Just saw Disenchanted, the sequel to Enchanted. I was looking forward to it because the latter is one of my favorite films of all time.
Enchanted was a pitch perfect take-down of Disney by Disney itself. Even just that one scene of Amy Adams magically calling on all the vermin in New York City to help her clean house is priceless.
But Disenchanted throws all of that away. The problem lies entirely with the screenplay.
The script of Disenchanted completely betrays its characters. It does this by structuring the story in a way that removes any possibility of any real character arcs.
Unfortunately, the engine of the story is to “magically” turn the main characters into cookie cutter live-action cartoon characters. When this happens, the wonderful premise of “realistic people dealing with the weirdness of a fairytale world” is simply discarded.
We don’t care about this version of these characters because they have been reduced to empty stereotypes. They no longer have any connection to the truly interesting characters and relationships that we had come to know.
In the first film, Alan Mencken’s songs were very effective, because they were used as clever ironic character commentary that matched the character arcs. In this film, his songs just seem pointless.
This it not the fault of the songs themselves. There is simply no dramatic tension, no emotional risk for the characters, nothing for the songs to play against.
It all reminds me of something Alfred Hitchcock once said: “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.”