The Problem with Descendants, Part 1

A slightly unhinged summary/commentary on the first movie

So, this is the first part of a three-part series covering the Descendants movies on Disney+. My goal with these is to illustrate, in a slightly unhinged way, why these movies simply … don’t work.

(Though, it certainly doesn’t help that there are companion books that happen in between them and that you have to read to get context. But in all seriousness, the books are much better than the movies.)

(Also, spoiler warnings from here on out, if you’d still like to see these movies.)

Without further ado, here’s Part 1 of the Descendants posts.

  1. The contrast between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon is done well. Also, the introductory dance sequence is fantastic, even if the music is dated

  2. What the heck is up with the villains? Maleficent is high-pitched and annoying, Jafar is a worthless thief, the Evil Queen is silly and vain, and Cruella de Vil is a crotchety old lady. Look, I get that it’s been twenty years. But no one can change that much, particularly characters who are functionally immortal (Okay. According to Ben, not so much.)

  3. The scene with the four discovering candy and crossing over for the first time is also well done

  4. Oh, Lord. The Auradon slogan is horrible

  5. Also, why is this so ... modern? Seriously. It’s like quasi-medieval royalty was mashed with what rich people look like in the modern day, then shoved into a prep school setting with a little sprinkle of magic. How confusing is that??

  6. Ben is boring, and Audrey is a mean girl, which ... she’s more interesting, so there is that. Yeah, it’s a problem when the prince character is kinda boring from the get-go.

  7. Oh, Lord. The Fairy Godmother is a cringy middle-aged lady who spouts slogans of stupid nonsense. This is getting ridiculous

  8. Audrey and Mal instantly don’t like each other. And ... it’s pretty great

  9. Um ... why is the magic gone? You people are from fairy tales! And the magic is the coolest part!

  10. I like Doug pretty much immediately. He’s awkward and immediately cowed by Evie (and he wears glasses! Yes!)

  11. Evie immediately likes the new room, because she likes the finer things in life (entirely fair). And I ... immediately like her

  12. The friendship between the four is instantly believable. Mal is the leader, with Evie being her lancer. Jay is the big guy, and I think Carlos is either the smart guy or the heart — I’ll have to watch the rest to see. (Ok, so based on the computer thing, it seems like, right now, he’s the smart guy — and the alarm in the museum)

  13. Man, these magic items look so stupid in live-action

  14. So, Carlos is the underappreciated one because he’s not as bad as the rest

  15. Jane is terrified and looks exactly like her mom (complete with a terrible haircut). And ... yeah. I immediately like her

  16. So ... Ben has some sort of interest in Mal, even though he has a girlfriend. Why are we supposed to like him?

  17. Hoo boy. Mal is not subtle. But she does do something nice with fixing Jane’s hair, even if it is for her ends. Another hint that she’s not “rotten to the core”

  18. Chad ... is a complete idiot. Charming, but a complete idiot. That’s ... realistic, I guess? Sure makes him more interesting than a certain prince I could mention

  19. Carlos meets a dog for the first time ... and my heart is melting

  20. And ... Chad is manipulative. But then, I already didn’t like him

  21. Yup. More differences: they’re evil, so of course their parents didn’t love them. Ouch

  22. Okay, so Jay’s selflessness developed way too fast. One conversation, and suddenly he’s not hogging the ball? That’s ... not realistic

  23. Oh, Lord. Ben only has a personality under the spell. And this song is so, so, SO cringe

  24. Their first date is ... kinda cute. Up until the song, that is

  25. Did ... did they just imply that Mal and Ben...

  26. Mal’s having second thoughts. All of them are. And it’s portrayed ... pretty well, actually

  27. The Be Our Guest rap is the. Worst. Song. I have ever heard

  28. Leah’s reaction is ... very realistic. Also, did I mention that I hate Chad? And ... the three are back on mission because of it

  29. So ... Jane’s the one who grabs the wand, not Mal. Plot twist!

  30. Mal defeats her mom with the power of friendship. Poetry!

  31. That dance routine at the end is so, so unnecessary

Yeah, I’d say “slightly unhinged” is the best way to describe this 😅.

Anyway, if you read the whole thing, thank you so much! You can find out more about me and past posts from the blog at my website, There’ll also be a place to subscribe at the bottom of this post.

Thanks again, and stay tuned for the next entry.

Your fairytale enthusiast,

Kirsten Hardin

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