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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Disenchanted (2022)

Let's be serious for a minute here. You're either going to be enraptured or horrified with Amy Adams' second showing as Giselle. The songs aren't as good, though Adams is unbeatable in the main role, the magic just isn't as magical and the cgi hasn't kept pace with the rest of Hollywood, it would seem, going by some of the wildlife to which Giselle (again) regularly consorts with.

It was with some great relief that James Marsden was also back. Adams may have found her breakout role in the original Enchanted, which I unashamedly loved, but it was Marsden's Prince Edward that I was really looking forward to seeing again.


Giselle's new life in New York City is not what she imagined it would be, far from the promised and much hyped Happy Ever After, so moves the troop to Monroeville, based purely on a pretty billboard picture spied from their apartment window on 5th Avenue. Husband Robert (Patrick Dempsey, still), Morgan and new baby Sofia all up sticks on an uninformed whim. Little objection is raised by any of them, which is odd, seeing as Giselle doesn't really appear to have any real form on picking the best place to live so far.


But move they still do, guided by nothing more than what is Giselle's force of nature. Happy Ever After is still her goal, she just seems to be having increasing issues in getting her hands on it. In order to achieve her magical life, she uses baby Sofia's gift of a Wishing Wand to turn the humdrum and inconvenient into their magical fairy-tale existence.

You can be sure, of course, that this decision does not come without consequence. This is Disney, remember. There's always a message.


Now say what you will about the message being touted, but this would have become a very different story and experience for everyone, including us, if Giselle hadn't found some way to bring back the magic of the original. The colour, the costumes, the dancing, the music, the just sheer bloody wonderfulness of it all. Let's quietly put aside the fact that Disney are basically telling every girl that they deserve the perfect life and should go to whatever lengths to get it. Like I say, just leave that there, simmering quietly.


For every Disney princess there needs to be a suitable nemesis and here this comes in the form of the Queen Malvina (Maya Rudolph) who never manages to come across as wicked as some of her animated predecessors. Add to this Giselle's occasional funny turns into 'wicked stepmother' mode and you have something of a conundrum of direction.


Essentially, this just isn't very good. It's fine, but never once did I get lost in the songs or the alleged magic. It's messy and directed like a first time conductor trying to manage an uppity orchestra. Marsden was the best thing about the original, aside from discovering Adams, of course, and he doesn't feature enough here.


As a musical-lover, I can't imagine that anyone I know could, hand on heart, tell me that the songs and their performances are in the same league. I don't know what happened to Menken and Schwarz here, but this is light years from the wonder of That's How You Know, True Love's Kiss and Happy Working Song.


Disappointingly, this is uninspiring fare all round, despite Adams' best effort to turn back the clock fifteen years. Disney seemed to know it too, given that they sent this straight to Disney+, rather than giving it a theatrical release, which speaks volumes.


Ultimately, we didn't need it and with the benefit of hindsight, we can safely say they shouldn't have bothered. It's okay, but really, this has lost its sparkle.



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