Critical Condition: Disenchantment

Disenchantment | Netflix, from Friday

➢➢ Disenchantment, Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s new animated fantasy parody for Netflix, uses the same art style that’s been the cartoonist’s trademark his entire career. Sweet, hapless Elfo (Nat Faxon) doesn’t look too far removed from Lisa and Maggie’s beloved Happy Little Elves; an obnoxious prince gets transformed into a swine form that could pass for Simpsons Movie scene-stealer Spider-Pig. But if the figures and architecture seem familiar … the show’s visual style as a whole is routinely more adventurous and exciting than what we’ve come to expect even from the HD incarnation of The Simpsons.” — Rolling Stone.

➢➢ “Playing against the seriousness and self-glorification of so much sword-clanging fantasy, it makes the most of slapstick pestilence and the absurdist misery of peasants, revisiting history as farce. The scenes are quick and punchy, yet the episodes, unfolding serially, are long and sometimes sluggish … The season is perhaps most satisfying if consumed in a binge, so that its questing convolutions feel like the motions of a languorous epic.” — The New Yorker.

➢➢ “Seeks to do for fantasy what The Simpsons did for family sitcoms — generate laughs by pushing a genre to its limits. As Groening’s biggest hit vamped off of TV’s traditional families by depicting a father who wasn’t just clueless but a boor, so does Disenchantment feature a princess who’s not just a sprightly rebel, as in other fantasy stories, but outright devious, fueled by booze and encouraged by a demon. The show’s use of fairy-tale convention generates the best laughs, but the serialised storyline and the baggy running time (the pilot is 35 minutes) keep it from soaring.” — Variety.

➢➢ “It also forces the acknowledgment that although The Simpsons and Futurama launched with evolving characters, world design and comedic voice, both shows had tremendous episodes in their early batches, classics that illustrated their boundless potential. While Disenchantment boasts a distinctively fresh environment, a splendid vocal cast and some eye-popping visuals, the first seven episodes offer frequent chuckle-inducing diversions but no one installment that clearly shouts, ‘Here. This is the special show Disenchantment wants to become.'” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢➢ “This isn’t really aiming to be the Futurama of fantasy. Which is a good thing — I’m not sure there’s room left for a full-fledged parody of this well-traveled genre … But maybe Disenchantment would’ve benefited from more specificity. As it is, the show’s backdrop feels generically grim-historic, all leech jokes and plague jokes, the ‘Bring out your dead!’ scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except as a whole show.” — Entertainment Weekly.

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