Giselle (Amy Adams) is a firm believer in happy endings. After all, she got hers with Robert (Patrick Dempsey) a decade ago. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s part of the magical kingdom of Andalasia, a place where every fairy tale comes true. But even for the character’s innocent and kind heart, ordinary suburban life can be an almost insurmountable challenge. At least one that can lead to the worst of disasters in Disenchanted: Giselle Returnswhich can be seen on Disney+ starting November 24.
This simple premise underpins the belated sequel to Nice to meet you, the 2007 hit directed by Kevin Lima. In fact, the film bases a good part of his story on the inevitable and cynical question that the original revealed. What happens after the princesses receive the love kiss from the prince? When do they wake up from the enchanted dream? Do they revive in the arms of the hero on duty? Disenchanted: Giselle Returns he is self-aware enough to understand that his effectiveness lies in satire. So the story begins at the same point it ended. A story about the impossible, the power of love and the triumph of good over evil.
For Adam Shankman’s film, the answers to the above questions are straightforward. The loving couple lived moderately happily, in a New York apartment, with a teenage daughter and another newborn, until everyday life shook them. Giselle, now a middle-aged housewife, deals with a teenager, her months-old baby daughter, and the drift of routine. Little by little, what seems to be the end of an extraordinary story turns into an almost ironic look at the ordinary. After all, the great love of the princesses in the fairy tales it is crystallized in the ideal. In the beauty of the untouched.
Disenchanted: Giselle Returns
The film relies on its self-awareness to function without being entirely a vehicle for nostalgia. Slowly, the plot tries to portray the passage of time as a discordant note in the perfection that Giselle imagines for herself. Especially when her stepdaughter starts turning into a teenager. The girl, who was Giselle’s first contact with the real world, is perhaps the first fracture in her dream of love. For the film, it is a little trap about romantic ideals and their fragility. Over and over again, the story insists that the princess, who left an idyllic world for love, is overwhelmed.
But Giselle is on the other side of that small border. In New York, she leads a peaceful married life and struggles with the feeling that something is out of her reach. “I thought happiness would be easier,” she says with curious satirical humor as she tries to face the challenges of normalcy. Despite the fact that she is still visited by birds to sing at her window and everything that happens around her seems capable of becoming a song.
Disney, which knows the formula that made several of its emblematic films classics, again makes fun of them in Disenchanted: Giselle Returns. But with Giselle he incorporates the idea of the unrealizable. This princess, who got the dream of love, who managed to defeat the evil queen and who kisses her lover every morning, she is not satisfied. At times, he even seems unhappy.
Once upon a time there was a fairy tale that could end very badly
Disenchanted: Giselle Returns it depends on its self-awareness to function without being entirely a vehicle for nostalgia. Slowly, the plot tries to portray the passage of time as a discordant note in the perfection that Giselle imagines for herself. Especially when her beloved stepdaughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) begins to turn into a teenager. The girl, who was Giselle’s first contact with the real world, is perhaps the first fracture in his dream of love.
For Disenchanted: Giselle Returns, it is a small trap about romantic ideals and their fragility. “Sometimes I forget that time here passes quickly,” says Giselle despondently. Over and over again, the story insists that the princess, who left an idyllic world for love, is overwhelmed. Either because of the idea that life, as she knows it, is about to be transformed or just because of the thought of the ordinary.
After all, fairy tales remain the same over time. An idea that the script by Rita Hsiao, Jessie Nelson and Adam Shankman explores from the perspective of the fracture in everlasting love. And again, the plot shows how Giselle’s happy life becomes somewhat opaque, as if the glow of magic was slowly fading. The character — which Amy Adams reprises with forced, unconvincing enthusiasm — seems bewildered and confused. Her until she makes a decision. “The best thing is to find our own fairy tale,” she insists, and finally the family ends up leaving New York.
But in the town of Monroeville — whose welcome billboard promises that “fairy tales come true” — the family’s situation does not improve. With a dream house falling apart and Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph) turned into a malicious enemy, Giselle finds herself in the eye of the storm. Disenchanted: Giselle Returns insists on the idea that perhaps everyday life is too hard for this princess who went beyond “and they ate partridges”.
Finally, the inevitable happens. Morgan ends up rebelling, distraught, dazed, and in the midst of changes she doesn’t understand either. “You’re not my mother!” she yells at Giselle. And that’s when the idyllic story seems to break completely. Disenchanted: Giselle Returns attempts to create a rare deconstruction of its original premise. Also, using Giselle and Morgan as parts of the same perception of change.
The first years of the teenager’s youth are the indication that another story has just begun. For Giselle, small changes are painful. The script plays with the idea that fairy tales can only captivate if they remain intact. So Giselle’s and her family is about to end.
The return to the origins of Disenchanted: Giselle Returns
What ends up happening when a wish brings magic back to the life of the devastated princess. For your second leg, Disenchanted: Giselle Returns he recognizes the place he comes from and walks a path contrary to that of his original story. If in the 2007 narration Giselle fled Andalasia, his more adult version just wants to return to the idyllic country where everything is possible. It achieves this with a predictable and bland plot twist that is perhaps the weakest point in a messy plot.
The path becomes predictable: Giselle lives her fairy tale again. The one who dreamed and longed for as a woman in the real world. Animals can talk, magic is everywhere, and Morgan recaptured his fragile naiveté. However, everything comes at a price, especially when Andalasia’s power becomes uncontrollable. Malvina becomes the monarch of a small and claustrophobic kingdom and Giselle, her worst nightmare. In the great idyllic stories, no stepmother has a good heart, so the promise of happiness turns into a nightmare.
For your second leg, Disenchanted: Giselle Returns reaches its best moments. Giselle transforms into a villain so charismatic as to surprise. Robert as a hero who must fight against giants and Morgan as a princess capable of saving Andalasia from destruction. But the plot wastes what could be a great parody of absolute good and inevitable evil in favor of predictable jokes. Little by little, the film loses charm and personality in favor of its need to narrate — again — its original story.
And everyone was happy, at least for a while.
Disenchanted: Giselle Returns it has all the elements to delve into the witty universe of the 2007 hit, but it’s really just an unnecessary addition. Not for lack of effort on the part of its cast, but for the script’s need to generalize and not dare to delve into its most ingenious ideas.
For his ending sequences, Disenchanted: Giselle Returns it’s a strange combination between a weak parody and a dull joke. Perhaps the worst that can be said of a film that was born precisely to make fun of the great love stories in fairy tales.