Apr 30, 2016

Disney's Descendants

The Disney Channel movie Descendants (2015) follows the unlikely conceit that seven Disney animated fantasies about beset-upon Princesses being saved by Handsome Princes all took place about 20 years ago:

Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty. Snow White, Aladdin.

Wait -- those are all set in the Middle Ages, and the movies were made 50 years apart.   How...

Plus 101 Dalmatians, which is contemporary, and not about a Princess at all.

After the villains are defeated and the kingdoms are restored, the Princes and Princesses marry (except for Snow White, who decides to stay single and become a television reporter).

That's right, a television reporter.

The other kingdoms are all consolidated into the United States of Auradon (U.S.A. see?), ruled by Queen Belle and King Beast.

Wait -- his name was Beast before he was transformed into a beast by an evil curse?

Meanwhile the villains are all banished to the horrible Island of the Lost, where they, too, apparently find life partners.

A year or two later, every Princess and Villainess gets pregnant at the same moment!

A sort of Village of the Damned thing going on?  Do the kids all have glowing eyes and telepathic powers?

Fast forward 17 years.  Ben (Mitchell Hope, top photo), son of Belle and the Beast, will be inheriting the throne of the U.S.A. soon.  He's about to enter his last year at the exclusive Auradon Prep School (think Hogwarts without magic) along with his royal peers:

His girlfriend Audrey (Sarah Jeffrey), son of Sleeping Beauty (real name Princess Aurora) and Prince Phillip

His best buddy Chad Charming (Jedidiah Goodacre, left), son of Cinderella and Prince Charming.  Who knew that Charming was the family name?

Plain, mousy Jane (Brenna D'Amico), daughter of the Fairy Godmother, the Headmistress of Auradon Prep.  I guess they were running out of princesses.

Lonnie (Diane Doan), daughter of Mulan and Li Shang.

And the science nerd Doug (Zachary Gibson), son of Dopey from Snow White.  The Seven Dwarfs were obviously gay.  I wonder which one Dopey married?

Prince Ben is a progressive penologist who doesn't think children should be punished for the crimes of their parents, so he arranges for the Villains' descendants to be released from the Isle of the Lost and enrolled at Auradon Prep:

Mal (Dove Cameron), daughter of Malificent (the evil one from the 1959 movie, not the reformed one from Malificent)

Jay (BooBoo Stewart, left), son of Jafar from Aladdin.  One wonders what happened to Aladdin and Princess Jasmine.

Evie, daughter of The Evil Queen from Snow White.  So her actual given name was Evil Queen?  That's almost as bad as Malificent, which means "evil."

Carlos (Cameron Boyce, below), son of Cruella de Ville of 101 Dalmatians. The elderly, post-menopausal lady whose parents decided to name her Cruella?  He must be adopted.

They arrive all sneering and suspicious -- wouldn't you be, after a childhood in a Hell Dimension?

But after some classes in Remedial Goodness and buddy bonding through sports and pop music, they find that they prefer the company of high school hunks and babes to that of their snarling, wrist-shaking parents.

The problem is, their parents have given them the job of stealing the famous Magic Wand, so they can regain control over the empire...er, U.S.A.

What will they do?

Do you even need to ask?

This is a bright, flash, colorful mix of Harry Potter and High School Musical, so popular that it led to a 12-episode web sequel, a 23-episode short-form prequel, a novel, and a lot of merchandise.

There are two-hetero-romances, but they are countered by the extensive buddy-bonding between Jay and Carlos, and later Carlos and Chad.

And, of course, a lot of teen beefcake.

See also: Cameron Boyce; Maleficent.