Have you ever wondered what happened after the ending in all those Disney animated movies? Well, on July 31, Descendants premiered on Disney Channel and answered all those questions.
Official summary is as follows:
Meet the next generation of villains in Disney’s Descendants!
Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, home of the most infamous villains, the kids of Maleficent (Kristen Chenoweth), the Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella De Vil, have never ventured off the island…until now. Sent to idyllic Auradon to attend prep school alongside the children of beloved Disney heroes, these villainous kids must execute a plan that helps their evil parents achieve “world domination” once again! Will Maleficent’s daughter (Dove Cameron) and the other rebel teens follow in their rotten parent’s footsteps or will they choose to embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom? Co-starring Booboo Stewart, Cameron Boyce, and introducing newcomer Sofia Carson, this wickedly cool comedy adventure is awesome to the core!
Now, for the unofficial summary. 20 years have passed since Belle and the Beast got married and banished all the villains to the Isle of the Lost. Their 16 year old son, Ben, will soon be crowned king and he has made his first official proclamation, that the children of villains will be given a chance to live and go to school in Auradon. The kids he’s picked out? Maleficent’s daughter, Mal (Dove Cameron), the Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie (Sofia Carson), Jafar’s son, Jay (Booboo Stewart) and Cruella De Vil’s son, Carlos (Cameron Boyce). Before the foursome leave, however, they’re given a task by Maleficent to find, get, and bring back the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand (think Cinderella). Will the villain kids be able to pull their parent’s plan off? Or will the goodness all around them seep in to their rotten core?
Now, aside from the question of ‘How exactly did these characters have these kids?’, this movie is well done. The storyline is well written and fairly easy to follow. I like how the kids’ outfits are themed to their parents. One example would be Carlos’ main colors of white, black, and red. You may remember from 101 Dalmatians that Cruella De Vil wore a black dress with a big white fur coat, red heels, and gloves. Another thing I find interesting is how the children of heroes interact with the children of their respective villains. For example, Evie and Doug, the son of Dopey, one of the seven dwarves from Snow White. I’ve seen Dove Cameron in her role as Liv/Maddie in the show Liv and Maddie, and Cameron Boyce in Jessie as Luke Ross. Both of them brought their great acting to these characters. I’ve never heard of Booboo Stewart or Sofia Carson before now, but they definitely know how to channel their characters.
I would be lying if I said that the music wasn’t catchy. “Rotten to the Core,” the first big musical number, is probably one of the catchiest songs out there. Showing the villain kids on the Isle of the Lost before they get the news about their leaving for Auradon, they go around disrupting the day-to-day work. Please go and watch the music video, which can be found here. You can thank me later. Another favorite is “Evil Like Me,” a song where Maleficent talks (sings) to Mal about being evil. It’s ridiculously hilarious and I applaud Dove Cameron for keeping her character and not bursting out laughing. The dance numbers are just as well done as the music is catchy. Of course, they were directed by Kenny Ortega, the same guy who did the High School Musical trilogy, so it’s practically a given.
As far as humor goes, this movie has it’s own brand. I half think that the villains have gone crazy, what with being stuck on one island for 20 years. A little thing I find funny is when Maleficent goes to give Mal the former’s spell book. Maleficent says it’s in “the safe,” which happens to be one of those old fridges from the 60s. Of course, she has trouble opening the door and the Evil Queen has to do it for Maleficent. That’s just one example. How about some quotes for more examples?
Evie (gets her mother’s magic mirror, which has shrunken to the size of a hand-held mirror): “This is your magic mirror?”
Evil Queen: “Well, it ain’t what it used to be. Then again, neither are we. It will help you find things.”
Evie: “Like a prince.”
Evil Queen: “Like my waistline.”
Maleficent: “Like the magic wand!”
Maleficent (to Mal): “See, I’m just trying to teach you the thing that really counts: ‘How to Be Me’.”
Maleficent (explaining the plan to Mal): “And with that wand, and my scepter, I will be able to bend both good and evil to my will!!!”
Evil Queen: “Our will?”
Maleficent (begrudgingly): “Our will, our will.”
Maleficent (in response to Mal’s unwillingness to go to Auradon): “And if you refuse, you’re grounded for the rest of your life, missy. (wink)”
(as Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos head towards Auradon)
Jafar: “Bring home the gold!”
Cruella De Vil: “Bring home a puppy!”
Evil Queen: “Bring home a prince!”
Carlos (after being chased by a puppy and climbing up a tree): “This thing is a killer! He’s gonna chase me down and rip out my throat! This is a vicious, rabid pack animal!”
Ben: “Who told you that?”
Carlos: “My mother.”
Carlos: “She’s a dog expert.”
Aside from the humor, this story has some very good morals. Jay, whose family mantra is “There’s no team in I”, discovers the importance of friends/teammates that are there to back you up. Evie, who looks to gain a prince at her mother’s insistence and plays dumb to do so, discovers that you don’t need to change yourself to please others and should use and expand your talents. All four of them discover that, sometimes, the world is completely different from what you expect. There’s just one part that I’m not quite sure about. On the kids’ first night at their new school, they meet in Jay and Carlos’ room to figure out how they are going to get the Fairy Godmother’s wand. Mal sees Jay with a pile of various items and she asks him where he got all that stuff. Jay responds with this:
“It’s called stealing. It’s like buying whatever I want, except it’s free.”
I’m not entirely sure how this will go over, so you might want to have a tiny bit of caution. Other than that one thing, I can’t find anything else.
Back to the DVD! Inside, besides the movie, you’ll find backstage dance rehearsals (with Kenny Ortega), bloopers, and a little something called #Mal, which the back of the DVD describes as a “sneak peek at Mal’s story as seen through social media.” It is pretty interesting. Also coming with the movie is a bracelet with four symbols on it. These symbols stand for the villains and, by definition, their children. A small warning, the bracelet is fastened by a clasp, like what you might find on a necklace. I couldn’t put it on by myself, and Mom had to put it on me.
In summary, I approve of this movie. The dancing and singing is top notch. The humor is fitting and well-placed. All the characters are well acted. I’m hesitant to rank it above Teen Beach 2, but it’s certainly one of my favorites. And don’t forget to head towards Disney Channel on August 23 for the continuing story! Have you seen Descendants? If so, what is your favorite part? Have I missed your favorite hilarious moment? Who is your favorite character?