So, with being stuck at home during COVID, my kids and I have had plenty of time to enjoy Disney Plus. Recently we watched The Descendants movies. As we were watching the last one, my oldest looked at me and said, “Mom, this would make a good blog.”
Really? How so?
Well, those kids on Isle have hope to come to Auradon like how we have hope in Heaven.
Alright kid! I will take your challenge.
King Beast and Queen Belle have united all the magical kingdoms and banished the villains to the Isle where no magic can be used. Everyone is held there securely by a magical barrier. That happened like 20 years ago. The first movie picks up as Beast and Belle’s son, Ben, is about to be crowned King. As his first move as King, Ben wants to allow the children on the Isle a chance to live in Auradon. A few at a time. He had already selected his first children, Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen), Carlos (son of Cruella DeVille), and Mal (the daughter of Maleficent).
The first movie deals with the VKs (vilain kids) learning they actually want to be part of Auradon and do not have to be evil like their parents. They get to choose who they want to be. The second movie shows Mal’s struggles as she is trying to be who everyone wants her to be rather than who she is. However, she realizes everyone, especially Ben, has known who she is and they want her to embrace that. However, the 2nd movie also alludes to the plot for the 3rd movie in which the VKs have a desire to let all the VKs have a chance at life on Auradon. Nonetheless, Mal sees the struggle in keeping Auradon safe and allowing VKs to come. In the end they realize, everyone is capable of both good and bad and all deserve a chance to be good.
The 1st movie opens with Mal narrating. She tells the story of how Auradon came to be. She clearly sees a distaste for King Beast as he has forced all the villains on the Isle with no way out. While the story would have been similar, the details and tone would have been completely different if Prince Ben had been narrating this history lesson on Auradon. Something that has become completely clear to me is that your worldview changes the way you see things, process events, and even read history lessons.
When watching these movies for secular entertainment, it’s easy to see the morals of following your heart, but the Bible is clear to guard your heart. Yes, God can speak to your heart, but only if you have a heart for Him. When looking for Christian parallels, there is so much more. Like everyone deserves a chance in the Kingdom of God. We need to reach all people regardless of their upbringing, location, and biases.
Let’s talk about the first movie, here we have these children who grew up on the Isle prison, knowing only the Isle, hearing only about Auradon and its people through the eyes of people who despise them. Early on in the movie, Maleficent tells the four children they are going to Auradon and gives them a task to bring her Fairy Godmother’s magic wand.
The kids take off on a mission to make their parents proud, but quickly find that they like it on Auradon. The food. The sports. The friends. The ability to learn. And yes, the love interest.
While the group of VKs (villain kids) attempt to steal the wand, they are unsuccessful and end up having to go to school. Soon they learn that the wand is used at the Coronation Ceremony and only Prince Ben’s parents and girlfriend can be in the front row. BOOM! It’s time for Ben to get a new girlfriend. The VKs put a spell on Ben, and he falls in love with Mal. However, that spell washes off in the Enchanted Lake. Yet, no one knows that, because Ben really does love Mal.
The King, Queen, and Prince
One of my kids said Ben is like Jesus. And I can definitely see the similarities. Even I was like- um Ben WHY? Throughout all the movies, he is level headed and pushes everyone to be their best. Despite the characters not knowing who they are, he seems to know and encourage them to be that person. Sometimes I wondered if he was even doing his job as King… but he was by empowering Mal and the other characters. He’s almost too good.
But also, his parents! What! Why would the king and queen just let their 16 year old son and his girlfriend make decisions for the entire kingdom! They literally sit back, watch, give some advice, but give their son “Free Will” and embrace his VK girlfriend.
Be Who You were Created to Be
Here’s another lesson that my son pointed this one out to me. Stealing doesn’t make you happy. Relationships don’t make you happy. Hurting people doesn’t make you happy. It just makes it worse. Happiness comes from doing the right thing. Being part of a bigger picture. Being who you were truly called to be.
Jay found happiness in being part of a team. When the coach was trying to explain what a team was to Jay, he started off telling him it was like a family. Of course, our villain kid told the coach, you don’t want to be with my family. So, the coach used the analogy of the body. When the parts work together, they are able to complete a mission.
Paul also described Christians as being part of a body in his letter the Corinthians (12:12-27)… The body of Christ… the Church. There is something special about being part of a body with a similar goal- Heaven!
Evie was taught to be very aware of her beauty. She wanted to marry a prince and used the skill of acting dumb to do so. She learned that she didn’t have to pretend to be anything other than herself and even then, she could still get the guy because she is worthy. Not because of her looks. Not because of anything other than because of who she is.
We also struggle with this. We feel unworthy. We feel we must pretend. We look to the outside appearance rather than the inside. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).” We must remember we are Created in God’s image and our purpose comes from Him. We have value because God gave it to us!
Carlos, the son of Cruella DeVille, was fearful of dogs because, well that’s what his mom taught him. Sadly, he had to learn he was taught incorrectly and that dogs were actually really awesome pets and companions. He ends up with a dog pal who helps him feel loved.
All of these children were looking for purpose, satisfaction, and love in all the wrong places. They had misconceptions that had to be overcome, but once they did, they realized they learned the true identities. In Auradon, they learned they could find happiness in the right places.
Kingdom of God
In a sense, I can see Auradon as a representation of the Kingdom of God. It’s the hope the children from the Isle needed to have a better life. Here they found their purpose. Here they learned how to draw nearer to true happiness. They could truly learn, if they allowed themselves to. Here they were free to make decisions while being gently guided by the King. (I hope you can see the parallels I am making to the Kingdom of God.)
Which is why I love that the second and third movie were geared towards allowing all the VKs an opportunity to live on Auradon. Once our main characters experienced life on Auradon, they wanted to share it with all the VKs still on the Isle.
No one told them to. They desired it. They wanted to share this good news… this good life with those who couldn’t do it on their own.
In the same way, we should want to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with all the lost and hurting. It’s the great commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28)