Friday, August 4, 2017

Movie Review: Descendants 2

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Lots of fun in this sequel
Cons: Many, but the fun wins the day
The Bottom Line:
A Disney sequel
Much more entertaining film
Despite weaknesses

I’m Glad I Gave This Sequel a Chance

Two years ago, I was highly disappointed with the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants.  Even for their standards, I found it bad.  And yet something made me want to watch Descendants 2.  I just felt like I needed to get the next part of the story, I guess.  I’m glad I did because I enjoyed this movie more than the original.

If you are new to this franchise, it involves the children of the classic Disney heroes and villains.  In the original, we met Mal (Dove Cameron), Evie (Sofia Carson), Jay (Booboo Stewart), and Carlos (Cameron Boyce), the children of villains Maleficent, Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella.  They were allowed to leave the Isle of the Lost, where they had been banished with their parents, to attend school.  Along the way, Mal and the young King Ben (Mitchell Hope), son of Belle and Beast, began to date.

As this movie opens, we are days away from the Cotillion, a major event in the kingdom, during which Mal will be presented to the kingdom as a lady.  However, the pressure of living the perfect life as the girlfriend of King Ben is getting to her.  When she realizes just what this event means, she runs away back to the Isle of the Lost.

Mal’s return is good news for Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula, and Mal’s old rival.  Uma wants her revenge on Mal for getting out of the Isle in the first place.  Will Mal be happy she returned?  Or will a rescue party complicate everyone’s life?

My biggest problem with the first movie was the adults.  Not only were the adult actors way, way, way over the top in their acting, they also provided too many characters for us to truly care about anyone.  This movie fixes that problem by focusing in on Mal.  Yes, the other characters get their own sub-plots, but this is really about Mal.  As a result, we can connect better to the story and care about the outcome.

The original movie wasn’t supposed to be a musical, and songs were added when Kenny Ortega came on board as a director.  I felt those songs didn’t add much to the story.  Here, I feel like the songs were more organic.  Okay, one or two didn’t add much, but I found myself enjoying them anyway.  And that last song was a very fun dance number.  Heck, the fact that the songs were hip hop, not my normal genre choice at all, didn’t bothered me that much this time around.

Yes, some of the problems still remained.  The acting still resides in the cheesy realm most of the time, but it was in a more manageable level.  The story was fairly predictable, but I was actually having fun this time around, so I didn’t mind.

And make no mistake about it, I had fun.  There are some very comedic moments, and one sub-plot always made me laugh.

For the scope of the movie, the budget was a little low, so we can easily tell when the actors are in front of a screen.  The effects are kept to a minimum, but they mostly work.

Descendants 2 won’t appeal to everyone.  The usual Disney Channel audience should love it, however.  If you are curious, give it a try.  Heck, I’m now curious to go back and rewatch the first one to see if maybe I was too harsh when I watched it originally.

1 comment:

  1. Adam at Fairy Tale Fandom blog says he also liked this one better than the first. Maybe it IS better! :-)