I Watched Disney Channel’s Descendants So You Don’t Have to: Part 4

We now present the fourth and final installment of the epic re-telling of Disney’s Descendants.

I’m totally kidding. They’re of course making a sequel out of this mess.

And an animated cartoon.

I shit you not.

Looks like my career of making fun of this franchise will be long lived. Thank goodness it pays so well.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, catch up with Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

Quick Note: Apologies for the egregiously long gaps between Part 3 and Part 4. The regular health shenanigans held me up. I really appreciate all the positive feedback I’ve gotten on these posts! You’re all wonderful cinnamon rolls and I cherish you all.

On to the finale!

Oh, and side note, a friend pointed out to me that there is a place in France called Arradon that is some sort of utopia commune. So maybe Ben wasn’t such a lying whore, and this is France, after all?

Whoops. I attempted to make some sort of sense of this insane tv-movie universe, which means I have to put a dollar in the jar.

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And so we move on to the coronation of a teenager whose father was democratically elected and still clearly capable of governing, yet is somehow passing the entire country on to his son who still has a curfew.

Because thinking is for nerds.

And what is a royal coronation without some TMZ style red carpet coverage? Brought to you by everyone’s favorite Joan Rivers stand-in, Snow White.

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But guys, this is really exciting. Because Snow White seems younger than most of the other “old school” princesses. And she doesn’t seem to have any evil clone children. Which means Snow White was the only cool kid to say no to the mass copulation party that generated all the dumb brats we’ve been following for the past three hours. Sorry, one hour. Feels like three.

Told you she was secretly badass. 

Snow White treats us to all the fabulous Disney Bounds the evil clones are wearing, of course in their parents’ signature colors. Audrey twirls in her sparkly pink dress — so I guess the pink fairy won that color war — and Ben is wearing his father’s charming royal suit in his mother’s signature blue color.

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WHICH IS A LIE. CHAD YOU LITTLE SHIT STOP PERPETUATING THE CONSPIRACY. CINDERELLA’S DRESS IS NOT BLUE IT IS SILVER GODDAMMIT PEOPLE WHEN CAN WE END THE CHARADE AND BRING BACK THE SPARKLY!?

I get emotional.

Anyway, Snow White may be a cool rebel, but she’s still kind of a dick. She singles out Jane, a young girl who did not ask for any attention, and, on the most important and most likely highly watched national television broadcast of the decade, she makes fun of her hair cut. Because if this movie has taught us anything, it’s that good guys suck and bob hair cuts are the source of all evil.

Speaking of evil, we see Ben ride into his coronation on a horse drawn carriage with his lovely new girlfriend, Mal, by his side.

Which, again, seems a little extreme for a momentous affair of state. When Queen Elizabeth II of England was crowned, her husband didn’t ride in the carriage with her. But the mega shady girl this fool has been dating for a week? Yeah, let’s just throw her into that historically significant moment.

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While we’re on the subject of super shady things, it is during this carriage ride that we find out that Ben knows that Mal magicked him into falling in love with her. And he doesn’t care. He’s known practically the whole time but stayed with her anyway. Because he thought it was cute that she was so shy she felt like she needed to put a spell on him.  

Let that sink in.

This boy found out his girlfriend literally gave him a mind warping/judgment impairing substance that significantly compromised the decision-making abilities of the leader of the fictional free world, and he just laughs it off like, “Oh, how adorable, you were so nervous and didn’t know how to talk to me. Of course you had to give me a roofie!” 

Literally me the first time I watched that scene.

But the background music is all wistful and “Aww, isn’t that so romantic? He’s in love with her for realsies…for some reason. True love doesn’t need informed consent.”

I think this kingdom could use a sexual consent seminar.

Anyway, Ben asks Mal to wear his ring, which looks like it came from the same crackerjack box as Beast’s crown.

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We get more overwhelming yellow and blue….

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…and an extraneous but necessary scene of Kristen Chenoweth once more enjoying the hell out of her gaudy costume, insane script, and presumably fatty-fat-fat paycheck.

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I just love this woman.

So same old, same old.

The Beast and Belle have a generic “we’re proud of you” talk with their cardboard son. I mean, I assume that’s what’s happening, but I don’t know for sure because I honestly black out every time those two speak, just out of self-preservation for my favorite Disney characters.

Much better.

Okay, I’m sorry, we have to backtrack again because I CANNOT GET PAST THE ROOFIE THING.

I MEAN THE ROYAL LITTLE SHIT JUST CHUCKLED ABOUT IT. HE PLAYFULLY TEASED THE WOMAN WHO DRUGGED HIM.

`

This is the dude that is going to rule an entire country. Can’t wait for his foreign affairs policies:

“Oh, you bombed our capital city? How adorable, you were just trying to get my attention, weren’t you? Here, take the city, it’s yours.”

Alright, alright, I’m moving on. Really. I’ll just squirrel it away into the deep, dark, recesses of my subconscious along with the Mulan-bakes-warm-cookies atrocity and hope it doesn’t have any long term negative consequences.

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So back to the incompetently drawn evil plan to grab a magic stick. Evie, Carlos, and Jay are watching the coronation from the balcony, and I really don’t know how they’re supposed to get out and find an escape vehicle when it genuinely looks like the thing has absolutely no stairs. It’s like they were just levitated up there and now have to wait patiently until the ride is over so they can unbuckle their seat-belts, collect their belongings, and take small children by the hand as they exit.

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Wow, Disney’s Soarin’ ride really needs a refurb.

Which is bad news for what looks like the most bored children’s choir in the history of movies.

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Which, now that I think about it, is actually probably the only logical or realistic part of this entire movie.

Certainly more realistic than the CGI background of this castle.

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Seriously. That looks exactly like the $5 backdrop I got for a murder mystery party.

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Carlos is still holding the dog he made friends with, like Linus and his blanket, which can’t be any fun for that dog. That is a tiny ass dog, no way he doesn’t have to run around and pee every five minutes.

Also, what happened to that dog’s actual owners? I somehow doubt in this perfect utopian land of fairy tale protagonists that that dog does not belong to somebody. Somewhere, a princess offspring is looking frantically for their goofy animal sidekick.

If you’re saying “Hey, Leah, that’s not Disney!” you’re already using your brain which is breaking the first and second rule of Descendants Club.

So we’re getting close to what I suppose this movie considers a climax, and thus we see Mal look worried and conflicted. And we see Evie look worried and conflicted. And then we see Carlos look worried and conflicted. And then we see Jay look worried and conflicted, and then we see my eyes roll back into my head because I still have another half hour of this thing to recap and I’m remembering that I’m not getting paid for any of this.

But then the magic wand finally comes out, and we see a small girl’s hand grab the wand (remarkably easily) and set off a jet of light that allows Maleficent to apparate into the coronation castle. I guess because the wand recognized its true master.

Or, in this case, the badass sorceress.

But it’s not Mal who grabbed the wand, it’s Jane! Because she’s so sick of being ugly, she wants to grab the wand and do it herself!

If this whole movie is secretly the origin story of a super-villain who happens to be the daughter of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, I would die of happiness.

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Except Jane theoretically wasn’t in the front row. And remember, Mal’s entire reason for drugging Ben into dating her was so she could be in the front row of the coronation, so that she could easily grab the wand. Jane clearly wasn’t in the front row that we panned by. Although, several other people seemed to still be in the front row with Mal, even though Ben said that was only for his parents and his girlfriend. But his parents are actually up on the stairs. So once again, Ben is a lying whore, and Mal sucks at evil.

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But where was Jane hiding that she could pop out of nowhere, run up the stairs, and grab the wand out of her mother’s hand with no one stopping her?

This just proves that she really could be a kickass super-villain. Because she apparently has the power of invisibility! Although, most teenage girls with bad haircuts do.

Unfortunately, Jane is not the evil genius one would hope for in a budding super-villain, because she can’t even manage to hold on to a long skinny stick when white stuff starts spurting out of it.

Aw dammit, Disney, why do you keep setting me up for dirty jokes I can’t actually use because underage children are involved!?

So Mal grabs the wand from Jane, which is actually good because Jane was clearly about to blow up the entire kingdom. But everyone all of a sudden remembers that Mal is sworn to the cause of evil and gets understandably nervous. The other three evil-spawns rush to Mal’s side in the middle of the palace because, y’know, that was the opposite of their plan. But they’re about to become good guys so they might as well get a jump start on being super dumb.

Ben gives your basic “do the right thing” speech in his typical musician-reading-cue-cards-at-an-awards-show style. “You don’t understand, Ben, our parents!” Mal protests as she tries to convey the fear she has of her abusive living situation. I mean, these kids are genuinely afraid of the harm their parents will inflict on them if they don’t do as they’re told. But instead of Ben being like “Oh hey, don’t worry, we’ll protect you and keep you safe from your clearly abusive parents,” like an actual good guy would do (c’mon, even Kiara tried to save Zira at the end), he’s all “Make your choice, either you put yourself and your only true friends at risk for the sake of a bunch of people who have been consistently douchey towards you guys or choose to be an evil person.”

So Mal “listens to her heart–“

–And you know what her heart tells her? That even though people are fundamentally flawed and complex beings, she chooses to fight for the side of them that is good and work for a society that is beneficial to all? That maybe enslaving and torturing all of mankind just to please her mother would not bring her any joy or fulfillment?

Frack no. Her heart tells her to pick the side of good because sports are fun and puppies are cute.

No, really. That is the actual motivation Mal gives to her cronies to “choose good.”

“Stealing things doesn’t make you happy,” Mal says to Jacob Jay Simpson. “Tourneys and victory pizza with the team makes you happy.”

“Scratching your dog’s stomach makes you happy,” she tells Carlos, which is officially the only sensical thing this movie has said.

“Evie, you do not have to play dumb to get a guy,” Mal says as Evie cries. Well, that sensical moment was short lived.

A.) That’s not a motivation of something she likes better here in Good Guy Land. It’s just an unrelated platitude. B.) Evie never tried to play dumb to get a guy. She tried to play smart. She used her magic mirror to give her answers she didn’t know. And then as a result of actually being dumb and needing help she got herself a dorky dwarf guy. Which is the message young girls will actually internalize. So…swing and a miss on that one, Disney.

I just can’t help myself.

Anyway, while these four come to the revelatory epiphany that dogs and pizza are better than eternal slavery and torment, they fist bump (no, really) over the phrase “I choose good!” and I’m saved from gagging on my own spit by everyone’s favorite —

Maleficent comes in to remind me why the world really is a wonderful place. She freezes time — which, again, was never her deal. The fairies froze people, not Maleficent, and GODAMMIT I’M DOING IT AGAIN DOLLAR IN THE JAR.

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I am actually losing money on these recaps.

But I really don’t care, because Kristen Chenoweth starts wandering around the Madam Tussaad-like frozen statues and shows us how to really put on a show. She sexually harasses the non-Beasty-Beast-tator, makes the Fairy Godmother pick her nose with her wand, and hums “Evil Like Me” to herself while she dances around and giggles. I could honestly watch this scene all day.

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This is going to be my new desktop picture.

Chenificent zaps Mal’s crackerjack box ring onto the magic wand and squeals “Perfect fit!”

♫ We are sort of sex-u-al, cuz your folks don’t hear it all! So we get to sell sex to our young view-ers ♫

It’s kind of an awkward dynamic because the actress playing Mal is doing her best to have an emotional break through and cry about her character’s newfound love of goodness, and Kristen Chenoweth is like the cool kid in class who knows how dumb the play is and just laughs through her lines. It’s sort of like watching James Franco and Anne Hathaway host the Oscars all over again. Y’know, if James Franco were significantly more talented.

I mean, at one point, Cheneficent actually “arfs” at Carlos for no apparent reason, like the writers forgot they gave that trait to Cruella and not Maleficent. This, of course, makes Carlos’s stolen pooch jump at Cheneficent and cling to her for dear life and tell her how her performance in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown changed his life and if he could get a role in her upcoming show that would be so amazing. So Cheneficent shrugs him off like “Ugh, can I just take over a kingdom in peace for once?” And turns into a MOTHER EFFING DRAGON.

Okay, a low budget mother effing dragon, but at least it’s actually Maleficent taking dragon form this time and not some weirdly hot dumb stooge.

Why you hurt me Disney

But other than Maleficent getting to be a dragon again, the most interesting part of the action scene is watching the poor extras in the background attempting not to move. Some of them are painted into the green screen, but others are just really struggle-bussing to not wobble. It’s oddly nice to know that this movie made other people suffer besides just its viewers.

But Mal defeats her evil dragon mom with the most powerful weapon at her disposal: the teenage glare.

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“Feel the wrath of my tacky glue-on eyelashes!”

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“For God’s sake, Mal, it looks like you have spider legs dangling from your eyebrows.”

Yeah, they just stare at each other with green eyes for an awkwardly long time. It works about as well as it did in the last Harry Potter battle.

Yeah, you know what makes a great cinematic ending to an epic seven-part series? Constipated faces and green flashlights.

But somehow Mal defeats her mother and Cheneficent shrinks to “the size of the love in her heart.” Because…magic.

At least, that’s what the Fairy Godmother says, who for some reason is the only one who gets suddenly unfrozen. I guess the power of exposition compelled her. But it’s still a pretty rude thing to say about someone’s mother. “Yeah, your mom seriously never loved you, just in case you had any lingering hope.”

“But wait, Leah,” you ask. “What do you mean she shrunk to the size of her heart? So, we have tiny Cheneficent now? That’s weird.”

Oh no, dear reader. We don’t have tiny Cheneficent.

WE HAVE LIZARD CHENEFICENT.

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That’s right, the most nefarious and chilling villain in animation history has been turned into a lizard. And no one bothers, like, locking her up or anything. They just leave here there, like she can’t still wreck shit up just because she’s tiny. Although, if that’s the sequel, a mini Chenoweth wrecking havoc and making sexual comments about Gaston like she’s a raunchy conductor on Shining Time Station, I am so incredibly on board.

So Fairy Godmother bippity-boppity-boops everyone awake again, and Ben leaps forward with ANOTHER RAWR. BECAUSE THE FIRST ONE WASN’T AWKWARD ENOUGH.

 

Easy there, dude. We got like 15 more of these to do, probably.

I don’t think I ever truly understood second hand embarrassment until this moment. I have, however, experienced first-hand embarrassment every time I have to explain to people that I have now watched this movie several times. But at least I have never spread my arms in a pas de bourree style while running and screaming out a sustained “raaaaaaaaaawr.”

Although, I am sure that I would do that for the paycheck this kid is getting. Or really any amount of money. I’m a millenial. We’ll do basically anything for cash. So I guess I can’t really fault the guy. I can only fault me for watching it so many times and laughing harder each time, and then finding a gif of it on the internet, and then laughing at it again.

So now that that part is over, Ben looks deeply into his girlfriend’s eyes, who just expressed her absolute love for him, and….picks her up and spins her around. Thought that would be a kiss moment, but okay. That makes sense, too. I mean, it was possibly the most platonic gesture I’ve ever seen between two romantic interests since Ron and Hermione clearly disliked making out, but you do you, Ben.

Last Harry Potter reference in this recap, I swear!

But we’re not done with our awkwardly artificial moments. Because Mal runs over to Fairy Godmother and Jane (hey, how did she get that name? It clearly breaks the “named similarly to parent” pattern. Could they not think of a name that started with F or G? How did I not notice that until now?), and says that Jane is “beautiful, inside and out.” Yeah, that really makes up for how everyone acted like this girl was the exorcist baby because she had an uneven haircut. Also, how about telling her that it’s okay if everyone doesn’t find her attractive, because beauty is a fluid social construct and her value is tied to more than just her physical attractiveness?

Oh, Disney. You just know the best ways to teach girls to hate themselves from a very young age.

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Bless you, Honest Trailers.

So someone finally decides it’s a good idea to, y’know, capture the evil sorceress hiding in lizard form. “Careful!” Mal says, “That’s my mom.” And everyone laughs, because the emotional pain and scarring that will inevitably follow her through the rest of her adult life is hilarious.

I guess she’s just gonna keep the lizard as a pet? Her pet mom? That’s weirder than Ron’s pet rat secretly being an evil grown man.

Aw, crap, I did it again.

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I have a problem.

But not as big a problem as Kenny Ortega, who just cannot resist a good techno autotune. Because of course the movie ends on a giant dance number where everyone pretends those bland electronic noises are actually coming out of their vocal chords.

Everything about this number looks and sounds weirdly familiar. Not like I know the song, but like I’ve seen this exact thing happen before…like maybe multiple times in one day…

A bunch of people doing upbeat, cheesy singing and dancing on a strangely large stage in front of a castle…

Oh my god. Guys. I’ve just realized.

This movie is just a giant Disney World Castle Stage Show! Complete with corny but energetic dancing, forgettably auto-tuned pre-recordings of vocalizations that don’t look like they’re coming from the performers, cameos from all your favorite Disney characters mashed together, vague characterization that doesn’t stay true to the original movies, remixes of classic songs that should not be remixed, an abundance of superficial platitudes, and a barely coherent plot! This makes so much sense! This is why this movie is so inexplicably popular and strangely entertaining! We’ve been primed for this since Disney World’s inception!

I guess you gotta approach this movie in the same way as those stage shows. Turn off your mind and just watch your favorite characters twirl around and have fun. And, of course, have a little chuckle when it inevitably turns into a shit show.

After all, they gotta churn out about eight of those buggers a day, which would explain why they’re planning on making so many sequels and spin offs of this movie. Which Mal reminds us of when she awkwardly looks right into the camera — and brings back the voiceover narration that hasn’t existed since the first 30 seconds of the film — and winks as her disembodied voice says, “Oh, you didn’t think this was the end of the story, did you?” Well, I mean, everything came to a conclusion and all loose ends were tied up, so yeah, that would make sense for this to be the end of the story…and also, if you’re aware of the camera enough to look at us and directly address us, why bother making it a voiceover when we already have a direct to camera connection established — aw dammit.

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When will I learn.

And so we close the cover of our storybook iPad with our Disney e.l.f. villain line nail polish randomly sitting next to it….

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…and it looks like I’ll see you all at the next one!

See ya real soon!