In news that sounds like it would make a better “Saturday Night Live” sketch than an actual original film, Deadline has word that The Disney Channel has ordered an original live-action film that will focus on the teenage descendants of Disney villains like Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), the Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) and Jafar (Aladdin).
Descendants will be directed by High School Musical director and choreographer Kenny Ortega and feature some kind of contemporary adventure comedy that sees the villain’ offspring questioning the pure evil that has been passed down to their hearts by their parents.
The script comes from Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (of “The Starter Wife” and Runaway Bride) and sets the story in a kingdom where Beast and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are getting ready to take the throne. As his first act as king, Beast (still human?) is offering these villainous teens a chance at redemption.
Carlos, Mal, Evvie and Jay (descendants of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar respectively) have been imprisoned on a forbidden islan with the rest of Disney’s bad guys, sidekicks, step-mothers, etc. but they are allowed back into the kingdom to attend a prep school alongside the sons and daughters of Disney’s heroes like Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Rapunzel and the Fairy Godmother. However, the evil teens must choose whether they should follow in their dastardly parents’ footsteps and help them regain power or embrace their inherent goodness and save the kingdom.
This sounds positively ridiculous. It has all the makings of a Saturday morning cartoon series, but it’s instead being turned into a live-action movie? How are we explaining the combination of all these different stories that take place at extremely different times in humanity? I know it seems odd to be nitpicking about the reality of cartoon movies with talking animals and sentient objects, but there has to be some semblance of order when creating something like this.
We can only hope that the teenagers are true to their respective Disney films in spirit as opposed to just applying the quirky traits of contemporary teens and giving them Disney character costumes and names. Obviously, it’s the child audience who will matter in the creation of this film, but that doesn’t mean we can have a quality project. Hopefully this turns out to be more than a messy mash-up of Disney characters.
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