Friday, January 10, 2020

Descendants (2015)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Descendants (2015)
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Comedy
Length: 112 minutes
Rating:  TV-G
Production/Distribution: Disney Channel, A 5678 Production, Bad Angels Productions, Blu Shine, Disney Cinemagic, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Galapagos Films, Galapagos Films, The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Television
Director: Kenny Ortega
Writers: Josann McGibbon, Sara Parriott
Actors: Dove Cameron, Booboo Stewart, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Mitchell Hope, Melanie Paxson, Keegan Connor Tracy, Kathy Najimy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sarah Jeffery, Stephanie Bennett, Dan Payne

Blurb from IMDb:  The teenage son of the king and queen of Auradon offers the trouble-making children of villains a chance to attend prep school in the kingdom.

Cat’s Point of View:
We have always been Disney fans in my family. It was a no-brainer when Disney+ was announced that we would sign up ASAP. For this movie, however, we didn’t have to wait for the streaming platform launch to watch. My daughter had corralled us (at least me) to watch this film (and its sequels) as they aired on the Disney Channel for the first time.

That being said, I didn’t mind watching again.

I love how Descendants sprinkles little nods to the fairytale movies represented by the teen characters in the movie, or their families. I always enjoy that little ‘ooh!’ feeling each time I spot something new. These go beyond Easter eggs because they enrich and offer a foundation to the stories unfolding within the frame of the film.

I have enjoyed the take on each hero and villain’s offspring. The overall plot might be a smidge on the predictable side – because let’s face it, it’s a Disney fairytale movie – but it’s still interesting enough to keep attention on the way towards the finale.

Aside from that, the story is ultimately about redemption, second chances, and children not being bound by the sins of their parents. It’s a study of nurture vs. nature wrapped in candy coating. It’s that long sung of spoonful of sugar to let the medicinal lesson go down. Of course, there are other lessons laced within – and more to be explored with the sequels.

The music and dance numbers are fun and catchy – but that’s to be expected from director Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, Legally Mad, A Change of Heart). Some of his first IMDb credits are music videos of iconic songs from the mid-'80s. He hit the ground running and really hasn’t looked back.

The overall film isn’t too corny, and it’s phenomenally cast with beloved Disney staple actors such as Dove Cameron (Barely Lethal, Liv and Maddie, Marvel Rising: Initiation) and Cameron Boyce (Grown Ups 2, Bunk'd, Paradise City), as well as those with more mainstream recognition like Booboo Stewart (He Never Died, Bad Company, #Roxy).

This re-watching was rather poignant to me, considering the untimely death of Boyce in 2019. I have to admit I got seriously misty during his scenes.

I would have no qualms in giving this film a recommendation for anyone who enjoys the fairytale (especially Disney) genre, and those that have tween or younger children. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 67%
Metascore – 63%
Metacritic User Score –  None
IMDB Score – 6.4/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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