Descendants: The Rise of Red review

How to Watch

Descendants: The Rise of Red

A New Dawn in Auradon

The anticipation surrounding "Descendants: The Rise of Red" was palpable. As a fan of the Descendants franchise, I eagerly awaited the latest film, wondering how it would incorporate beloved characters and the tantalizing lore of Disney villains. Upon watching, I found myself both delighted and surprised by the creative direction and engaging performances that brought this story to life.

The Return of Familiar Faces

The Return of Familiar Faces

One of the most exciting aspects of "The Rise of Red" was seeing some of my favorite characters back on screen. China Anne McClain’s performance as Uma, now headmaster of Auradon Prep, was a standout. Her presence brought a sense of continuity and authority to the storyline. Uma’s transformation from a rebellious sea witch’s daughter to a respected leader is both believable and compelling.

Introducing New Heroines

The film's co-leads, Red and Chloe Charming, were equally intriguing. Kylie Cantrall, as Red, the daughter of the Queen of Hearts, depicted a young princess torn between loyalty to her mother and her own moral compass. Malia Baker as Chloe Charming was the perfect embodiment of the idealistic and detail-oriented daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Their dynamic was one of the film's strongest elements, showing how children of villains and heroes alike can forge their own paths.

A Journey Through Time

The concept of time travel added a fresh layer to the franchise's narrative. Red and Chloe's mission to rewrite the traumatic past of Red’s mother was immersive and allowed for some beautifully crafted timelines. Seeing the young Queen of Hearts and Cinderella interact in their youth provided a touching insight into their eventual rivalry.

Wonderland Wonder

Visually, the film excelled in its depiction of Wonderland. Director Jennifer Phang drew inspiration from the classic 1951 animated "Alice in Wonderland," and the homage is evident in the whimsical and surreal set designs. The flamboyant colors and peculiar architecture felt authentic, bringing an air of magic that is quintessential to Disney films.

Choreographed Mastery

Choreographed Mastery

The action sequences were intricately choreographed, seamlessly blending storytelling with physicality. Phang’s commitment to making these scenes emotionally poignant was evident. One particular sequence in the Queen of Hearts’ labyrinth was not only thrilling but also deepened our understanding of Red's internal struggles.

Musical Brilliance

Music has always been an integral part of the Descendants series, and "The Rise of Red" did not disappoint. Featuring both original tracks and beloved Disney classics, the soundtrack was a musical feast. The standout song for me was "What's My Name (Red Version)," a powerful anthem that captured Red’s fierce independence and determination.

Casting Magic

A notable addition to the cast was Rita Ora, who was the Queen of Hearts. Ora's portrayal was intense and menacing, bringing a complexity to the character that was both chilling and fascinating. Morgan Dudley’s portrayal of young Cinderella and Ruby Rose Turner as the young Queen of Hearts was equally impressive, adding depth and nuance to their eventual confrontation.

Humor and Heart

The film balanced its darker themes with moments of genuine humor and warmth. Leonardo Nam’s Maddox, the son of the Mad Hatter, provided comic relief that felt organic to the story. His eccentricity and charm were endearing without detracting from the central narrative.

A Celebration of Legacy

Brandy Norwood and Paolo Montalban's reprising their roles as Cinderella and King Charming was a sentimental nod to the 1997 "Cinderella" TV adaptation. Their on-screen chemistry was delightful, and their presence in the film bridged generations of Disney storytelling.

A Celebration of Legacy

Emotional Depth

The heart of "The Rise of Red" lay in its exploration of family and redemption. Red’s attempt to save her mother from her villainous fate was poignant, illustrating the complexities of parent-child relationships. Chloe’s journey of understanding and accepting her family's imperfections also offered profound emotional resonance.

Visually Captivating

Phang’s direction ensured that each scene was visually arresting. From the gothic grandeur of Auradon Prep to the surreal beauty of Wonderland, every location was meticulously crafted to enhance the film's fairytale atmosphere. The use of visual effects to enhance these settings was subtle yet effective.

Consistent Narrative

Despite the insertion of new story components, the movie maintained a consistent flow of narrative. The screenplay by Dan Frey and Russell Sommer was tight, ensuring that every subplot converged meaningfully by the climax. This careful pacing made the film's two-hour runtime fly by.

Inspiring young viewers

The message of forging one’s path, regardless of one's lineage, was inspiring. Red and Chloe’s journey affirmed that one's heritage does not define one’s destiny, an empowering theme for young audiences. This positive narrative is a hallmark of the Descendants franchise.

Inspiring young viewers

Final Verdict: A Triumphant Addition

"Descendants: The Rise of Red" is a robust and vibrant continuation of the beloved series. It blends new characters with returning favorites, retaining the magic that has made Descendants a cultural phenomenon. The film's exploration of time, redemption, and identity offers both entertainment and valuable life lessons.


  • Strong performances by lead and returning cast members;
  • Visually stunning settings, particularly Wonderland;
  • Effective use of time travel as a narrative device;
  • Intricate and emotionally charged action sequences;
  • A soundtrack that balances original and classic Disney songs;
  • Powerful themes of redemption and self-discovery;
  • Successful integration of new characters with the established cast.


  • Some secondary characters could have used more development;
  • A few CGI moments were less convincing;
  • At times, the plot felt slightly predictable.

Ultimately, "Descendants: The Rise of Red" is a spellbinding addition to the franchise, capturing the essence of Disney magic while introducing new elements that ensure its continued relevance and appeal.

To download the app, you will get links to the Official Website and/or official digital markets.