Review: Disney’s Descendants

On September 25th, Disney Channel premiered its newest original movie The Descendants in the UK. It had been hyped for over a month with trailers in every other ad break between Liv and Maddie, Austin and Ally, Girl meets World and all the other popular shows. It was the most anticipated film since Teen Beach 2 and was created by the same people behind the High School Musical trilogy. In terms of other advertising, co-stars Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson appeared on the Matt Edmondson show on BBC Radio 1 and came across really well. The lure of the film was evident as my 6 year old son was happy to just sit and listen to the interview. The toys started to be advertised through the usual outlets as well as a special “The Descendants” magazine made available in stores.

On September 25th, Disney Channel premiered its newest original movie The Descendants in the UK. It had been hyped for over a month with trailers in every other ad break between Liv and Maddie, Austin and Ally, Girl meets World and all the other popular shows. It was the most anticipated film since Teen Beach 2 and was created by the same people behind the High School Musical trilogy. In terms of other advertising, co-stars Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson appeared on the Matt Edmondson show on BBC Radio 1 and came across really well. The lure of the film was evident as my 6 year old son was happy to just sit and listen to the interview. The toys started to be advertised through the usual outlets as well as a special “The Descendants” magazine made available in stores.

The plot of the film is the kids of classic Disney villains (that have been banished to a secluded island) are welcomed to Auradon prep school by soon to be King Ben (son of Beast from Beauty and the Beast). The children first invited are Carlos (son of Cruella Deville), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White), Jay (son of Jafar) and Mal (daughter of Maleficent).

Mal is sent with a mission from her mother to steal the fairy godmothers magic wand. Whether or not their devious plans come to fruition I will let you wait and see.

The Cast

Mal (Dove Cameron) – Given the title role of the film, the star of Liv and Maddie and Cloud 9 gave a solid performance which allowed us to see a different side to her. Seeing that evil, edgier side demonstrates her versatility as an actress compared to the dual role she plays in Liv and Maddie. The film also offered another chance to hear Miss Cameron sing. “If only” is a wonderfully composed song that she sings solo midway through the film.

Having an already big star fill the key role brought legions of fans into it and I believe her casting is a big reason why this film is popular.

Carlos (Cameron Boyce) – A big push for one of the stars of hit TV show Jessie. What is really evident in his performance in Descendants is just how good a dancer he is. You see snippets in Jessie of his talent but here you real get a feel just how hard he must have worked to get to this standard. The release of this movie is also well timed for Cameron in the UK as his new show “Gamers Guide to pretty much anything” has just started airing, allowing his ever growing fan base to continue to see new material from him.

What people do not realise is just how busy the young man is. Having featured in many films (such as Grown-ups) and guest starred in many other shows (Liv + Maddie, Austin + Ally etc.) he also voiced Jake in Disney Junior show “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”.

Jay (Booboo Stewart) – This was a chance for Booboo Stewart to become known to a different audience. Having been best known for roles in “Beowulf” and “The Twilight Saga – Eclipse”, Stewart puts in a brilliant performance as Jay. He is more the muscle of the bad kids and his athleticism is well portrayed throughout. I feel you can see his character in particular go on a real journey on this film and that is credit to his acting ability.

Evie (Sofia Carson) – Arguably the least well known of the main cast character, Sofia puts in a brilliant performance as Evie. The main aim of her character is to break the stereotype that “pretty girls must appear less intelligent”. What the inner plot of her story also develops is that girls can be happy with a boy who is not necessarily the most athletic or best looking. This is highlighted as her relationship with Doug (son of Dopey) develops throughout. This was her first mainstream roll after a guest appearance on Disney show Austin and Ally and then a role on MTV show Faking it.

Also a singer/songwriter I would expect to see her appear more and more in the coming years in other Disney shows/movies.

The film

Although the plot is kind of obvious, the story itself is really good and brilliantly portrayed by the cast. What is different from its predecessors (Teen Beach and High School Musical) is the option to do what Disney do best – special effects.

The fairy tale and magic elements again are excellent and you can see why the movie was hyped up and seems popular.

The songs and dance routines are good and there is very little you can criticise about the film as a whole.

Review

The film did what it set out to do. It developed the old classics to a new generation while giving a push to some established Disney actors and introducing some new faces.

It offered everything you would expect a Disney movie too – well-structured plot, magic, comedy, romance etc.

I would fully expect a sequel to be made and I think there is massive potential in it.

The best thing I can say is my son has sat engrossed in it three times and still is not bored. That is the highest praise I can give for The Descendants.

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