entertainment 3 days ago

'Descendants 2' continues tale of good vs. evil

Tribune News Service — By Rick Bentley Tribune News Service

July 12-- LOS ANGELES-The 2015 Disney Channel film "Descendants" drew enough viewers to make it the fifth most watched movie in cable TV history. The fact that it reached 12.2 million viewers domestically and has been seen by more than 100 million total viewers worldwide is the kind of thing that gets the attention of cable channel executives.

Videos from the movie have tallied more than 1 billion YouTube views. Just for good measure, toss in the film's soundtrack, ranked No. 1 on Billboard's soundtrack, children's digital album and top albums charts. You would have to be goofy not to think the Disney Channel wouldn't order a sequel.

And they have. Once again, the cast of Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart and Mitchell Hope return to their roles as descendants of some of Disney's most iconic good guys and villains in "Descendants 2." The teens are trying to adjust to a less infamous life in the idyllic Auradon but some don't adjust as well as others. Mal (Cameron) folds under the pressure of trying to be perfect because of her relationship with the son of Belle and the Beast and she returns to her evil roots on the Isle of the Lost.

Only her friends can save Mal and stop all the imprisoned villains from being released. Saving the day comes with a lot of action scenes, dancing and a new soundtrack.

The entire main cast has returned for the sequel plus there are some new faces. Here's a quick look at the stars of "Descendants 2."

Dove Cameron

Plays: Mal, daughter of Maleficent

Also known for: She played Liv and Maddie Rooney on "Liv and Maddie."

What kind of reaction she got from playing Mal: "I had a lot of mothers come up to me and tell me they were happy I was able to play such a strong female character. I had a lot of girls say Mal is their favorite because she's so tough. Now that we have done the thing with the first film of getting to know the characters, this movie cranks up the action. The first film was like we were dating and now we are in a relationship with these people."

Cameron Boyce

Plays: Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil

Also known for: Starred in "Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything."

What he believes makes the franchise work: "It even goes past the original morals we tried to reach people with. The first movie was about finding out who you are, inclusion. Diving deep even if people say this isn't who you are, you can chose who you want to be. They said it made them brave enough to go to school and stand up to bullies. Somehow they were empowered by it. It's crazy to hear some of the stories. For me this is a job but to be able to impact people that much is powerful. It's also a little overwhelming because people look to us as a source to inspire people to better themselves."

Sofia Carson

She plays: Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen

Also known for: Starred in the TV movie "Adventures in Babysitting."

What she's wants viewers to get from the films: "There are so many beautiful messages in the whole 'Descendants' franchise. We were the kids that weren't meant to fit in. We give that lesson that at the end of the day the most important thing in life is to be genuine to who you are. To know that our differences are beautiful. And that is a very important message for kids. When you are growing up you are always a little afraid, a little scared of whether you are going to fit in or not. But, you always have to be who you are. For girls, there's a very beautiful message of girl power. Evie believes she was defined by the image in the mirror but she learns that not who we are. What makes us beautiful is what's in our hearts."

Booboo Stewart

Plays: Jay, Son of Jafar

Also known for: Played Seth in the "Twilight Saga."

Why he thinks the fans like the franchise and why he likes it: "I think that it's something refreshing. You see so many movies about princes and princess and everything is perfect. This is not perfect. The characters are anything but perfect. I think people connected with that. Because we were playing bad so much in the first film, it's refreshing to play good. It's nice when you are playing bad to be a little mean. The first time I found the voice again was when we were doing the songs. The songs embody everything that is 'Descendants.' "

China Anne McClain

She plays: Uma, the daughter of Ursula

Also known for: Playing Chyna Parks in "A.N.T. Farm."

What she says about joining a franchise that's so popular and why it hit so big: "I have been in the Disney system for a while so that helped. I knew Dove (Cameron) and Cameron (Boyce) from before from us all being in the Disney system together. But, it was so scary walking on to the set for the first time. Everybody knew each other and everybody was one big family but they accepted me immediately and all those worries went away. The kids go crazy over the music. That's what connects with so many people because music is universal. So if you get that one song, it's over."

If you want to see "Descendants 2," the Disney Channel Original Movie will debut at 8 p.m. July 21 on the Disney Channel, ABC, Disney XD, Freeform and Lifetime.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.