In Descendants, the children of iconic Disney villains help their parents conquer the world – while adjusting to the ups and downs of high school.
Classic Disney movies are kind of a big deal right now (don’t know why? Just let it go), which means we’re seeing many revisionist takes on the originals. Perhaps the most unique of the bunch is Descendants, a TV movie starring the children of iconic Disney villains. It’s the kind of high-concept that’s bizarre to imagine beforehand, but thankfully Disney has presented a full trailer – proving that Descendants is very much a campy school comedy.
Descendants is set in a shared Disney universe where instead of dying, the major villains from various films were imprisoned on a lawless secluded island. The mainland is ruled by a now-human Beast and Queen Belle, whose son just issued his first royal decree – that the children of villains be allowed to leave the island and integrate with normal society. But four of the evil parents – Cruella Deville, Jafar, Maleficent, and Snow White‘s Evil Queen – realize their children could finally complete a plan for world domination.
That is, if they’re not distracted by the pressures of high school.
Yes, as the trailer heavily implies, Descendants is a high-school movie before anything else. Carlos, Jay, Mal, and Evie must enter a prestigious academy where they’re expected to wear uniforms, start romances, and behave like respectable Disney characters – something none of them have experience doing. But if they fail their tasks, the biggest threat won’t be failing a test or missing the dance – it’s facing their parents, who can imagine countless deadly punishments for them all.
Campy is perhaps the best way to describe Descendant‘s trailer, especially with its kitchen sink approach of fitting every villain onto the prison island. It certainly doesn’t help that the jokes are overly simplistic, or that Maleficent looks like she’s channeling Rita Repulsa more than Angelina Jolie. But there is a certain subversive pleasure in fitting villainous characters to high school tropes – or Maleficent going into dragon mode on the island. I also wouldn’t mind finding out exactly why Carlos is terrified of tiny dogs. We’ll see what happens when it releases on the Disney channel this summer.