(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Descendants 3)
Doug (vo): So I'm not gonna pretend I was a fan of the first two Descendants movies, but I will admit, they were a little...I don't want to say better, but...less bad than I thought they were gonna be. I mean, it's a dumb, gimmicky idea, but for what they were, I thought it had some good dancing and the actors were clearly trying, I never felt like anyone was really half-assing it, they were just going all-out on an idea that wasn't that great, but still going all-out in trying to make something good. Descendants 3 is more along the lines of what I thought I was gonna get, where almost everything about it feels tired, unmotivated, and sloppy...with still a few good dance numbers.
Doug (vo): Mal has just been proposed to by the king, and it looks like she's gonna be the new queen of Auradon. But this makes Audrey, the daughter of Sleeping Beauty, very unhappy because she wanted to be queen. So she decides to steal the magic scepter, which is guarded by only one security guard...Jesus...and she uses it to wreak havoc on everybody. Mal's plan as the soon-to-newly-be-appointed queen: Close down the barrier between the two worlds. You see, they were still doing this kind of foreign exchange thing, where the heroes would go into the villains' land and take a few villain kids over to sort of show them this new world and branch out, like the other movies. But now, according to her, it seems too dangerous, even though she is one of the villains that has come from this world, and she wants to close down the connection forever. Yeah, not temporarily, not until they can think of another solution, but forever. There's, like, a million other ways around this, and they act like this is the only solution.
Doug (vo): Now, here's the thing. I know it's fairy tales, I allow this stuff in things like Frozen and Snow White and all these other movies where it's like, "Yeah, there's other ways around it, but...fairy tales. You give that leeway." But where those seem like small elements, you know, not really the focus of the story, this is the focus of the story, like, she's torn, she doesn't want to do this, but she feels like it's the only way, and it's just clearly not. And maybe even that would be a little less distracting if everything else in the movie was trying a little harder, but it's hard to explain. It just kind of feels like everybody's on autopilot. Where in the first two movies, even when something wasn't working, I felt like everybody was trying really hard, this has kind of the Home Alone 2 effect.
(Several clips focusing on the characters are shown)
Doug (vo): I can't say for sure it was rushed or everybody was just so confident because they already had two hits under their belt, but it feels like everybody's doing this movie because it's just kind of a smart career move. I don't know that. Maybe everybody had a ball making this movie, maybe they were really happy to make it, and they thought this was the best one or something. But the way the story, the dialogue, and especially the acting from everybody comes across, it feels like they're there kind of because they have to be.
(A clip showing Mai and Prince Ben talking during a meeting is shown)
Mai: I'm supposed to protect Auradon.
Ben: You did. You do protect Auradon.
King Beast: We're exposed to danger.
Ben: Maleficent's scepter and the queen's crown have been stolen.
(Several clips focusing on the musical sequences are shown)
Doug (vo): Now with that said, there's a few things that work. There's a couple dance sequences that are either really impressive or just so silly, I can't help but love them. This one with the knights, I mean, just...look at it.
(One musical sequence is shown, showing a group of animated knights dancing to the music)
Doug (vo; chuckling): That's so ridiculous, but it's kind of fun, too.
(Several clips focusing on Uma, the daughter of Ursula, and Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, are shown)
Doug (vo): The girl who played Ursula's daughter is back, and I'm realizing more and more, I think this might've been the only villain that had any class in these movies. Sometimes, Hades, who's completely different in this, but again, I'm kind of used to that in these movies anyway, can be a little fun and intimidating. But for everything else, it just feels off.
(A scene showing Mai being turned into an old hag is shown)
Doug (vo): I remember there's this one scene where the villain turns Mal into this old lady, and it actually kind of looked like she was having fun, and they had a few good jokes, and it was just mostly in her acting, like, she did this pretty funny, and it was especially hilarious to see her suddenly riding a bike at this old lady. It's just really, really entertaining. Had the movie possessed a sense of humor like that throughout the whole thing, maybe it could've been really enjoyable. But, no. She turns back to being normal in, like, a few minutes, because, you know, we can't have a Disney property without a Disney girl in the lead. And that's what it feels like, a Disney property that can't have any of the different stuff, because it's too risky.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): And speaking of which, guess what the moral of the movie is. That's right. You can't judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to people, and...wouldn't you know it? As with a lot of Disney movies nowadays, there's kind of this separation between these classes of people and this barrier that's stopping them from interacting with each other, and one sees the other as evil, and they shouldn't do that. I feel like between this, Maleficent 2, and Nutcracker, this is just a constantly reoccurring theme that, I mean, yeah, we see a lot in the world and we've definitely seen through history, but I just feel like we're seeing this exact same setup over and over and over, and it's just getting tiring. I mean, Christ, how many Disney movies have we had now where the villain is a surprise? Like, oh, it's not who you thought, and it's somebody that sees every type of this one person as this one bad thing? It's not only feeling old, it's feeling preachy, because it's been done so many times recently. I mean, yeah, it's a good message, I've just heard it to death, and every one of these movies that does it acts like this is the first one that's doing it.
Doug (vo): So, yeah, if you have kids that just want to finish out watching these movies and they're really into them, I mean, I don't think there's anything that bad in it...well, I don't know. The Mal character going so extreme right off the bat is a little alarming. They play it like anyone can make this mistake, but it's just not done in a way that you believe it, like, at all. But honestly, that's probably not what most kids are looking for. They're looking for the cute teens and the cool outfits and the awesome dance numbers and the fun songs. And they'll get it, I guess. But where the other ones surprisingly gave a little bit more thought to it, this one...um...I think feels like it's giving a lot of thought. Again, that groundbreaking message that no other movie is making right now. But it's just feeling more and more phony the more and more these movies are made. So, yeah, if you got a little kid that wants to watch it, it's probably fine. Anyone else can dance pretty far away.
(The film's final scene, showing Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos racing across the bridge to their parents, is shown)