Two More Weeks!

November has always been a big month for princesses. So many princess movies have premiered the week of Thanksgiving to kick of the holiday season. This year's big holiday princess blockbuster is going to be Frozen 2, which will come out on November 22nd. The excitement starts even earlier this year with ABC's upcoming special The Little Mermaid Live! on November 5th. The special was supposed to air on October 3rd, 2017 but got delayed for two years due to vague production issues. This year is the perfect time to revive it with the movie celebrating its 30th anniversary and revealing Auli'i Cravalho as a special guest at the D23 Expo anniversary celebration panel. Auli'i will be starring as Ariel in this made-for-TV special, not to be confused with the live-action theatrical movie starring Halle Bailey, which is still in pre-production. Disney released this fantastic video last week that gives us a sneak peek of what to expect.

The video contains interview snippets th…

Review: Maleficent 2 (Mistress of Evil)

Maleficent is one of my favorite live-action Disney remakes. It was the only one that tried to do something different with the story it was retelling. Still, I found myself skeptical when I found out that Disney was planning a sequel. It was enough to tell the story from a new perspective without needing to delve further into this alternate Sleeping Beauty universe. Once I saw the trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, however, I started to get pretty excited in spite of myself. It looked like it had a unique story that we've never seen before in a fairy tale setting. Like the first movie, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil takes place in a world where women are strong and powerful and men are either weak or evil. This didn't particularly hinder my enjoyment of the movie as a woman, but I can see how it might be an issue, and so can screenwriter Linda Woolverton.

My favorite thing about Mistress of Evil was watching Princess Aurora blossom into a fierce young queen. This was one …

Never Mess With a Princess

Betrayal has been a common theme among princess shows as of late, and I think that may be something worth exploring a little further. I incorporated an act of betrayal into my own story, The Stolen Jewel, even before it appeared in three of my favorite princess shows. The betrayal of a princess by someone she cares about is a big trend among Disney properties within the past five years or so. It began with the popularity of Frozen which had a novel twist for a Disney movie in which Anna's true love turned out to be using her for power and tried to kill both her and her sister. Once Frozen became the cultural phenomenon that it did, Disney decided to duplicate the formula with varying results. In my opinion, the most effective of these was Cassandra's betrayal of Rapunzel. The Tangled series gave us over two years to feel as close to Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting as she did, which made it sting that much more when she stabbed her in the back during the previous season's fi…

Goodbye, Equestria

After nine seasons, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has finally ended. This show had a lengthy history and a tremendous impact on princess culture. It concluded with a flash forward of an adult Princess Twilight Sparkle taking on the role and physical attributes of her mentor, Princess Celestia. The finale taught us that it's still possible to keep in touch with our friends after we get older and go our separate ways, a message that resonates more with the adult fans of the series than it would for its target audience. That makes sense because someone who started watching the series as a child would be a teenager or an adult by the end of its nine-year run. However, Friendship Is Magic has always had a surprisingly large adult fanbase, which is different from earlier incarnations of The My Little Pony franchise that date back the '80s. What is about this version that attracted such a wide and diverse audience?

One reason that 2010 incarnation of My Little Pony stood out so…

Review: Elena of Avalor - The Magic Within

I watched today's Elena of Avalor special, The Magic Within, expecting a drawn-out about Elena getting new powers that cause her dress to change color with her emotions using them to win a temporary victory over her current foe, Ash Delgado. All of this happened within the first few minutes, and then I got something I did not expect--Elena coming to terms with her cousin Esteban's deception. Betrayal has been an ongoing theme in princess shows as of late. Last week's Tangled season premier, Rapunzel's Return saw Rapunzel dealing with the effects of Cassandra's betrayal. The new season of Disenchantment had Bean struggling with her conflicted feelings after learning that her mother was actually evil. Esteban's betrayal of Elena was a little different from these, however, because it happened long before the beginning of the series.

The third season of Elena of Avalor premiered last week and left me underwhelmed compared to the massive revelations in Tangled. Now …

Disney Princess Majestic Quest Is Here!

When I attended the D23 Expo last month, one of the things I was most excited about was the chance to play a demo of the new Match 3 cell phone app, Disney Princess Majestic Quest. The ads for this game taunted me on social media for months, dating back to before they had even selected a title. I took an online survey to share my opinion on which of three titles I thought would work best--Disney Princess Gems, Disney Princess Match, or Disney Princess Majestic Quest. It was a long wait before I could finally download the game on my own smart device, and I am pleased to say it was well worth it. The game was advertised to only include Jasmine and Belle at launch, even though there was a big Ariel billboard for it on display at the D23 Expo. When it became available, I was surprised to see that not only was Ariel included in the launch, but she was also featured the game's menu icon.

If you're not familiar with Match 3 games, they are a digital craze that was made popular by Be…

Review: Tangled - Rapunzel's Return

There are few season premieres as anticipated as the third season of Tangled. The season 2 finale, Destinies Collide, left fans with chills as Cassandra betrayed Rapunzel within the final seconds of the episode by snatching the Moonstone Opal right out of her hands. I avoided jumping too deep into the fan theory vortex since only one explanation for Cassandra's actions would ever truly be canon. That explanation came within the opening minutes of today's season premiere, Rapunzel's Return. It was a shocking twist of events, but not one that was completely unfounded. According to series creator Chris Sonnenburg, the final season of this series had been planned since the beginning, which is made clear by Cassandra's character design as well as some subtle foreshadowing in the second season. Let's just say Rapunzel and Cassandra have a lot more in common than they may have thought.

For me, the most disappointing thing about Rapunzel's Return was learning Cassandra…

Thoughts on a Live-Action Snow White

Disney recently announced that they will begin production on the live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This announcement was a long time coming, beginning with plans for a movie featuring Snow White's sister Rose Red from the fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red" before ultimately deciding to go back to their standard route of lazily recreating something they already made. This wouldn't be the first live-action portrayal of Snow White for Disney. Ginnifer Goodwin starred as the fair-skinned princess for six seasons on ABC's Once Upon a Time, which was owned and shamelessly plugged by Disney. In my opinion, there are very few actresses who can convey the same combination of innocence, spirit, and altruism that Ginnifer brought to the character. In 2012, there were two live-action adaptations of "Snow White"in theaters from competing studios, neither of which were Disney. Still, this announcement marks the first time that Disney is remaki…

Review: Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

There are a ton of cultural discrepancies involved in the production and distribution of the recent "Snow White"parody movie, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, and I mean a ton. It was produced by a Korean animation studio called Locus Animation. Despite having been around for roughly a decade according to their website, they have never produced an animated movie before this one. Even though the main characters look vaguely Korean and one uses ofuda talismans as an attack, the movie has a full cast of American voice actors. You may have heard of Red Shoes from the controversy it caused at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where numerous people complained about a billboard for the movie featuring a skinny and fat version of Snow White with the tag line "What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?" This billboard sparked anger from the western world about the princess body image issue over to the implication that being skinny is equivalent to…

Review: The Dragon Princess

The fairy tale retelling/reimagining genre is huge in novel world right now. I realize that most of my reviews cover books in this genre, but putting the word "princess" in the title or having a princess as a protagonist is still enough to compel me to read a book. When I wrote my last novella, The Stolen Jewel, I didn't want to make another adaptation because I wanted to tell my own original fairy tale. In the case of The Dragon Princess by Lichelle Slater (not to be confused with The Last Dragon Princess, which I also reviewed), I would say that the subtitle "Sleeping Beauty Reimagined" is a detriment. I've read other "Sleeping Beauty" adaptations that stray far from the original fairy tale, but here, it felt so forced that the story would have actually benefited from not including the reference at all. The Forgotten Kingdom series stands perfectly well on its own as an original princess fantasy series.

The Dragon Princess starts very slow and to…

Frozen 2 Trailer 2

The Frozen 2 hype comes to a crescendo today with with the second full-length trailer that gives us more information about this upcoming sequel than ever. Other sources reveal names for several new characters from the movie, including Honeymaren, a young woman who was in the first teaser, and her brother Ryder, who is similar to Kristoff in both appearance and personality. This trailer also reveals footage of Anna and Elsa's parents, who were reported to be part of a flashback sequence at this year's D23 Expo. Couple that with some adorable Anna dialogue and more epic footage of the Nokk, and we have the best trailer Disney has released for this movie so far!

It starts out with a traditional narration that foreshadows the Enchanted Forest that Anna and Elsa would travel to later on. The narrator is then revealed as their father, King Agnarr, who tells them a bedtime story in a flashback from when they are children. We also briefly see their mother, Queen Iduna, even though sh…

Review: Disenchantment - Part 2

I had high hopes for the second season, or "part," of Disenchantment, even though I was mildly disappointed with the first set of episodes. Having a show about a princess who wants to be a good person but constantly makes bad decisions is pretty ground-breaking for a genre of characters who always do the right thing as second nature. Princess Bean follows in the footsteps of Fry and Homer Simpson from Matt Groening's other shows, but she stands out as his first female protagonist. After these new episodes of Disenchantment, I'm beginning to think he does a better job making his side characters interesting than his protagonists. All of his leads tend to be simple-minded drunkards whose sole purpose is to give the average viewer someone to relate to. I might be biased, but I think the most interesting character in The Simpsons is Lisa Simpson, not Homer, and the most interesting character in Futurama is Leela, not Fry. In the case of Disenchantment, I would give that a…

Elena Is Coming Back in a Big Way

Last week, I wrote about how Tangled: The Series would return to Disney Channel on October 7th with a new episode every weekday for two weeks. As it turns out, Rapunzel will not be alone in this endeavor. I'm not sure why it wasn't announced at the time, but we now have official confirmation that new episodes of the third and final season of Elena of Avalor will air alongside Tangled starting October 7th. This news accompanied other announcements about the final season of Elena, such as a list of upcoming guest stars that includes Auli'i Cravalho, the leading voice of Moana, who will also star as Ariel in the upcoming November 5th live special to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid. Is this girl living the princess dream or what?

Elena of Avalor began as a spin-off of Sofia the First and broke boundaries as the first Latina Disney Princess. She currently does regular meet'n'greets at Walt Disney World alongside Cinderella. The show had a rocky star…