Mal and Ben are getting married, but Mal’s father Hades destroys the wedding venue causing him to flee and the Descendants to have to go get Hades back for the wedding in “Disney’s Descendants: Royal Wedding.” This is a different take on the “Descendants” franchise as it’s an animated short rather than a full-length Disney Channel Original Movie. But, it still does a great job of wrapping up Mal and Ben’s story while setting up a new storyline for the next film.
I really enjoyed the plot of this animated special. Despite having never seen anything of the three “Descendants” films, I was still able to follow along and completely understand everything that was going on. Granted, it didn’t take too many risks, it’s aimed at the Disney Channel audience, so it didn’t have to take risks. Hades isn’t really acting like a villain, but accidentally destroys the venue due to a misunderstanding. In the end, Ben recognizes it’s more important they get married by the people they love and love them rather than in a fancy venue and with the help of the Fairy Godmother, the perfect wedding for Ben and Mal happens; surrounded by their family and friends.
There was a big cloud hanging over this production as it is the first new special for the “Descendants” franchise filmed without Cameron Boyce who tragically passed away at the age of 20. It’s a tough choice. Do you not have his character at the wedding? Or do you recast the role? And, if you don’t have the character there, do you address why he’s not there? I think this was handled as well as possible. His character shouldn’t be there. This is not the place to recast his character. But, you have to address his absence. It doesn’t have to be anything dark, just a mention to let the audience know about his character. I think it was the right way to handle it.
While the plot is good, and the handling of the absence of Cameron Boyce was perfect, in my opinion, the animation choices don’t work for me. They were a bit jarring and uninspired. Plus, sometimes the voices didn’t line up with the movements of the mouths. It reminded me of the old Hasbro “G. I. Joe” and “Transformers” cartoons. A kid isn’t going to care, but it stuck out like a sore thumb to me.
Overall, I think any fan of the “Descendants” franchise will be very happy with this special. It wraps up Ben and Mal’s story. It gives them one last time with the characters they love. It also sets up a potential new movie. While an official “Descendants 4” hasn’t been announced, given the marketability of this franchise, I would bet one is coming. The animation is a bit sloppy, but if that’s my only complaint, then this did its job well. I know I’m not the target audience, but I would recommend this for anyone who is in the target audience.
Ranking: 4 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Disney’s Descendants: Royal Wedding?”