Disney did it again. In the new Disney Channel original movie Descendants there are some wild songs, hard hitting dance moves (thanks to famed choreographer and director Kenny Ortega), and of course, love.
King Beast and Queen Belle marry, unite the Disney kingdoms into the United States of Auradon, and are elected the leaders of the new idyllic kingdom. All the villains, sidekicks, and accomplices are forced after their defeat to live imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, a forbidden island surrounded by a barrier that also inhibits magic.
In present day Auradon, Prince Ben (Mitchell Hope), the teenage son of King Beast and Queen Belle, is about to ascend the throne. His first official proclamation offers a chance at redemption to selected trouble-making offspring of villains from the Isle of the Lost: Carlos (Cameron Boyce), son of Cruella De Vil; Jay (Booboo Stewart), son of Jafar; Evie (Sofia Carson), daughter of the Evil Queen; and Mal (Dove Cameron), daughter of Maleficent. These villainous descendants are allowed into Auradon to attend a prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes.
The movie starts with a catchy number called Rotten to the Core (which you will find humming to yourself subconsciously). The kids of the villains are assumed naughty and evil, an idea perpetuated by the reputation of their parents. But nobody in Auradon bothers to find out if this is fact or not, it’s just assumed that because of their pedigree they are not worthy of going to prep school (or any school for that matter), as residents of the Isle of the Lost they are simply forgotten. Forgotten until Prince Ben decides to integrate the two sects because he sees that they deserve a chance. They are not necessarily a carbon copy of their evil parents.
The residents of Auradon are not only intolerant of the outcasts, they are downright afraid of them. It takes the open mind of one person to convince the kingdom that they aren’t wicked. Sprinkle in some tricky magic, an updated version of Be Our Guest (from Beauty and the Beast), the porcelain doll looks of Dove Cameron, a slightly gritty heart-breaker Evie (Sofia Carson), some funny quirks from other cast members – like Cameron Boyce as Carlos, the sson of Cruella De Ville being deathly afraid of dogs, and you have a winner for girls and boys everywhere. There’s enough familiarity and new introductions to keep it interesting for adults.
The most interesting thing about Descendants is the overall theme of acceptance and tolerance, something we as a society can definitely learn from. While it can be viewed as a typical “fish out of water” scenario, the idea of using a concept and relate it to our new generation of kids is no doubt paving the way for more acceptance and anti-bullying stories under the guise of song and dance. How refreshing.
The DVD extras tackle a ton of behind-the-scenes fun, including dance practices and song rehearsals. You get an intimate back-stage pass to what it’s like to be a part of the planning and rehearsing that goes into a production as big as Descendants. Plus a blooper reel featuring Kristin Chenoweth and Kathy Najimy as Maleficent and The Evil Queen that will leave you in stitches.
You can find Disney’s Descendants on Amazon today! Or watch it July 31st on Disney Channel!