When Disney first announced their plans for Descendants, it wasn’t too hard to get excited about the project. It seemed like it could be something like a teen/tween/musical version of the ABC hit Once Upon a Time. We had high hopes for the film, and with Emmy Award-winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega (Disney Channel credits include Hocus Pocus, Newsies, High School Musical trilogy) at the helm, Disney definitely delivered once again. So much so in fact, that it looks like Descendants is going to be the next franchise in an impressive lineup of DCOM musicals.
It’s obvious that Disney really knows how to create musical franchises. You can use the afformentioned High School Musicals, or even the more recent Teen Beach 2, as examples. They are full of great music, excellent choreography and memorable. They are all simply fun. Descendants is much the same. The movie begins with a great musical number that gets things going in the right direction from the start. Disney Channel fans will immediately recognize Cameron Boyce as Carlos (son of Cruella) and Dove Cameron as Mal (daughter of Maleficent). Rising stars Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart join the pair as villains, Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen) and Jay (son of Jafar). While I’m only mentioning the young villains, the entire cast does an excellent job. The four kids are forced to attend Auradon Prep, a school where they are surrounded by offspring of iconic Disney heroes like the Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan. I’m not going to spoil the film by giving away the story details. I will say that it’s a bit predictable, but it’s enjoyable.
The Descendants DVD includes a Free Bracelet and the following bonus features:
- #Mal (4:30): This is sort of like the emojii retelling of Frozen. It’s basically Mal’s story but using fake social media conversations. I had kind of a hard time following it.
- Backstage Dance Rehearsals (7:31): Just like you would expect by the name. Director Kenny Ortega and his co-choreographer Paul Becker are hard at work with the cast for their rehearsals.
- Blooper Reel (2:16): Bloopers are always great. I’m not sure why it delights me when I see the mistakes, but I really do. It’s my favorite bonus feature on this DVD as well.
- Descendants: Wicked World (0:19): Sneak peak at animated shorts coming to the Disney Channel in the fall.
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen (Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions)
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Languages: English, French & Spanish
Director: Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical” franchise)
Exec Producer: Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical” franchise) and Wendy Japhet (“The Italian Job,” “An Education”)
Producer: Tracey Jeffrey
Writers: Josie McGibbon (“Runaway Bride,” “Chicken Little”) and Sara Parriott (“Runaway Bride,” “Chicken Little”)
Choreographers: Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical” franchise) and Paul Becker (“The Cabin in the Woods,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1”)
Cast: Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,” TV’s “Glee”) as Maleficent
Dove Cameron (TV’s “Liv & Maddie”) as Mal the daughter of Maleficent
Wendy Raquel Robinson (“The Game,” “Miss Congeniality”) as Cruella de Vil
Cameron Boyce (TV’s “Jessie”) as Carlos the son of Cruella de Vil
Maz Jobrani (“The Interpreter,” “13 Going on 30”) as Jafar
Booboo Stewart (“X-Men Days of Future Past,” “Twilight”) as Jay the son of Jafar
Kathy Nijimy (“WALL-E,” “Sister Act”) as the Evil Queen
Sofia Carson (TV’s “Austin & Ally”) as Evie the daughter of the Evil Queen
Mitchell Hope (“Down the Way,” “Yes Mum”) as Ben the son of Beast and Belle
Melanie Paxson (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “Happy Family”) as Fairy Godmother
Brenna D’Amico as Jane the daughter of Fairy Godmother
Sarah Jeffery (“Shades of Blue,” “Rogue”) as Audrey the daughter of Princess Aurora
Zachary Gibson (“Zapped”) as Doug the son of Dopey
Jedidiah Goodacre (“If There Be Thorns,” “Zapped”) as Chad Charming the son of Cinderella
Dianne Doan (“Last Night in Suburbia”) as Lonnie the daughter of Mulan
Release Date: July 31, 2015 (Direct Pre-Book: 6/2; Distributor Pre-Book: 6/16)
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this movie. All opinions are our own.