Thursday 5 May 2016

Review: Descendants (2015)

Yeah, I went there. My local Disney store has had a ton of Descendants merchandise for a while now, and I wanted to find out what it was all about! It’s perfectly acceptable for a 26 year old to watch a Disney Channel movie about the children of the Disney villains, right? Right? As a 31 year old that has just watched a Disney Channel movie about the children of the Disney villains, I say hell yeah!


In the present day, the son of King Beast (Does Beast have a name?! This is going to bother me!) and Queen Belle, Ben (Mitchell Hope) is ready to take the throne. His first decree as king is to offer the chance of redemption to the children of the villains who have all been banished to the ‘Isle of the Lost’, but welcoming them places at the school in Auradon. Before simply opening the floodgates, he first invites 4 children as a trial. These children are Mal (Dove Cameron), daughter of Maleficent, Evie (Sofia Carson), daughter of the Evil Queen, Jay (Booboo Stewart), son of Jafar and Carlos (Cameron Boyce), son of Cruella De Vil.

It’s clear that this is typical Disney within the first five minutes. Loud, colourful characters, beautiful sets, and a musical number just moments into its opening. Only something is off. This first song has very clear dubstep beats to it. I’m also pretty sure Maleficent (Kristin Chenoweth) is speaking the slang that the kids of today are speaking, too. Still, it’s really difficult to not start tapping your feet to the tune of ‘Rotten to the Core’.  Loved the opening, it is still my favourite part of the whole movie, the kids all had the cocky confidence of their evil parents and I loved spotting the ways they had dressed them to match their parents.


Maleficent is happy for the children to be taken away to Auradon, but only because she’s made them promise to steal the Fairy Godmother’s wand and bring it back to her. Queue another musical number in the museum as Mal struggles between wanting to be good and obeying her mother’s orders. Wasn't so sure about this one, think I may have drifted off in the middle, it was the longest Disney song EVER! However, I do love Kristin Chenoweth, she is just made for musical theatre, I would have loved to see her in Wicked on stage.

Honestly, at face value, it’s so easy to hate this movie. It’s cheesy to the level of High School Musical, and hardcore Disney fans will watch with disgust as their favourite villains are turned into comedic characters better placed in slapstick comedy sketches. There’s even a version of Be Our Guest, which I actually struggled with as it’s one of my favourite Disney songs.  

I really liked Carlos, the son of Cruella de Vil and his irrational fear of dogs (felt quite familiar!) and his one liners really made me laugh.  I didn't like Jafar's son, Jay, I think they got their villains and heroes mixed up, they made Jay a small time thief, which is Aladdin's character not Jafar and their version of Jafar was more like the market trader at the beginning of Aladdin!  If my rant hadn't made it obvious, that REALLY annoyed me because the others were so well thought out.

At the same time though, my inner 14 year old self was bursting with excitement. Tweens will absolutely love this movie. The costumes are so well designed, down to the exact colour schemes, the songs are catchy and the girls in particular will fall head over heels for Ben. Descendants is going to be up there in my list of ultimate guilty pleasures.

The kid in me was so excited about the idea of finding out what happened to my favourite characters after the credits rolled on their movies.  I smiled all the way through and would happily watch it again.  Need to get my niece over here so I have an excuse.

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