‘Descendants’ gets animated; Disney cooking show turns up heat

Rick's Reviews

“Descendants: The Royal Wedding” is part of a full night of original programming for Disney Channel on Aug. 13. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

There have been three movies and a short form series in the Disney Channel franchise of “Descendants” since it launched in 2015. All of those projects have told the tale of the offsprings of some of the heroes and villains of Disney fame.

Booboo Stewart has played Jay – the son of Jafar – in all three films. After the third installment, the California native was certain that the trilogy had fully told the stories. Then he was presented with “Descendants: The Royal Wedding” slated to debut on the Disney Channel at 9:40 p.m. Aug. 13.

He was intrigued in how the latest offering in the franchise was to be presented as an animated project – making a full circle back to the animated characters at the heart of the live-action “Descendants” projects.

“I was surprised but I do feel like it makes sense,” Stewart says. “I feel like we are able to have everybody in the movie especially during this time of COVID.

“It’s going to be presented in a new way.”

 “Descendants: The Royal Wedding” takes place during the wedding of Maleficent’s daughter Mal (Dove Cameron) and Belle and the Beast’s offspring King Ben (Mitchell Hope) in Auradon. It is their chance for a happily-ever-after. But no one counted on Hades (Cheyenne Jackson) showing up and making a hellish mess. 

Jackson’s portrayal of Hades didn’t start until the third “Descendants” film but he’s been part of the program long enough to hear what fans are saying about the movies.

“I get recognized all the time by young kids and I’ve never had that before. I’ve never been in something that kids could even see,” Jackson says. “What people love about ‘Descendants’ are these larger than life – but relatable – characters who are all overcoming struggles in their own lives.

“It’s positive. It’s bright. And, it’s uplifting.”

The characters may be animated rather than real but as far as Stewart is concerned, one important thing remains the same. Just like the three previous movies, he sees “The Royal Wedding” as a project that will inspire and motivate people.

The cast of “Descendants: The Royal Wedding” also includes Sofia Carson as Evie, Sarah Jeffery as Audrey, Melanie Paxson as Fairy Godmother, China Anne McClain as Uma, Jedidiah Goodacre as Chad, Anna Cathcart as Dizzy, Dan Payne as Beast and Bobby Moynihan as Dude the Dog.

A magical recipe

The new competition series “Disney’s Magic Bake-Off” also is scheduled to premiere on Aug. 13. It will debut after “Descendants: The Royal Wedding,” with new episodes airing Friday evenings.

The new one-hour competitive series – aimed at youngsters from the ages of 6-14 – combines the wonder of baking with the ingenuity of young pastry chefs as they create cakes inspired by the magic of Disney.

Co-hosts Dara Reneé (“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”) and Issac Ryan Brown(“Raven’s Home”), along with Disneyland resort pastry chef Graciela Gomez,guide the kid bakers through challenges and unexpected twists all designed to elevate the contestants’ baking abilities, techniques and creativity to new culinary heights.

The hosts not only keep the competition movie but they both serve as super cheerleaders for the bakers. Brown explains their upbeat nature is nothing more than the natural high energy they both have and their chemistry.

“We play so well off each other,” Brown says. “I will say that Dara comes in every day – no matter when we have a call – with high energy.”

Both hosts worked on the TV series “black-ish” and have been involved with voice over work. But, they did not meet until being brought together for the show.

Reneé calls her co-host a “comic genius” who can work quickly on his feet. That makes the entire process feel more like they are just having fun and not worrying that every moment is perfect. The main purpose of the show is to make sure everyone is relaxed, they are having a good time and contestants are just being themselves.

Brown sees their primary duty as the hosts is to keep the show going.

“We have to make sure that the show gets from point A to point B. That’s making the kids feel comfortable, telling a joke or inserting a magic bake break,” Brown says.

There’s a lot for them to talk about as imagination rules and teamwork triumphs as three teams of two race against the clock to design a Disney-inspired cake. Their challenges include being inspired by such projects from the company as “Star Wars,” “The Lion King,” “Toy Story,” “Descendants” and “Zombies.”

How well one team does will earn them the title of Disney Baking Champion. Their winning recipe will become a featured video available on Disney Channel.

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