Princess Audrey Becomes the Queen of Mean in Descendants 3!

It's hard to get excited about something as cringe-worthy as Descendants, which premiered on Disney Channel in 2015 as a blatant ripoff of Mattel's Ever After High. It was followed up with an even more cringe-worthy sequel in 2017 that barely had any semblance of a plot. These movies seemed like an easy cash-grab to show off the singing and dancing talents of various Disney Channel teens by turning them into rebellious offspring of classic animated Disney characters who jump around in leather '90s grunge and brightly colored hair. They focused mainly on the villains' kids, with the cliché message that you shouldn't judge people by first impressions. That's all well and good, but there weren't many royal children to demonstrate that princesses aren't always sugar sweet either. The only token princess to fill this role was Audrey, the daughter of Princess Aurora from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Instead of being polite and loving, Audrey comes off as a spoiled and entitled brat, likely as a result of being raised by someone who got everything she wanted in the end. While this would have made for a great reversal of the common princess trope, Audrey was usually left in the background until Descendants 3 premiered his weekend.


"Audrey's Royal Return" was a promotional short that came out a few weeks before the premiere of Descendants 3 that featured Princess Audrey recounting the events of the previous two movies while receiving a full Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique-style princess makeover treatment. She emerges with killer pink and blue highlights in her hair and a modern-day version of Aurora's pink dress with pants underneath. "Ben's going to be sorry he ever let this go," she says, referencing how Prince Ben, the son of Belle and Beast, dumped her without a second thought in the first Descendants movie for Mal, the daughter of Maleficent and series protagonist. This promo video was a great refresher of what happened so far without all the cringe-worthy pop dance numbers as well as a hint of what was to come in the new sequel. No longer was Audrey going to prick her finger on the spindle of fate like her mother did before her. This princess was ready to fight back.

Fortunately for us, Descendants 3 was true to its promise to unleash Audrey's wrath as the movie's biggest foe. For the first time since the series began, actress Sarah Jeffery had an opportunity to shine in the song "Queen of Mean," where she asserts her power as a true Disney royal. By the time the song is over, Audrey undergoes yet another full transformation from Disney Princess to wicked sorceress. I love that this song represents how even Disney Princesses don't always do the right thing, but it suffers from the autotuned bubblegum pop sound of all the other songs from the Descendants movies. The verses are performed through talk-singing instead of an actual melody. This isn't a dig at Sarah's talent but instead bad songwriting, something that each movie has suffered from since the beginning. When "Queen of Mean" reaches its crescendo, however, we can hear the full breadth of Sarah's talent, making me wish that she had more screen time since the beginning. Maybe she would have had a song that was actually worthy of her talent.


The concept of good princesses turning bad after being scorned in love is not particularly common as far as Disney movies go. Even Anna from Frozen was hurt but not angered by Hans' betrayal. Audrey's behavior is more reminiscent of Emily from Corpse Bridewhich was produced by Warner Brothers, not Disney, than it was of a traditional Disney villain. This movie worked so much better than the first two because it's something that was a long time coming and should have been addressed much earlier. In the original Descendants, we're just supposed to go along with Ben dumping Audrey with it because Mal is the main character, even though she tricked Ben with a love spell. We're never given a real reason why Ben was with Audrey or why he chose Mal over her. Of course, Audrey doesn't take it very well and comes off as a bit of a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but who wouldn't after getting dumped for the daughter of their mother's worst enemy? Audrey was long overdue for a revenge scheme.

I hope that Descendants 3 will be the last movie in the Descendants line so Disney can be respectful to the late Cameron Boyce, who played Carlos, one of the four main villain kids, and had a nice tribute video at the end of Descendants 3. However, I wish that the story addressed in this movie had taken place at from very beginning to eliminate the need for sequels. Audrey had been pushed aside like yesterday's meatloaf and yet had nothing to say about it until now. This movie worked better than the other two because it was the only one that actually made sense. If we shouldn't judge villain kids as evil, then we shouldn't judge princess kids before getting to know them either. You never know if there's another Queen of Mean just waiting to happen.

Comments

The lady of royal manners said…
I felt Audrey like an entitled brat all along the movie, but maybe it was because her behavior reminded me of Sophie, from the book The school for good and evil (by Soman Chainani, only the first is good, but whatever.) Sophie was the blonde, all dressed in pink girl who always dreamed to be a princess. Her best friend Agatha was the black haired, strange, sullen girl. Still, in school, the first was taught to be a witch and the second a princess despite everyone expect it would the other around...Because, guess what, Sophie is a bad girl and Agatha is good (so yes, appearances are deceiving). So it is not Sophie who get the prince charming (Tedros) but Agatha, and Sophie turn mad as a result, getting an evil makeover at the end of book one. In the second, Tedros asks her directly why he should have chosen her instead, Sophie go into a speech explaining the she always wanted to be a queen, thinks she deserves it, feel entitled to it...and Tedros answers, "You never said you wanted to marry me, because you love me."

I felt this was the same here. Audrey did not looked like she was in love with Ben, but with the function. So I did not felt sorry for her. Even Belle, who's tolerance incarnated, said Audrey was a " kiss-up".
Lisa Dawn said…
Thanks for your comment. I also thought she came off as a brat in all three movies, but I didn't feel like she realized her true potential until the third one, which was a tragic waste of the actress's talent.

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