As an adult, it is strange that at times I do find things on Disney channel that fascinate me and hold my interest. I have no children, and I don't babysit, but some of the material is just hard to turn away from. I found that this was the case with the Disney Channel Original Movie Disney Descendants.
It's a concept we have seen before with the straight to video Disney sequels of their animated classics, but never quite like this. We see what happens after happily ever after, focusing on the children of the villains and heroes rather than the adults.
The villains have been exiled, but The Beast and Belle's son, Benny, says that he wants the children of the worst villains to come to school with him and the other heroes' children. They agree to allow the children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella DeVil and Jafar to cross the barrier and that is where the story takes off.
The story mainly focuses on Mal, played by Dove Cameron, who is trying to live up to her mother's expectations and steal the wand of the fairy godmother. She is conflicted as her relationship with Ben, played by Mitchell Hope, grows and she has to decide what is important to her.
The other children have their own slightly less important struggles, whether it's being afraid of dogs or joining a sports team, but all deal with them very nicely and try to find their own place outside of their parents' shadows.
Like Mother Like Daughter
The movie is well acted, as well as beautifully shot with much of the same glow and magic of most Disney films. While I was surprised at the choice of Kristin Chenoweth for Maleficent, she was clearly enjoying herself. She hammed it up in a way that wasn't necessarily scary and fitting to the role, but was entertaining to watch nonetheless. The other villains were touched upon, but not really the focal point, as the story was mainly between Mal and her mother, and that is a shame. They had a great overall cast but I feel that they were underutilized at times.
What surprised me most was that it was a musical, but as it was directed by Kenny Ortega who directed High School Musical, it didn't come as a complete shock. The music was enjoyable and quite catchy, with more of a show tune sound to it than the pop type of music found in many of the Disney Channel Musicals.
Overall, this is a fun movie, with plenty of laughs and a great cast including Booboo Stewart, Cameron Boyce and Kathy Najimy. It's a movie that definitely had the feel of a Disney classic with a modern twist and I highly recommend it.