It’s been 15 years but we finally have that sequel. Disenchanted has been released directly onto Disney+, which seems like a shame. Surely a film as popular as Enchanted warranted a sequel with a proper theatrical release?
Disenchanted plays like a cliched, ugly TV movie and lacks the magic of the original. Giselle (Adams, fine as ever) finally got her happily ever after with Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and Robert’s daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino). The city is proving a bit too hectic and the couple make the executive decision to move upstate, to the peaceful town of Monroeville.
Their new life turns out to be less than ideal and Giselle is struggling. She misses her perfect life in Andalasia and wishes her new life to become a fairytale. Her wish comes true and Monroeville is transformed into Monrolasia, another kingdom mirroring Andalasia. Unfortunately, Giselle is also noticing some rather wicked changes in herself.
There is an interesting film somewhere within the premise of Disenchanted. The “after of the happily ever after”, as described by one of the characters, is a fascinating concept, especially in a fairy tale sequel that arrives 15 years after the original.
It’s a shame director Adam Shankman never utilises that premise to its fullest potential. In film time, only a few years have passed since the events of Enchanted and while the actors are noticeably older, we’re supposed to believe they’re still roughly the same people. What a joy it would have been if Disenchanted had the courage to truly explore the realities of parenthood and a life unfulfilled.
It would be fine if Disenchanted managed to maintain the magic of the original. It seems that most of the budget of the film went towards the salaries of the stars, notably Adams probably because, visually, Disenchanted has as much magic as a call from a telemarketer. The sets are so clearly built on vast studio lots; they look empty and completely dead. These aren’t real homes or streets where people exist and live. It makes Disenchanted dull and, quite honestly, ugly to look at.
And then there’s the songs. Disenchanted’s songs pale in comparison with the first film. Idina Menzel, returning as Nancy from the first film, gets the most impressive song in ‘Love Power’ and Adams and Maya Rudolph’s duet ‘Badder’ is a fun little number but none of them stick with you after the credits roll.
Adams is still in fine form as Giselle. As our beloved princess starts turning evil, Adams gets to play two wildly different parts and clearly has a great time doing it. Dempsey is deeply uncharismatic here, making it hard to believe he once was McDreamy in Grey’s Anatomy.
Disenchanted is a huge disappointment for anyone who loves Enchanted. It has so much potential, but all of it is wasted. Despite a fascinating and juicy premise, Disenchanted is boring, far too long and overall, a poorly made film. What a shame.
Disenchanted is streaming now on Disney+.