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Review/Recap: "Wizards Smack-down: Alex Vs. Alex"

Alicia Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff

JAKE. T. AUSTIN, GREGG SULKIN, SELENA GOMEZ, MARIA CANALS-BARRERA, DAVID DELUISE, JENNIFER STONE. Photo Credit: DISNEY CHANNEL/ERIC MCCANDLESS.
JAKE. T. AUSTIN, GREGG SULKIN, SELENA GOMEZ, MARIA CANALS-BARRERA, DAVID DELUISE, JENNIFER STONE. Photo Credit: DISNEY CHANNEL/ERIC MCCANDLESS.

The entertainment world is a buzz with talk of Selena Gomez. The 20 year old actress has been working hard with her raunchy new flick, Spring Breakers, coming to theaters this Friday, two other films to be released this year, and the recent premiere of the Wizards of Waverly Place reunion The Wizards Return: Alex vs Alex.

After promoting Spring Breakers around the world and repeatedly telling reporters she wants to move on to more serious, edgy films and leave her Disney rep behind, Disney fans everywhere get their last taste of Alex Russo’s sassy charm, as they watch her “save the world…again.”

It’s no doubt that Wizards has a good following, the show came at a crucial time in Disney history where it reaches two generations. The show began 5 years ago when, college freshmen such as myself, were in middle school. The characters were my age, and my personality bares a striking resemblance to Alex’s so the show quickly became a favorite of mine. As I grew, Alex grew with me. And for the little kids that watch it nowadays, their first experience with the show was probably the movies, or the last season. Then they spent their time watching reruns and getting to know the characters that way.

What is great about Wizards, though, is they knew when to end it. A reunion episode, however good the intention, gives me a bad feeling that they will never put the show to rest. With awful spinoffs like Suite Life on Deck, Jessie, and Corey in the House, I am worried Disney will do a “Werewolves of Waverly Place” spinoff with Mason, Alex’s werewolf boyfriend, and have Selena Gomez guest star on occasion.

Nevertheless, the reunion episode kept up with that good ol’ Disney plot. Powerful female lead makes a mistake and people turn on her, she has an identity crisis and tries to change herself, and in the end goes into a heartfelt soliloquy where she realizes she is perfect the way she is and shouldn’t change for anyone…and then she saves the world. This is the plot for at least 13 Disney channel original movies that I can think of.

But to sum up the major plot points, our heroine, snarky, selfish, and powerful Alex Russo, became the family wizard. Being the only person in her household with magic, she begins to use it for everything, for very selfish and lazy reasons. Her parents call her out and tell her that with great power, comes great responsibility and it is “time to grow up.”

Alex is upset that her parents disapprove of her use of magic. She is under the impression they think her brother Justin, the scholar of the family, should have been the family wizard. She decides to change her personality, “the parts that nobody likes,” with magic to be a better person. So basically she changes her whole personality. She splits herself into a good Alex, and a bad Alex that holds all of her negative qualities.

Enter Dominic, a dashing and suave wizard, played by Beau Mirchoff of Awkward. It turns out he is actually crazy, and is planning a very comically flawed, a la Harry Potter plan to rid the world of humans and create a purely magical society ruled by wizards…but mostly ruled by him.

Then, evil Alex gets out- shocker- and teams up with Dominic to take over the world. They capture Alex’s loved ones, set up a ridiculous contraption Dominic named after himself to rid the world of humans. Alex and Alex become ninjas and have an epic battle; good Alex defeats evil Alex, saves her family, undoes the spell to change her personality, Mason pushes Dominic off the top of the leaning tower of Pisa, and Alex saves the world again. Classic Disney.

Everything is fine until Alex is taken into custody by the Crystals of Justice-yes, that’s what they are called- and her magic is taken away. The crystals see a change of heart in Alex and decide to give her magic back. They rejoice, and live happily ever after. Why? ‘Cause friendship. The end.

Although I had reservations about this episode, they actually did a great job. From a TV critic’s perspective, there were no superfluous scenes that didn’t propel the plot, which Disney is known for. The characters were consistent, as were back-stories. There weren’t even any plot holes. Even though I am a 19 year old girl watching a kids tv show, I still found it entertaining. One thing the writers of Wizards are good at is maintaining jokes that play for older and younger viewers. The physical comedy and campy acting style of the villains plays to younger kids, whereas the sarcasm and irony entertain people like me.

Even though this is a quality show, it wouldn’t be Disney if there weren’t some truly ridiculous events throughout. For example, both Alex’s suddenly become ninjas when they have to fight each other; and instead of fighting with magic, they have judo match on a jumbo-tron. Or the fact that they defeat the villain by pushing him off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is a pretty gruesome death for a Disney show.

All in all, they did a good job. I see this as a very nice send off for Wizard’s fans and an excellent last Disney effort for Selena Gomez. Now I am absolutely positive my feelings towards her will change after I see spring breakers, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

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One Comment

  1. there were quite a lot of mistakes and plot holes though in the movie. like near the end, one minute the bad alex has no wand, after the good alex jumps over her and takes it and blows the bad alex into pieces with the (bad alex) wand, and then the next few minutes the bad alex reappears and …holding her own (bad) wand!
    and magic can’t go into the prison cell alex is in, but mason being a werewolf (werewolf – magic there too) can break cell! loads of mistakes and plot holes!

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