Descendants just premiered on Disney Channel. No, not the George Clooney film where Shailene Woodley cries underwater, then gets snubbed for an Oscar nomination (still bitter about that one..). The highly marketed and marketable DCOM that follows the lives of some of the most famous Disney villains’ children as they head off to boarding school with the princesses and heroes we have come to admire. Alex gave you a formal review, I reviewed the album, but here, I just want to break down the movie, highlighting some parts that may get overlooked by others.
- Costumes throughout the film were insane in the membrane (INSANE IN THE BRAIN). The Isle of the Lost’s costumes had a dark and gritty feel, incorporating multiple leather scraps and fabric materials into each outfit, while Auradon used light materials and pastels highlight their goodness. It was a Disneybounders dream throughout, but also really took each character’s lineage and threw them for a loop. Cruella’s son Carlos and Mulan’s daughter Lonnie had the best ensembles in the film.
- I know I reviewed “Rotten to the Core” viciously, but in the opening scene itself, it fit. I still wouldn’t give it anything higher than a C- (that weird talk singing made me feel weird), but still, it was better than I expected. Same goes for the finale number, as “Set It Off” was making me move more watching the scene than just listening to the album cold.
- The first 6 minutes were released last week, and I remember watching the opening scene going “All my hopes are crushed. This is awful.” However, everything after that was fantastic. The quips from the villains were crazy good (“Bitter, party of one!”), the musical numbers were as good as Kenny Ortega’s best HSM work, and the acting was some of the best in recent memory for Disney Channel films.
- Let’s take a second and discuss three actresses in particular:
- Kristin Chenoweth – This is her movie, and she was just nice enough to let others join her. “Evil Like Me” evokes old school theater, her humor throughout is at an all-time high, and she milks it in the best way. I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes out with a “Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie” Emmy nod next year. She is hilarious and amazing. Kristin Chenoweth for more Disney villain roles, please!
- Melanie Paxson – Aka the person in every commercial ever, or the person from my favorite commercial ever, plays the Fairy Godmother in this and SHINES. Wow, she is perky, sweet, hilarious, and a wonderful casting choice all around.
- Sofia Carson – She came out of nowhere, brought out all the emotions, and stole many a scene. Her timing was wonderful, her range of faces was great, and her inner struggles were really noticed during the movie. I’m very excited for her upcoming DCOM Further Adventures in Babysitting.
- Dove Cameron is the star of the movie, and she really does a stellar job. Liv & Maddie isn’t my cup of tea, but this will be her star making turn. “If Only,” her solo song, gives me the inkling that we have found a new “Let It Go”. You go, Dove!
- Tourney is the sport they play in the film, which is like if lacrosse (what a prep school stereotype) and football had a baby. I could see it becoming a “thing” like quidditch if this film does well.
- After the movie, they announced a series of animated shorts called "Descendants: Wicked World" starring the characters to premiere in September. What an odd way to go, but synergy is synergy! Also, the bonus tracks from the soundtrack will be featured in the shorts, apparently. Who knew?!
- The security precautions for the museum were nuts on so many levels, but that’s not even the biggest problem I have with it. Did Maleficent, like, teleport into her wax figure’s body for that musical number? Or was Mal just standing there looking at it, imagining that entire 3 minute and 45 second musical number? Should counseling now be involved?
- Lonnie’s hair after Mal’s spell? GORGEOUS.
- The ending was so blatant at the sequel possibilities, so while I'm here, I'd like to offer up myself as Hades' son. Other than the shameless plea, we need Yzma, Merida and Tiana to have kids in Auradon or the Isle of the Lost too.
- I love this movie.
So, I quickly became obsessed with this fun and inventive DCOM. Every scene gave me at least one solid laugh and I never got bored. We all know a sequel is on its way, and I say BRING IT ON! The movie is now available to view on the WatchDisneyChannel app, and I highly recommend it!