Movie Review: Disney’s Descendants

 

In memory of Cameron Boyce.
Disney’s Descendants premiered way back in 2015 lol. I remember seeing the poster and hearing about it, but I wasn’t really watching anything from the Disney Channel because those shows, and movies don’t really interest me. BUT I love the Disney movies, like the villains and the princesses and what not so the idea of the movie following the kids of famous villains was an interesting idea. I don’t believe I caught it on television, but I ended up checking it out from the library (where I work) and watched it. This won’t be a formal movie review as there are three but more of a complete overview. All the pros and cons will be from all three movies.
Let me just say now, I love all three of the movies. As of right now, while I’m watching, the second one is my favorite one, but once I do a rewatch, I’ll see if that’s the same.
New Information: Now that I have rewatched the first two, the second one is still my favorite lol.
There are spoilers ahead so if you haven’t seen the third one yet, or any of them and want to, I wouldn’t read this review just yet. Watch the movies and then come back to me. 😀
Pros:
The Main Four. So, we have our main four villain kids or “VKs” as they’re called in the third one and these are the characters, we spend the most time with and who we grow to know and love.
  • Dove Cameron as Mal. She is the daughter of Maleficent and Hades. In the first movie, she’s probably the one with the most to prove since her mother is the “most evil” villain and she gets to interact with the daughter of the princess her mother cursed. She’s also the last one to change in the first movie of allowing their new life to have a positive effect. She still does some sneaky things to please her mother in the first one, but she manages to prove herself at the end. In the second one, she’s trying hard to please the people of Auradon now and is having a hard time figuring out who she wants to be. She runs back to the Isle because of that and is determined to remain a villain kid but her friends and her boo thang, bring her back home. She ends up pulling through at the end. The third one, she has a harder choice in that she’s about to be Queen and the people of Auradon are afraid because Uma is lurking around still, and Hades almost got through the barrier. She makes the choice to end the program that would bring over kids from the Isle. It’s a big secret she keeps throughout the film and I really liked the moment when everyone finds out and they all get emotional and stuff. She has a nice song during this moment. I like Mal, I mean, she’s cool and she’s relatable in a lot of ways. Dove Cameron does a good job at portraying all the sides of Mal we get to experience.
  • Cameron Boyce as Carlos. He is the son of Cruella de Vil and the youngest of the group in the movie and in real life. At least he comes off that way to me in the movie. When he first encounters chocolate, I’m still upset at how long they let him have melted chocolate on his face. But he matures as the movies go on, he stands up for himself a lot more and grows more confident and I love seeing him mature. It’s great. Cameron Boyce was a bright spot in the movies, and he will be missed. He was great. He was cute and sweet, and I really wish we got to see him interact with other animals to justify his comment about wanting to be a vet. That would have been a great subplot for him. *sighs* Rest in Peace Cameron.
  • Booboo Stewart as Jay. He is the son of Jafar and a little pickpocket. I wish we got to see Jay do a lot more than what we saw. He was also a very loyal friend and he showed that through his teasing of Carlos, through his looks and touches with Evie and just being there with Mal. They would exchange looks sometimes. I liked that he was the strong silent type of the group while also being a bit goofy and the jock. It worked for him. I just wish we got to see him do other things besides playing sports. I feel like there was some great subplot for his character that was missed. I’ve always liked Booboo Stewart though (I want him to play Tommy Oliver so bad) and I think he does a great job of the cool, handsome, sporty, thief and goofy personality Jay has. I just wanted more!
  • Sofia Carson as Evie. She is the daughter of Evil Queen and my favorite character. I like her personality. In the first one, she’s probably the one who acclimates to Auradon the quickest and one of my favorite lines, is in the second one, when she goes with Ben back to the Isle to find Mal and she says “don’t let me get stuck there again” and it says so much about her character. She loves her mom, but she doesn’t want to ever have to live that life again. It did seem like she was the most out of place there even though she knew how to operate on the Isle. I like her sense of style, I loved her loyalty and I think Sofia Carson has a great voice! I like how protective she is of her friends and that she’s always ready to go to bat for any of them. Plus, her chemistry with Zachary Gibson as Doug was cute and I really shipped them. I just wish we got to see her do more.
Other Characters. There are a ton of supporting characters, we get introduced to some in each movie but I’m only going to talk about the ones I really liked. But special shout out to Zachary Gibson as Doug, Jadah Marie as Celia, Anna Cathart as Dizzy Tremaine, Dianna Doan as Lonnie, Brenna D’Amico as Jane and Jedidiah Goodacre as Chad.
  • Mitchell Hope as Ben. He is the son of Queen Belle and Beast and on his way to becoming King in the first movie. It’s his idea to bring the villain kids to Auradon and it’s his personal project. He’s the boy next door type, kind and welcoming to everyone and he really tries to make the villain kids feel at home, even if he might be a little scared of them in the beginning. However, it was clear that he and Mal would have a thing because he was immediately taken with her. I liked that even though her love spell washed away when they went on their date, he didn’t treat her like a villain when he knew she spelled him. I liked that. I think he’s a good kid, and he really tries to do things that would help everyone. The only thing I don’t like is his stupid little roar to indicate he’s the Beast’s son. I think it’s stupid when nothing ever happens with it, he just does it and I’m like… boy sit down. Mitchell Hope is adorable and he’s very likable, he could tread the annoying line, but I think he does a good job at not doing that.
  • China Ann McClain as Uma. I looooved her. She was my favorite character that was introduced in the second one. She’s Ursula’s daughter and a villain who is upset with Mal for a rivalry they’ve had since they were kids. She has a plan and she manage to really succeed for the most part, until the end of course. I like her energy and sassiness and I loved her look in the second one. She’s a pirate queen and it just really works for her. China Ann McClain is great! Her giggles and smirks she gives throughout the second and third films are a mood. I like her friendship and chemistry with both Thomas Doherty (Harry) and Dylan Playfair (Gil), not to mention the rivalry she has with Dove Cameron. She really came and took over as a standout. Plus, whenever she’s on screen, I’m paying more attention and every song she’s involved in, I’m into. She’s great! I would love to have just an Uma movie, that way I can see more of her, Ursula and Harry and Gil.
  • Sarah Jeffrey as Audrey. She’s not in the second one but she is introduced as Aurora’s daughter and she and Mal have an instant dislike. Which was cool, I liked that. Throughout that first movie, she was Ben’s girlfriend and a little snooty and “perfect”. When Ben chooses Mal, when he’s under the spell, she starts dating Chad who becomes infatuated, even in the second one when she’s gone. But I liked her a lot more in the third one. She’s back from her trip and she’s upset and hurt about Ben and Mal, especially with Mal becoming Queen, that she allows her anger, loneliness and jealousy take over and she is enticed by Maleficent’ s scepter and is a villain throughout the film. Sarah Jeffrey clearly had fun playing Audrey like that.
  • Thomas Doherty as Harry Hook. He is a secondary character that is introduced in the second one and I like him too. First, he reminds me of Sebastian Stan and it’s uncanny. I need them to play brothers in a film, Seb can put on the accent. But he’s very…sensual. It’s a little weird because he’s a teenager, I guess flirty is the better, but Thomas Doherty plays Harry a little sensual, or at least that’s just his nature. I don’t know lol, but I liked him because his little laugh was great, the way he teased Mal and Jay was great with some history there that I wish we got to see and hear more about. He’s great to watch on screen and it seemed like he and Audrey might have hit it off at the end of the third one. I’m cool with that lol.
  • Dylan Playfair as Gil. His role is a lot smaller than Harry’s but he’s just as likable. He’s like an innocent puppy. He’s Gaston’s son and seems to be a little dim but with a heart of gold. He’s not that mean compared to Uma or Harry. I feel like he would thrive in Auradon, the way Evie did from the beginning. He and Jay really hit it off in the third one with their bromance, which was a nice addition since Carlos spent most of the movie worrying about Jane, so it was nice to see Jay make another friend. Gil is a puppy lol, best way to explain it and Dylan Playfair is really endearing as Gil. I would have love to see him interact with his dad.
Catchy Songs. Y’all the songs in these movies are super catchy. When I first started watching this, the only song I really remembered was “Rotten to the Core”, which is the opening song our main four VKs sing and it’s catchy. They often play parts of it throughout the movie, mostly Jay’s “rotten to core” part. It also becomes a little mantra for them through each movie which is kind of funny. Then the “Set it Off” song at the end was also catchy. Those are the only two I remember that I liked. I also remember the “Be Our Guest” rendition because it was terrible lol.
  • Descendants 2 has more songs that I can hear what they sound like and they’re great. My favorite is “Chillin Like a Villain” because I like the sequence, the lyrics, Evie’s voice is great on it and the dancing was great too. Uma’s song “What’s My Name” is also a BOP and I often find myself randomly humming it. She also does a rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” which was good. “It’s Goin Down” is a fight song and it’s also catchy, it’s almost like they wanted to do a little rap, it’s kind of funny because it’s a little cheesy but it’s a nice song.
  • Descendants 3 has a song that I think I loved the most because I literally cannot get it out of my head, and I liked the sequence in the movie. “Queen of Mean” is sooo great and Sarah Jeffrey clearly had fun performing it. The rap or “Spoken Word” part is nice but I like the singing part. “Good to be Bad” is the first song in the movie and it’s nice. “Do What You Gotta Do” is the song that Mal and Hades sing, and I enjoyed that song and the “Night Fall” which I didn’t realize was the name lol, is a great and fun sequence.
Then of course each movie has their big song at the end where everyone dances but I think I like the one in the third movie the best “Break This Down” because I really liked the choreography and it has the most meaning behind it.
Awesome Dance Choreography. I think this is coupled with the music, but I really like a lot of the choreography in all three films. They really get to shine in “Rotten to the Core” in the first one and then of course the big number at the end. Same thing goes for the second film but “Chillin Like a Villain” has some great moves, particularly the little step in the gif below. Ben (Mitchell Hope) is really trying back there lol.
original
I love that lol. In the third one, “Good to be Bad”, “Night Falls”, and “Break This Down” is dance heavy and I really like “Break This Down” dancing because they throw in some stepping and it’s so good. I mean, everyone gives it their best effort, but China Anne McClain, Cameron Boyce and Sarah Jeffrey really kill the step moves with Booboo Stewart having an honorable mention.
Interesting Stories. I think overall, the movies had interesting stories going on. I liked the first one in that they had to not only fit in with the kids at Auradon, but please their parents. I wanted to see more of that in later films, since Jafar, Cruella and EQ were still around. I feel like at least Jafar would try to get in touch with his kid because he’s crafty. In the second one, Mal had her personal issues but I enjoyed her rivalry with Uma, it was childish but a fair rivalry. I wanted them to take some of it even father further considering how it was clear there was a big issue between Uma’s group and Mal’s group. Then later, Audrey returned from her hiatus in the second one and she’s angry at everyone basically. She’s mad at Ben and Mal because Mal stole her boyfriend (which legit, she did) and Ben chose Mal in the end. So, she decides to steal the Queen of Auradon’s crown from the museum and then is enticed by Maleficent’ s scepter, not by much though, and wreaks havoc. I quite like that she was a bad guy, it made sense and it was fun to see a hero be a bad guy for a while. Plus, she has a great villain song.
Character Chemistry. One of the highest praises is the chemistry between our main four together and separately. Right away it’s clear that Mal and Evie are best friends and Jay and Carlos might be closer, but they all depend on each other. I like as the series goes on, we see these relationships get stronger and then we see some other moments like with Jay and Mal being rather close in the second one. He stays behind a little longer after the four of them have a moment and I wish we got to see more of that. I like the idea from the books that Jay and Mal were “friends” first and might have a stronger friendship because of that. Sure, Evie and Mal are best friends but I feel like Jay could have been able to reach a different side of Mal. When they did those things, I liked it a lot I just wanted them to do more of it. As for the romance relationships, I thought everyone had great chemistry where it counted. Ben and Mal are cute together, they really have nice chemistry. Evie and Doug were also super cute, and I wish we got to spend more time with their relationship. Carlos and Jane were cute, especially when Jane grows on you in the second one because she was a little meh in the first one. As for Jay, I liked the chemistry he had with Lonnie, I’m not sure what happened there but they would have been cute.
Interesting/Nice Costumes. The costumes for the characters on the Isle all have that skater/leather/put everything on look to it. Each movie costumes have evolved, and I wanted to try and share some evolutions, but it didn’t quite work out that way. But I think the outfits in the second one is my favorites. I like Mal’s lighter purple bangs and Evie’s dress she wears during ‘Chillin Like a Villain‘, it’s nice. I also really love Uma’s look, her braids, hat and everything. In the third one, I liked their “motocross” outfits, the leather jumpsuits. I liked Evie’s hair in each movie, but I think I liked it the best in the first and third one, when it’s down. I hate Carlos’ hair in the second one, the wig is bad! lol, I like his curls! I also think it was cool to see the modern takes on some of the classic Disney princess/villain attire, like Audrey’s Sleeping Beauty inspired outfit in the third one. I prefer Uma’s long braids compared to her hairstyle in the third one. I also like how each character had their color schemes. Mal=purple and green, Evie=blues and reds, Jay=yellows and browns, Carlos=whites, blacks, reds. It’s cute.
Cons:
More Carlos and Jay. I would even include Evie in some instances, Mal is clearly the lead, which is fine, but I think with her being the focus, we don’t get the chance to really spend time with the other three, especially Jay and Carlos. We do see character development but it’s so small as we didn’t know a ton about them to begin with, it’s almost like meh. At the end of the first one, Audrey runs over to dance with Jay and they kind of flirt so I thought we had that but then she was gone in the second one. But then, we got an interesting plot with Jay and Lonnie in the sequel, which I thought was going to be a thing since they have similar interests and personality, but I guess we just forgot about it in the third one. I would have liked that. Jay is a strong and silent type in many ways but he’s also a jock, he seemed “dumb” at times, but I don’t think he was stupid, just maybe not as book smart as Carlos… I don’t know, I feel like with his dad being Jafar, he’d be quite intelligent and witty, but he was just a physical dude. As for Carlos, he’s clearly the youngest and they all protect him, and it was nice seeing him grow up to be more confident, but it was almost like the extent of his growth at first was not being afraid of dogs. I mean, we do see him stand up to his mother over the video call and he chooses good along with the others at the end, but he didn’t have a clear arc other than the dog thing. At least that’s how I saw it. I guess in the end, he was quietly growing in confidence.
Emotional Support. We get this throughout the film, but I think the biggest thing is that I wish we got more of it from other people. Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos are supposed to be like the squad, best friends and sometimes, it doesn’t always come off that way because they don’t get to have a ton of moments where they can be emotional support to each other besides Mal. In the second one, Carlos points out that Evie and Mal often go off to talk and leave him and Jay out of it even though they’re a family. That was really the only time an effort was made for them all to have a moment and just talk. It still ended up being about Mal and I wish we had more chances to just catch up with the main four and have them catch up with each other. They all had their own lives, but they were still a family.
More Villain/Hero Parents. I wanted to see more parents. In the first one, we see each of our main four’s parents, which is cool because we can see what they diminished to being on the Island, but I wish we saw more of them. Of all the parents. I wanted to see more villain parents. In the third one, we get to see Dr. Facilier (he looked super cool btw), Lady Tremaine and Smee (but he has no lines), and in the second one, we saw Ursula’s tentacles and that was it. I wanted to see more of them. Gaston and Hook’s sons are there, why can’t we see them too? Or what about the parents in Auradon? We see Belle and Beast and Fairy Godmother but that’s it. I think we briefly see Snow White because she’s a news reporter and we see Sleeping Beauty’s mother but no one else. We’ve met, Chad, Cinderella’s son, Audrey, Aurora’s son, Lonnie, Mulan’s daughter. Doug, Dopey’s son and tons of other kids but no other parents. It would have been interesting to see the VKs interact with the actual victims of their parents and not just their kids. Plus, none of them besides Mal, got to interact with the kids of the parent’s victims. It would have been nice to see Jay meet and possibly befriend Aladdin and Jasmine’s kid. Evie never got to meet Snow White’s kid, but I guess she fell in love with Dopey’s kid so that’s enough… meh lol, they’re cute but I wish there was more. As for Carlos, well, hard to say how that would be handled lol but still, Anita and Roger’s kid? Missed opportunity really. We got to meet Hades who was dope, but it would have been nice to have him more involved instead of being the original keeper of the McGuffin.
The Parents. They’re not all bad but I don’t think they’re that great either. In the first movie, we see Cruella, Jafar, Maleficent and Evil Queen and honestly, it’s funny to see what happened to them, especially since the ends of their movies, three of them die and one of them ends up as a genie lol but they’re all mere shadows of themselves and it’s okay but I think it might have been better to show them a bit closer to their animated counterparts. Maleficent is played by Kristen Chenoweth and I can’t really take her seriously as the character. It’s supposed to be funny but meh. Maleficent is intimidating and she’s just not. She worked sometimes. I liked that Cruella was a little crazy lol and I really wanted to see sooo much more of her. Evil Queen is there too and she’s charming and I liked her and Maleficent had a working relationship but you’re not quite sure if they’re friends lol. Jafar owns a junk shop but I feel he was also too silly too. I get it, it’s a DCOM but I think you can still be a little silly but maintain their villainy. I also think it was a missed opportunity to not have them at least shown in the second and third movies. It didn’t have to be large parts but at least at the end, so we know they’re still around at least. Maleficent not so much since she got turned into a lizard but still. Also, the parents in Auradon aren’t that great either lol. Fairy Godmother hardly interacts with Jane, Belle is okay, but King Beast is kind of meh, he tells Ben in one of the movies “this is all your fault” like dude, that’s your teenage son, I mean jeez lol. Why didn’t Evie meet Doug’s parents? I wanted to see if Dopey was still Dopey lol. COME ON!
More Complex Adventures/Stories. So, there is a book series that coincide with the films, written by Melissa De La Cruz and I listened to the first two books (read by Sofia Carson, Evie herself) and I must read the next ones, but I quite enjoyed the adventure they go on in both of those books. They can’t do this now due to Cameron Boyce’s passing (Rest in Peace Cameron) but I think it was a missed opportunity to not have these characters have experiences that were a bit more complicated. Yes, each one dealt with Mal having to make some tough choices, but I hated that the other three didn’t really have to be involved. I mean, you take them out of the adventures and what do you lose? Nothing. They’d just be Mal’s friends like how Doug and Jane are treated at times.
  • Jay- I think if they had things like Jay having to continuously deal with violent impulses or his thievery. Chad even calls him out on being violent in the first one and we know that he’s good at stealing and we get callbacks sometimes, but I feel like it wouldn’t be that easy. He plays sports but was he just accepted because he did well? Chad was a jerk most of the time but was he the only one? It was too easy with Jay. Not to mention, he and Harry Hook clearly did not like each other but it was just some teasing, you never quite learn why they don’t like each other. Was it just because Mal and Uma didn’t like each other? Missed opportunities. What was he even doing in the third one outside of the main plot, like his side job? No idea.
  • Evie- Had her designing business and her relationship with Doug but I don’t think she ever had anything really happen. No one threatened her business, she didn’t have to deal with anyone thinking she’ll do to them what her mother did. I think it would have been nice to have issues with her business or something else that would make her frustrated with Auradon or something.
  • Carlos- Boooyyy, I wish he had more to do too. First, I was so annoyed to see how often he was holding that damn dog. I get it, but I was like ughhhh put him down! But outside of learning to love dogs, he also only is there to build his confidence with Jane as his girlfriend. He does nothing else. I don’t even know what he was doing in the third one because they all clearly graduated from high school by that time.
Overall, I really like these movies. I knew I probably would when I first heard about them. I think they’re fun, creative and unique in what they do in this world. I mean, the kids of Disney villains? That’s awesome. I like all the main characters, particularly the main four, the acting is good and clearly the actors have lots of fun. The costumes are cool, creative and I like the nods to other characters and stories. I looove the music, some of these songs really get stuck in your head and plus the dancing for most of the dance heavy songs are well choreographed. “Chillin like a Villain”, “What’s My Name” and “Queen of Mean” are my jams. I like the stories we’re shown in these films and I think it’s been great to see them unfold and grow. Now, I do think these movies don’t focus enough on some of the other main characters, particularly in Jay and Carlos who are interesting. Not to mention, it was a missed opportunity not to introduce other villain and hero parents, or even show the kids of some of our favorite heroes. I mean, not having Jay meet Aladdin and Jasmine’s kid is sad. While I like the stories, I wish they would have either gone in a different direction with some of them or considered having more mature side plots so we’re not just following Mal everywhere with all her problems. It’s just not as interesting as what some of the possibilities could have been. But otherwise fun and great trilogy!
Rating: Collectively 3.79 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Disney’s Descendants? Which is your favorite movie in the franchise?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more reviews.
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