Descendants 3 (2019 TV Movie)
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Mr Ortega made sure the messages of "family," "acceptance," "second chances," and "celebrating our differences" came ringing through with fabulous music and dancing that was a lot of fun to watch -a lot of work for the actors too, I bet - but so worth it for the viewers.
It was great to see Ben as the Beast finally. Audrey's turn to the bad side, especially after her Grammy berated her for letting the prince slip through her fingers, was a great way to show that bad can come from either side of the barrier. Then Hades part, although smaller than expected, brought the good in from the "wrong side of the tracks" - and his pride for his little girl was evident even though Mal had always felt he had abandoned her. I was so happy to see their relationship repair bit by bit as each of their scenes progressed. Dizzy and the Smee twins didn't play big parts but this story has always been about the core 4 anyway - exactly as I wanted to see - with a pop of the newbies here and there to let us know there was a program initiate to get more VKs to Auradon as Ben dreamed to make happen. Mal's unintentional selfishness to want to lock the barrier for good to keep the core 4s lives good and Auradon safe was a great way for Evie to teach about sharing the good life with all of the villain kids.
All 3 movies in the Descendants franchise were absolutely fabulous! The last 4 years have been worth the wait and D3 topped it all off with a perfect ending. Watched D and D2 again before watching D3 4 times last night. Seriously enjoyed every bit of all 3 Descendants DCOMs and felt they flowed wonderfully!!! Previously reading the books between the movies added to that flow and were just as enjoyable. What a wonderful feel-good Disney story with strong messages about important aspects of life that children need to be taught so we can hopefully end hate someday. Our real life world could learn a lot from this trilogy and I can't wait to pass on my Descendants DVDs and soundtracks to my grandchildren one day so they can learn about acceptance in a fun and creative way.
The dedication at the start and the tribute at the end for the extraordinary young man, Cameron Boyce, were real tear jerkers but I am so glad he is getting recognition he so deserves! Hope his legacy lives on forever because he lived his life sending out the same messages that the Disney Channel stands for - family, acceptance, caring, sharing, helping, and celebrating differences. His family have a right to be so proud of Cameron and I thank them for sharing him with us for all of these years (since 2011 for me).
Regardless of what I say or others say - watch D3 yourself and make your own determination if you like it or not.
Unfortunately, the third movie feels somewhat out of place in the series. It feels very different from the other movies, and it's not always in a good way. Audrey's story arc feels unrealistic and forced. Actress Sarah Jeffrey plays a convincing enough villain, but she became so evil so quickly that it feels forced. Her redemption arc at the end feels random and unnecessary. That being said, I did enjoy The Queen of Mean storyline.
My other issue was Hades. The character was so anticipated and everyone expected him to be the next big villan. While his storyline was satisfying enough, I can't say that I wasn't disappointed. He was barely in the movie, and I found myself wanting more.
It's also worth mentioning that most of the songs just weren't as good as the songs from 1 and 2.
In conclusion, Descendants 3 was a good enough movie, and Disney Channel has one again given people something to enjoy. As much as I had fun watching, I can't see myself loving it as much as the first two.
Audrey: Although a bit better, but just like the others, she has know idea how to be a good villain. Here are the reasons 1. (1. is more a spoiler because it wasn't in the music video) Audrey hates the VKs, but only turns Mal old and doesn't do anything to the others 2.Audrey makes the knight's armors fight when she could have just turn the VKs to stone like she did later on. She also does nothing to Uma after seeing that somehow Uma makes Mal stronger
Now, moving to a new character. Hades: Leaving Greek mythology aside and looking at the Hades from Hercules, there are a lot of things that doesn't make sense regarding him. 1. In Descendant 1, the barrier came down for a few minutes. Maleficent flew out to attack Auradon. Hades, being a god and having his ember, clearly could have escaped, so why didn't he? 2. Why does he even need an ember in the first place when both in the Greek mythology and in the Hercules movie he didn't need one? 3. Why is Hades on the Isle instead of Tartarus If he was deemed so dangerous? Who even managed to imprison him and how does the Isle even able to contain him? It couldn't have been the fairy wand that made force field since a fairy's power cannot be stronger than a god's. Also, who manages the Underworld and what happens to the dead if their ruler is imprisoned? Did they capture all the Underworld gods and creatures who served Hades? If not, the world should already be in chaos.
Moving on to Mal: 1. Considering how powerful her mother's scepter was and how completely unguarded it was, after failing to get the wand, why didn't she think to get her mother's scepter in the first movie, turn everyone to stone, get the wand, and then take down the barrier? And also, why didn't no one increase the security considering how scared they were of Uma and other VKs? 2. Hades said she is Half Hades, so why is she so weak? When Hercules only had a bit of his godliness left, he could easily lift statues, vehicles,etc. Yet Mal, who is a demigod, has absolutely no power and couldn't even defeat Uma in Descendant 2. 3. (3 is more a spoiler since it wasn't in the music video) When all of Auradon was in danger and she was clearly losing, she didn't think of flying to Hades and bringing him out to easily defeat Audrey and turn everything back to normal, but when Audrey, now a villain, was about to die, she was willing to risk to bringing Hades out. Makes no sense just like her idea to close the barrier forever, considering that Hades is her dad and she trusts him enough to go to Auradon and save a villain (Audrey)
As for the ending, I get that it wanted to point out the hypocrisy, but the fact that Audrey wasn't punished at all whatsoever and that her not dying is considered a good deed done by Hades makes no sense. Cinderella's stepmom and step-sisters were imprisoned for being abusive only, and yet the one who dishonored her own mother by going complete Maleficent on them and put everyone at danger faces no punishment. This is ridiculous just as releasing all the villains. That's literally what Maleficent wanted. Were they only afraid of her and Hades or why was it ok to release imprisoned villains with their full power without taking any measures to protect themselves against said villains?
Also, considering how every time Auradon is in danger, they have to rely on the VKS, I really wonder how in the world did they imprison Hades or other powerful individuals.
Still enjoyable though.
Only Disney could create a family movie with "bad girls" in tight leather pants with a zipper in the back promoting Frederick's of Hollywood. Mal (Dove Cameron) and her fellow dreamers travel south of the border to find four more line dancers to come live in the promised land. Parents willingly let their kids go you they can live a better life. However, one of the criminals attempts to break the barrier. Mal, who will become the next Queen believes they need to build a wall to keep them out. Audrey (Sarah Jeffery) was not too happy to hear about her ex, getting married to Mal, and changes her hair and wardrobe. . . thank you again, Fredericks. With a wicked wand, she raises havoc that only kids from south of the border can solve while picking grapes (symbolic Latino give away). And BTW Dude the Dog is a girl dog.
I loved the first installment. They have maintained the characters, style, and choreography. The film has lost the fresh appeal and there are only so many times you can go to the well. This isn't Star Wars. Still, it was entertaining. I'll watch the next one as long as they still have those Dove-tailed pants.
Though the movie suffers a little from franchise fatigue, this ain't half bad.
This isn't as strong as the first two movies. (In fairness, the script is more cohesive than the first film). The individual character moments just don't have the impact and charm of the previous flicks. This probably has to do with the fact that there are just TOO many characters to juggle by now. I mean the overall story films is resolved competently, some elements and characters are just handled really quickly. If you missed Audrey, daughter of Cinderella, (played by the Charmed reboot's Sarah Jeffrey) in the second movie, you'll be pleased to see her back. But if you liked Lonnie, daughter of Mulan, (Dianne Doan) from the first two films, you'll be disappointed to see her missing. I'm guessing they just didn't have time for her.
Crammed plot aside, this is an okay film. (I mean by Disney Channel Movie standards. I'd still put this near the top of them.) Story and characters are decent. The cast is strong and everyone seems like they're having fun. (RIP Cameron Boyce). I'm legitimately impressed how this movie takes itself seriously in it's own way. There is legitimate character development and use of such issues as redemption and morality. The handling of the socioeconomics of the world of Auradon, where criminals have been banished to a prison island and their kids are forced to grow up on it, is surprisingly complex and nuanced for a Disney Channel movie. (Again, by the channel's standards. The bar must be set accordingly.) If this is to be the final film, it ends the story exactly where it needs to.
The movie continues one of this series' biggest selling points: Its look. Again, we are bombarded by some delightully uber-corful and whimsical sets and costumes. I know the costumes are a little nuts, but they are just so distinctive.
Unfortunately, the songs go downhill. They are mostly weak or just okay. They just aren't catchy. The best in this is probably the villain song Queen of Mean, but it runs completely on style, and I don't know how many people will remember this afterwards. The dancing, however, still remains pretty impressive.
Overall, if your kids liked Descendants 1 & 2, they'll probably likethis. In general, number 3, while not the standout of the films, is the ending the movies needed.
Like all good fairy tales, they eventually come to an end. This really was an interesting fantasy franchise which is why I'm a little sad at seeing it go, but when you think about it what else were they going to do, as the entire cast was getting older unless they put them in Auradon University next and seeing them deal with collage life. But that's will only happen in the realm of fanfiction, personally I'm fine with this coming to an end before rust settled in, thankful this turned out to be a good if not a great end.
The music numbers are fun as usual, two of the ones that are a good listen are Hades and Mal's number that was a lot of fun seeing both singing and dancing together. Another was seeing a solo from Sofia Carlson/Evie "One Kiss" that one was a lot of fun putting on the moves while singing, she always has good moves.
But that sequence was also funny as by its nature it's one big suspenseful delay as she is uncertain her kiss will be true love to awaken Doug, which is understandable as love can be scary sometimes as it holds the unknown aspect. Really like the look on Mal and Uma's faces while Evie is singing it's the same think we're all thinking "Just do it already!"
I like some of the new editions, like Doctor Faustus's granddaughter, she's fun as she's sort of a fortune teller but also just has this slick charisma.
Another of course is Hades, despite not in the film that long he was a lot of fun. I really like the look of him, which is the Billy Idol look, which is cool as I like Billy Idol. Really like his cool but also slightly devious dynamic. It was interesting though I wouldn't say surprising as I actually saw it a mile away and probably right now it's no big secret anymore, on Hades being Mal's father which makes sense as both of them have the same fashion sense, are mischavious, let alone weld fire; so I guess you can say Mal is the princess/daughter of the underworld so that's cool.
Really like how both Mal and him play off of each other as it's a bit of a strained dynamic but also you see hints that deep done some of that is an act as both really do want some sort of connection with one another which makes it a bit sad because you realize how much time both have lost with each other. From a little more of what we discover about Hades you can't help but wonder if he would have been a better parent for Mal than Maleficent.
But most importantly really like seeing all the characters again well except for Lonnie whom is sadly absent which is one weak point I'll get to latter. Each of them is themselves and I like that we see they all have some good scenes and even more well rounded but also shows how much further they've came.
From Carlos played well Cameron Boyce whom is sadly no longer with us, this was literally the last film from him which sucks, same can be said about a lot of other actors that were gone too soon; but here he finished well.
The highlight was seeing both Carlos and Jane interacting with each other which was sweet, I like the mature sensibility about it as we see both have been in a relationship for a while, from that Cake he and rest were going to deliver to her Birthday party, which becomes a running joke as that Cake just keeps getting smaller. But we see the gift Carlos gives her which really signified the sweetness but is also funny as it sounds almost like a name for a candy.
Really like Jane in this film also, despite also not being in the film that much you really do get a sense of depth with her as we see from that Birthday party, she's became more social and outgoing has more friends in her life. But also, her wits are sharp as we see her jump into the enchanted water to counter Audrey's spell.
Mal and Ben are good as usual and it was interesting seeing how their relationship is taking the next step as we see Ben proposing. Some would argue their both still too young even though both actors are in their twenties. Both have good chemistry even though once again not a lot of scenes with the two together. Really liked seeing Ben in Beast mode, which was something I've been wanting to happen for a long while.
I really liked seeing both Uma and Mal gang work together to save Auradon from Audrey. Really like how we see slowly but surely both factions are slowly but surely putting their differences aside, form a bond, but see the good nature in Uma and her group. Like with Gill whom despite not the brightest bulb he has this innocence to him, like how he really enjoys the small things in Auradon like eating berries which further addresses the poverty issue on the Isle, and shows how we should be grateful for what we have and take for granted.
But also seeing how he has some big dreams, mainly to sail on a ship and see the world. As well as seeing both Mal and Uma combining their magic in a situation or two which shows it's truly better to make friends than enemies.
Of course, we have the main villain whom has been kept a mystery for a while even the trailers didn't reveal anything on the villain which is a good thing and something I feel movies trailers need to do more of again. The main villain is of course Audrey, which really was no surprise to me, I had a feeling after what transpired from the first film this was a long time coming.
It's true her character isn't sympathetic or at least I didn't feel sympathy for her but that's that point, as we see she hasn't changed one bit as she's just as self-absorbed, vain, and prejudicial as before. Even a bit of a hypocrite and Primadonna when she yaks about certain things like, why she wasn't invited to Jane's party; well for one thing your not her friend and two you a jerk, wonder if that ever occurred in Audrey's mind why she's not well liked. We see that she soon is pushed to the edge and that attitude she holds is amplified from Maleficent's wand she jacks, and we of course see her do some pretty bad things.
Now here are somethings about this sequel that really hold it back for me, which makes this my least favorite volume of the bunch. It really sucked that Lonnie wasn't in this film as she is one of my favorite characters in the franchise, but due to the fact they couldn't' get the actress, it couldn't be helped.
As I said the bromance Jay has in the film with Gill and Harry isn't bad, but it's just not the same, like a lot of fans I really wanted to see more back and forth between Lonnie and him which would've given depth as to how far things have gone between them, so, this I felt was one big lost opportunity.
Another problem is Audrey herself, don't get me wrong she's not a bad villainess but a little weak because most of the time she's just fraking around instead of getting down to business. Which I always found so stupid, it's sort of like that tired cliché that seriously needs to die where the good or bad guys sometimes have their opponent right where he or she wants them and does nothing; seriously the more they delay the more they practically hand out another opportunity to they opponent.
Or even go a little further with her character like steel some more objects in the museum which she had the grand opportunity to, like Mal's spell book or better yet a Necronomicon which would have heighted Mal and Uma's challenge. But also I feel Audrey character needed to be rounded out a little more she does come off a little two dimensional, we do get a little depth on her troubled mindset but not enough or maybe even show a little internal conflict to what she's doing, but is so wrapped up in her own greed and vanity she is slowly losing her humanity.
The film isn't really that exciting which is a weird thing to say but it's true, because in the middle nothing really happens. Well ok, things to happen but it just feels a little too few far between. There should have been more sticky situations to intensify things more and the action in the film is a bit lame, it's not bad but they could have been a lot better.
Like having a better final battle much like "Avengers: Endgame" and "A Better Tomorrow 2" where it all comes to a big payoff where we would see both Uma and Mal friends against some sort of demon or skeleton army Audrey summons up and we would see everyone fight. It would be a fitting send off as we see everyone is doing their part.
Like Jane and Carlos use some sort of combative technology, Evie use some spells and a sword and Doug with her also using a sword, Ben transforming into his beast form and ripping the evil army to shreds. And in the final minutes of the battle still have Mal in dragon mode but then have Audrey turn into a pink dragon and there would be an aerial battle between them. I know sounds extreme but why not, it is the final movie so have some fun while you can, but also shows why Mal and Uma and their friends are truly forces for good.
But the real problem I have is there is a serious balancing issue as most of the characters mainly all the supporting characters really didn't have much of a hand in things, let alone in the film that much, which amounts to more lost opportunities.
Overall, despite being a mixed bag entry I did like the film, but as someone that really liked both the first and second film, I think it could've been better. Now it's time for me to get real, farewell Descendants cast members Dove, Sofia, China, and all the rest of you, you really did make this fantasy world and it was an interesting journey with you guys but like all fairy tales sooner or latter they must come to an end, which is why I'll miss you guys, so farewell.
Rating: 3 stars