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Descendants TV Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jul 29, 2015
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld watched Disney Channel’s new singing, dancing, romance, adventure and magic film Descendants. Are these “rotten to the core” teens worth giving a chance? Check out our review.

By: Lynn Barker

If your parents always told you that bad is beautiful and, in order to please them, you simply must be the baddest kid on the block, how would you survive in a new world where kindness oozes from every corner?

Descendants start to enjoy their new livesDescendants start to enjoy their new lives

Story Goes

The kingdom of Auradon’s worst baddies have been exiled to the Isle of the Lost, a remote prison cut off from the world. After 20 years, Ben (Mitchell Hope) the teen son of Belle and the Beast and heir to the throne is about to be crowned and he makes his first proclamation. He wants to free the teen kids of the villains and offer them redemption in the form of going to high school in his kingdom.

Ben says Be Our GuestBen says Be Our GuestCourtesy of Disney Channel

As a trial run, a quartet of bad-to-the-bone teens is selected.  They are Mal (Dove Cameron), daughter of Maleficent, Jay (Booboo Stewart), son of Jafar (Maz Jobrani), Evie (Sofia Carson) daughter of “Snow White’s” Evil Queen (Kathy Najimy) and Carlos (Cameron Boyce), son of Cruella De Vil (Wendy Raquel Robinson).

Maleficent has trained her daughter Mal wellMaleficent has trained her daughter Mal wellCourtesy of Disney Channel

Once at their new school, the teens encounter a few offspring of Disney heroes in addition to Ben. There is Mulan’s daughter Lonnie, Cinderella’s son Chad, Fairy Godmother’s daughter Jane and Dopey’s son Doug.  Can the evil teens fit in? Can they complete the task assigned them by Maleficent; steal the Fairy Godmother’s wand so that the villains can use it escape the island and rule the world? Will good win the evil teens over and who will fall in love with whom?

Jay and Carlos make the teamJay and Carlos make the teamCourtesy of Disney Channel

Wrapping Up

Comparisons of “Descendants” to “High School Musical” are unavoidable. No new territory explored here as far as teens in high school singing and dancing. “High School Musical” came out before “Glee” was on TV so it was pretty darn original. As talented as the young cast of “Descendants” is, there is no breakout performer who grabs hearts as much as Zac Efron did.  Adding a fantasy element and using the offspring of some of Disney’s most famous villains is clever but the plot is overly predictable with no twists and no huge surprises.

Two generations of villainsTwo generations of villainsCourtesy of Disney Channel

The music is entertaining. “Rotten to the Core” is probably the best of the score with a few pop-radio-sounding ballads and an update of the old tune “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast” thrown in. There is no “Let It Go” stunner that you can’t stop singing. A highlight is “Evil Like Me”, a killer song really “sold” well by Broadway veteran (“Wicked”) Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent.  

We're rotten to the coreWe're rotten to the coreCourtesy of Disney Channel

Kenny Ortega’s choreography is fun but somehow doesn’t seem as energetic when not performed by Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and the HSM gang. The wardrobe is colorful and some of the updated outfits worn by the villains’ offspring are pretty rad, edgy and a few pieces are envy-worthy.

Prince Ben meets the DescendantsPrince Ben meets the DescendantsCourtesy of Disney Channel

The very end of the movie is a tease that is supposed to open a door for sequels but it seems kind of lame and even confusing. Will you enjoy “Descendants”? Sure. Will it spawn a dynasty of sequels? Probably not. We go three stars.

"Descendants" TV Movie Rating:3

Disney’s Descendants PosterDisney’s Descendants PosterCourtesy of Disney Channel

"Descendants" premieres FRIDAY, JULY 31st (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel!