Out this week on Disney+ is Godmothered. Godmothered is a film that promises to give you a fairytale you’ve never seen before but it won’t be long after the credits that you’ll realise this is an all too familiar story.
The film opens with the usual narrator giving us a rundown on the story of Eleanor (Jillian Bell). Eleanor is the youngest fairy godmother and she attends a school that trains them. She is also potentially the last fairy godmother as it seems like the world no longer needs the magic of these ancient keepers of hope. Another reason is that the fairy godmothers are marred in tradition and have become stagnant. They’re not moving with the times and so they are stuck, left to decay like fossils. Finding out that the school is closing and she may have to become a tooth fairy, Eleanor sets off to the human world to bring a young charge their happy ever after.
When she arrives to meet Mackenzie Walsh, she learns much to her horror that Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) has grown up and become completely disillusioned. Her only hope now is to try and get Mackenzie to some semblance of happiness in her life now. Several questions are raised. Will Eleanor be able to achieve this? Why isn’t having a loving relationship with her two daughters enough for Mackenzie and the most important question of all, how are fairies allergic to shellfish, they’re not human?
Godmothered or not bothered?
Godmothered is quite a lazy affair. The storytelling is lacklustre, the motivations of the characters are uninspired and the score feels somewhat insincere.
I’ll begin with the storytelling. The film doesn’t set up a compelling narrative. Even though there is a ticking clock to disaster you never feel worried. The main reason is you barely feel connected to the world of the fairy godmothers, or should I call it “The Motherland”?
This is the magical realms name, and the jokes write themselves and no one in the film brings them up, which is an utter waste. The realm is basically the same two bad CGI sets. The classroom where the godmothers are taught and a clock tower where our narrator resides for most of the film.
This is further made uninteresting by Jillian Bells performance as Eleanor. She is so sugary sweet you’ll get a toothache within the first five minutes of the film. She is also somewhat of a dunce. The film plays her as a fish out of water. She doesn’t know what cars are, wonders how women can drive etc. This is not endearing and her infuriating behaviour, when she is not listening to Mackenzie, makes her all the more annoying.
It doesn’t help that Mackenzie is utterly charmless. I couldn’t root for her when she is putting down her daughter. There are multiple moments where Mackenzie’s daughter is trying desperately to pluck up the courage to sing and Mackenzie comes in and metaphorically smacks her down. She reminds her of every failure and it’s tough to watch.
No bibbidi bobbidi boo for you
As well as uninspired performances there is also no real magic in the film, both in its themes or visuals. Director Sharon Maguire has gone for a story akin to Enchanted and unfortunately, as another pretender to that particular crown, this film feels like a usurper rather than its own fairytale.
While Enchanted had some genuinely beautiful moments enhanced by impressive CGI, Godmothered has shabby visual magic which is worrying as ILM were the team behind this film. The design of Godmothered felt like a Disney Channel Original Movie rather than something the premier streaming service Disney+ would put out.
If the film has any saving graces the comedy does hit at points, but they are the most base of humour. Someone knocking into another person and causing bodily harm was genuinely one of the times I chuckled.
Godmothered also continues the trend that Frozen started with its unconventional happy endings, and at this point in the Disney canon of releases, this feels quite hollow when the rest of the film surrounding this message is so poor.
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