‘Disenchanted’ review: Amy Adams turns the page on a princess’s storybook ending on Disney+


“Disenchanted” asks the existential question, “What comes after ‘Happily Ever After?’ “, which is, naturally, a sequel… only (because it’s 15 years later) for streaming. Amy Adams returns with agility as an animated princess trying to adapt to the world of action real, in an epilogue to “Enchanted” that has moments of magic without completely respecting the premise.

As storytelling fashion goes, Adams’ Princess Giselle settled down with her unexpected prince, single father Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and had a baby with him. Yet life in fantasy Andalusia has left her ill-prepared for the monotony and drudgery of married life, leading her to search for a way to shake off her monotonous reality.

The HBO or Hulu version of this crisis would surely have a darker and harsher side, but this being Disney+, Giselle seizes on the idea of ​​moving the whole family to the suburbs, a seemingly idyllic place known as Monroeville, which had Looks good on billboards. The decision, however, leaves Robert with a lousy ride and Giselle’s teenage stepdaughter, Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), feeling out of place and surly, forced as she is to leave “the kingdom of New York” behind.

The acrimony and tension at home doesn’t sit well with Giselle, who becomes desperate enough to try and use a bit of magic that falls squarely into the “Be careful what you wish for” basket. In its most inspired flourish, the main blowback comes from Giselle’s technicality as a stepmother, a class of family member that has traditionally not done well in animated fairy tales.

The initial kick that animated perhaps unavoidable “Enchanted” seems somewhat numbered in this context, with all the singing of urban flora and fauna. When it comes to those songs, everyone’s got a great voice – including Idina Menzel, who pops up just long enough to lend her Broadway belt to what’s clearly destined to be the movie’s melody, and maybe move a few more copies of the soundtrack.

Although the songs are courtesy of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz — an Oscar-nominated combo for the original — the music this time is lively but less memorable. Likewise, the supporting cast feels alternately underused and overused, with James Marsden reprising his role as the clueless prince and Maya Rudolph portraying the local “burbs” queen bee, who can perform an energetic duet with Adams.

Directed by Adam Shankman (who helmed the musical ‘Hairspray’, in this case, the same year ‘Enchanted’ was released), the film again plays skilfully with fairy tale conventions, without reflecting much growth. , by Giselle or others, in the intervening years. If there seemed to be room to creatively advance the mythology, “Disenchanted” simply chooses to recycle it.

Admittedly, this formula has been good for Disney+, which has built much of its programming strategy around the comfortable familiarity associated with reviving past properties in series or movie form, including “The Santa Clause.” , “Hocus Pocus” and, soon, “Willow.”

“I’m never singing the right song again,” Giselle mumbles sadly at one point, before the story kicks into full gear.

To say that would certainly be an overly harsh assessment of “Disenchanted,” but it’s fair to note that compared to its rightly admired predecessor, the sequel doesn’t hit nearly as high marks.

“Disenchanted” premieres November 18 on Disney+.

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