I never got the love for Disney’s Enchanted because it came out when I was a bit too old to care. It came out when I was at university, so I had other things going on. I don’t think I watched it until a few years ago and it had been really overhyped at that point. I didn’t think it was bad but I’d heard so much praise for it. Yeah, it subverts the traditional Disney fairy tale tropes but it was hardly the best parody. It was fun and Amy Adams is always a joy. I just didn’t think it was so amazing. So, when the sequel was announced, I wasn’t exactly counting down the days until its release. I knew that I’d watch it but I doubted that I’d be that into it.
So, it’s a bit surprising that I’ve been listening to one of the songs from the soundtrack on repeat since watching it. Most of the songs are forgettable enough but the duet by Amy Adams and Maya Rudolph is just incredible. Disney has made some absolutely phenomenal villain songs over the years but this one just takes things further. For one thing, there are two evildoers in one song. For another, it’s an absolute bop. It got me through my day of work yesterday and will probably do the same today. Although, my feelings on the film as a whole are more complex.
Does it have the whiff of a straight to VHS sequel from years gone by? Yes. However, the scale of the whole thing is way bigger than any of the animated films from my youth. It goes above and beyond to try and recapture the spirit of the original. It doesn’t quite make it but everyone is clearly having a good time. The fact that this film doesn’t fall apart completely has a lot to do with Amy Adams’s performance. Yes, the rest of the cast do a pretty decent job as well but Adams is as engaging a leading lady as she always is. Especially when facing off against Maya Rudolph. The two actors are the best things about the film and I love them together.
In terms of narrative, the story takes us beyond the “happily ever after” and shows that fairy tales don’t really exist in real life. Giselle and Robert have settled into their married life and have extended their family. Although, life in New York isn’t everything that Giselle hoped it would be. Morgan, her stepdaughter, has become a moody teenager and her new baby is leaving her exhausted. So, the family pack up to suburban town of Monroeville. A strange series of events sees Giselle casting a spell to turn her life back into a fairytale. The only problem is, Giselle is no longer the pretty young princess to be but a stepmother. And we all know who they’re like in fairytales.
There are plenty of great moments in this that reference or parody classic Disney tropes. It’s also fun to see the characters from the real world in fairytale situations. Patrick Dempsey gets some moments of glory and several background characters have fun upgrades in the magical world. It’s an enjoyable enough film and I think the dance numbers of joyous. However, it could be better. Not only is it way too long and far too contrived. It’s also not as clever or subversive as the original. Really, I’d hate to have seen what would have happened had Amy Adams not agreed to come back. She’s the glue holding all of this together and she’s fabulous.