Our Thoughts and Recap on Kenny Ortega Masterpiece “Descendents 3”

August 16, 2019


 The "Descendents 3" cast | © Disney


“Descendents 3” is the third film in the 2015 “Descendents” film franchise, starring Dove Cameron as Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Sofia Carson as Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen), BooBoo Stewart as Jay (son of Jafar), the late Cameron Boyce as Carlos (son of Cruella DeVil), and China Ann McClain as Uma (daughter of Ursula). 


“Descendents 3” starts off with an epic opening dance number highlighting where the original rotten to the core four – Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos – got their start. In this number, they have returned to the Isle of the Lost to celebrate the fact that a select lucky few will be chosen to attend Auradon Prep, just like they did in the first film. 


Not long after the first number, King Ben, the son of Belle and the Beast, proposes to Mal in front of all of their friends. Alongside Ben and Mal’s friends and admirers is Princess Audrey (daughter of Sleeping Beauty) who is furious that Ben proposed to someone other than her. It makes sense that Audrey is upset because before Mal went to Auradon Prep, she was the one dating Ben and in line to be Queen of Auradon. In the first film, in a plot to steal the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand Mal had put a love spell on Ben and to be fair, Audrey never had any real closure. Oh, and there’s also the fact that Mal’s mother totally tried to kill Audrey’s mom (Sleeping Beauty) but that’s mentioned a lot less compared to the number of times Audrey is caught fuming about Ben and Mal’s engagement. 


After the proposal, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos travel to the Isle of the Lost to announce the names of the select few who were chosen to travel to Auradon and attend Auradon Prep. Drizzy, Daughter of Lady Tremaine; Celia, daughter of Dr. Facilier; and twins Squeaky and Squirmy, who are the children of Mr. Smee, are all chosen to attend, much to their own delight. As they’re crossing back to Auradon, Hades makes his first appearance as he tries to make it through before the barrier closes, but not before he claims that he’s a god who doesn’t belong on the Isle. The core four plus Ben panic and in order to protect her friends and all of Auradon, Mal turns herself into a dragon and she just barely manages to fight him off. 


Meanwhile, Audrey is still very upset that she won’t be marrying Ben or become the Queen. This prompts her to break in to the Auradon Museum and steal the Auradon crown and Maleficent's scepter to raise revenge on the citizens of Auradon. It’s here where Sarah Jeffery who plays Audrey sings one of the best songs in the film “Queen of Mean” which you can watch here.


After the VKs (villian kids) return to Mal meets with Ben and his parents to discuss what actions should be carried out to protect Auradon from potential threats like the person who stole Maleficent's scepter (it hasn’t been revealed who stole it to the rest of the characters), Hades, and Uma the daughter of Ursula, who was also the main antagonist from “Descendents 2.” Feeling pressure to take immediate action to protect Auradon in order to be the queen Mal thinks she has to be, she makes the bold suggestion that they close the barrier forever. Ben is shocked to hear this coming from Mal (same here!) but she convinces him that this is the right thing to do. The implications of this decision is pretty heavy considering Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos wouldn't be able to return to the Isle ever again. Even worse, the VKs who have just agreed to attend Auradon Prep would not be allowed to visit their families once the barrier is closed-- major yikes!


Mal accidently crosses paths with Audrey and Audrey turns Mal into an old hag (basically a spitting image of the time when the Evil Queen disguised herself as an old Hag in the 1937 film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”). After Audrey leaves Mal to wreak havoc on Jane’s (daughter of the Fairy Godmother) guests at her birthday party using a sleeping spell, Mal, Evie, Jay, Carlos, and Celia return to the Isle to seek out Hades’s ember, the only magical object that could stand a chance against Audrey while she has Maleficent's staff. 


Mal and Celia seek out Hades in his lair and it’s revealed that Hades is Mal’s father, and Mal calls him out for being absent all of life. Hades quickly agrees to give Mal the ember but also gives her two warnings: the ember won’t work fully for anyone but himself, and don’t get the ember wet. It’s when Mal and the gang try to leave the Isle that they’re interrupted by Uma and her cohorts Harry Hook (son of Captain Hook) and Gil (son of Gaston), who manage to steal the ember from Mal. Uma promises to return the ember under the condition that any VK who wants to can attend Auradon. Mal agrees to these terms despite knowing that she won’t keep up that end of the bargain. 


The gang returns to back to Auradon only for Princess Audrey to throw more obstacles in their path and Mal and Uma to team up and defeat them all. Audrey has managed to turn people to stone and put them under a sleeping spell. Audrey even turns Ben into a beast, which is quickly resolved as Jane survived Audrey’s attack at her birthday party and was able to turn Ben back to normal using water from the lake, because it’s magic water, of course. 


Mal eventually reveals that as Queen of Auradon she plans on closing the barrier for good which causes all of the VKs to be upset and for Uma to ditch Mal (and rightfully so!). Mal tries apologizing to the rest of her friends, Uma and her crew leave and Celia definitely drops the ember in water thus rendering the ember useless. Mal is freaking out and matters become a lot worse when Audrey turns everyone but Mal into stone. At this point Mal has had enough so she turns herself into a dragon, uses her own flames to restore the ember and attempts to fight Audrey who had taken Celia hostage. Despite Mal’s efforts, she isn’t powerful enough to defeat Audrey alone even though she used her own flame to restore the magic of the ember. Uma (very graciously in my opinion) lends Mal a hand as she combines both Mal and her own powers to defeat Audrey, which they do to much success as they win against Audrey. 


Even though they’ve won, Audrey was too overpowered during the fight and is unconscious. Mal is horrified at what she’s done and makes the executive decision to bring in Hades so he can use the ember to resurrect Audrey as the full powers of the ember can only be used by him. It’s here where Mal puts all of her trust in Hades as she gives Hades back the ember even though he could use it’s powers for his own personal gain. Hades follows through with what Mal has asked of him as he revives Audrey and returns back to Isle of the Lost with the Auradon guards but not before he slips Mal the ember. 


After taking into consideration all of the acts of goodness and bravery that the VKs displayed during their battle, Mal prompts the Fairy Godmother to lift the barrier permanently so she and Ben can rule over both Auradon and the Isle. Both citizens of Auradon and the citizens of the Isle embrace each other and Hades pays Mal and Ben a visit to congratulate them on their engagement. The final scene definitely pulls at the heartstrings as Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay hold hands one last time as they run across the new bridge that connects Auradon and the Isle of the Lost. Describing this scene doesn’t do it justice and you can watch Sofia Carson (Evie) describe its significance here


While we here at Rainbow Caverns loved “Descendents 3,” we have some thoughts on the third film and what better way to summarize our thoughts than a bulleted list!


What we loved:


  • We loved that Princess Audrey was the main villain. Sarah Jeffery killed it especially during her song “Queen of Mean.” She also had some killer outfits.

  • We loved the new VKs! It was established that Dizzy and Celia are best friends when Celia gives Dizzy a blanket while she’s under the sleeping spell. If there were to ever be another “Descendents” film it would be neat to be introduced a whole new batch of VKs with Celia and Dizzy at the forefront. 

  • We also liked that Hades (played by Cheyenne Jackson) made Hades his own and did not draw inspiration from animated Hades in the 1997 “Hercules” film. While that version of Hades is iconic, it was nice to see a different portrayal of Hades (think like a cool rocker dude) and not have to be reminded of James Woods, who is a huge Trump supporter. Thank U, Next James!

  • And finally, we absolutely loved Uma. Uma had the right idea in mind when she fought for the right of all VKs to be able to attend Auradon Prep and it was awesome to see Uma and Mal work together to defeat Princess Audrey.


Here’s what we think should have been different…


  • While it was neat to see Mal play off of other characters, we didn’t get much time with the core four (Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos), which we would have liked to see more of since we’ve watched them work together closely as a team in the previous two films. It kind of felt like Jay and Carlos were pushed to the side. 

  • While the songs were great (Kenny Ortega never disappoints), no song in third film could top ‘Chillin Like a Villain’ from “Descendents 2.”

  • Mulan’s daughter Lonnie was not in the film and we missed her!

  • It would have been nice to see Mal and Ben’s wedding (and the dress Evie was going to make for her). 

  • While we liked seeing Audrey as a villain, it would have been neat to see more pushback from Hades. However due to the message of the film that everyone is capable of being good and bad, the plot called for Princess Audrey who is from Auradon to be the villain and that Hades from the Isle to be a hero to prove the movie’s point. 

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