Sunday, August 4, 2019

Movie Review: Descendants 3

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good wrap up to this franchise
Cons: Acting and singing not quite to my tastes.
The Bottom Line:
A worthy wrap up
Filled with songs, fun, good morals
That fans will enjoy

Wrapping Up the Trilogy

When the second movie in the Disney Channel original movie series Descendants ended, it was obvious they were planning a third movie.  I feel like they have wrapped things up with this movie.  If so, they did a good job of leaving our characters in a great place with Descendants 3.

If you are new to the franchise, I don’t recommend starting here or you will be lost.  Heck, it took me a while to remember who everyone was since I have only seen the first two movies once each, and that was when they originally aired.  But it wasn’t too long before I was back on board with the characters.

A crash introduction.  This movie follows the kids of the heroes and villains we know and love (or love to hate) from various Disney movies.  Our main character is Mal (Dove Cameron), daughter of Maleficent.  She was part of a trial that brought four children of villains from the Isle of the Lost, where villains and their kids live, to the Kingdom of Auradon, where heroes and their kids live.  There, she and her friends have turned their backs on their evil upbringing and built lives for themselves.

As this movie opens, things are definitely looking up for Mal.  The time has come to bring four more kids from the Isle to attend Auradon Prep.  And her boyfriend, King Ben (Mitchell Hope), son of Belle and Beast, has proposed to her.  Naturally, she said yes.

It’s the proposal that sets off problems, however.  Audrey (Sarah Jeffery), daughter of Aurora and Phillip, always believed that it was her right to marry Ben.  Seeing that taken from her once and for all, she sets out to get her revenge.  If Mal is going to stop her, she will need to find help in some very unlikely places.  Will she save the day?

While I’ve now watched all three movies, this definitely isn’t my favorite franchise.  While the cast is mostly good, the acting tends toward the cheesy side of the spectrum upon occasion.  It works for the most part, but it can be a bit distracting.

Like the earlier two movies, this is a musical with songs leaning toward the hip-hop side of the spectrum.  Again, not my favorite genre.  However, like the second movie, the songs definitely work to help tell the story, and one or two of them are catchy.  Others, I could have done without, but on the whole they were good.  The choreography that went with them was fun, although there aren’t many surprises since the film is directed by Kenny Ortega.  He definitely has a style.

There are a lot of characters and a lot of stories to wrap up here, which means that Mal’s friends don’t really get a lot of do.  Don’t misunderstand, they are definitely part of the story, but they don’t have their own sub-plots.

The story is entertaining.  Yes, you can guess plot points coming early, but it is fun waiting for the movie to get there.  At no point does the movie feel like it is dragging.

And I really enjoyed the themes of the movie about forgiveness and second chances.  This is something we need to have more of in our society today, and it is nice to be reminded of that.

I have heard nothing one way or the other about another movie, but I feel like this will be it.  We leave the characters in a great place, and I feel like their story has come to a logical ending.  If there is another one, I’ll tune in, but if we stop here, I think fans will be happy with where things wind up.

Another reason I don’t see another film coming is that unfortunately, one of the stars has died.  Last month, Cameron Boyce, who played Carlos (son of Cruella) in all three films, passed away from natural causes.  Especially since the story seems to have wrapped up here, I can’t imagine them trying to move forward with another movie without him present.  But I’m not a TV executive, so what do I know?

No, I don’t think I’ll ever have a burning need to rewatch these movies again, but I’m glad I followed the story to Descendants 3.  If you or your kids have been enjoying these films, you’ll be glad you kept watching as well.

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