Posts

Review: The Cursed Prince

Image
Aya Ling recently released The Cursed Prince, the third and final book in her Reversed Retellings series. Of the three fairy tales that she covered, I think the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale lends itself to gender-reversal the best without changing the themes of the original story because the roles of the protagonists have are not affected by their physical strength or conventional beauty stereotypes. Till Midnight, the first book in the Reversed Retellings series, changed the plot of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by requiring the princes to battle trolls at night instead of dance at a ball, which made them more conventionally masculine. In The Beast and the Beauty, Lady Sybil attempted to use magic, fashion, and makeup to make herself look more presentable to suitors in spite of her monstrous appearance, which are conventionally feminine things that we never saw the Beast do in "Beauty and the Beast." In contrast, the main character in "Sleeping Be…

Let's Welcome Disney's First Jewish Princess!

Image
When I first learned that Elena of Avalor was going to do a Hanukkah episode, I was hoping for a two-part special like The Magic Within that would provide enough time for the first Jewish Disney Princess to assert her individual identity outside of being Jewish. However, just like the Maccabees, I will make the most of what I've been given. "Festival of Lights" came out today as a single episode that focused almost entirely on Jewish characters celebrating Hanukkah, and I do not want to downplay the historical significance of it in any way, shape, or form. I've seen many holiday princess specials, and this is the first one that Disney has released about characters who grew up with the same traditions as me. This is so important because it normalizes Judaism for today's audience of children by showing them that not all fairy tale princesses celebrate Christmas.


"Festival of Lights" had a similar story to most Christmas specials except that it was about H…

New Mulan Trailer Reaction

Image
Disney released the new trailer for their live-action remake of Mulan today, and it's... fine, I guess. The trailer confirmed many of the rumors that were flying around since the movie began production such as how Mushu will be replaced with a silent phoenix and Shan Yu would be replaced with a new villain. We hear an instrumental track of "Reflections" throughout the trailer, but none of the actors drop their serious expressions to break into song at any point. That's because this movie is not going to be a musical. Even though the original movie had only four songs in it, they took place at four of the most memorable points in the story and carried the story in a fun and entertaining manner. Without Mulan singing her heart out about how her reflection doesn't show who she is inside or Shang belting out "I'll Make a Man Out of You" as he trains his troops, the movie loses many of the elements that made it so nostalgic, and without Mushu's anti…

Review: The Siren Princess

Image
The "Little Mermaid" nerd in me could not resist reviewing another adaptation of my favorite fairy tale. The Siren Princess is the second book in The Forgotten Kingdom series by Lichelle Slater. Its prequel, The Dragon Princess, had very little to do with "Sleeping Beauty," so I wasn't too surprised to find that The Siren Princess also had very little to do with the fairy tale it was based on. In fact, it had more in common with Peter Pan than it did with "The Little Mermaid" with a love interest who was none other than Captain Hook himself. This romantic version of Captain Hook was polite and heroic unlike Emma Swan's rough-around-the-edges beau from Once Upon a Time. There were a lot of random name references to Disney's The Little Mermaid, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but the characters' personalities bore no resemblance to the ones they were named after. Like its predecessor, I thought …

Review: The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

Image
There are precious few video games that allow you to play as a princess who does something other than dress up or recover the royal jewels. Until recently, Child of Light was the only game I knew of for modern consoles that fit those criteria. That's why I was eager to play The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince when it went on sale in the PlayStation Store. Its storybook illustration aesthetic and sidescrolling gameplay look so similar to Child of Light that I mistakenly thought it was made by the same people at first. Once I actually started playing, it became clear that The Liar Princess has a much smaller budget and a more linear world. Instead of the colorful cast and robust battle command menus from Child of Light, The Liar Princess's story is told entirely by a single Japanese narrator accompanied by cutscenes of an illustrated storybook that depicting the story. I completed the entire game in a single evening, which made me question its $20 price tag.


Story-wise, The L…

The Swan Princess Has a Live-Action Concept Trailer

Image
Yesterday was November 18th, which was dubbed National Princess Day in 2017 in honor of the anniversary of The Swan Princess. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this underrated classic, the filmmakers got together to create a concept trailer that would give its fans an idea of what a live-action remake might look like. Don't get too excited though. There are no concrete plans for a live-action "Swan Lake" adaptation as far as we know. The team behind The Swan Princess is extremely enthusiastic about the film, even 25 years later and are looking into every avenue they can find to keep its legacy going. Earlier this year, they released the ninth sequel in The Swan Princess franchise and are currently working on the tenth. Executive Producer Seldon Young is eager to keep the fandom going through any means possible. Yesterday, he released this concept trailer for a live-action remake in the hopes that it might attract enough interest to set such a project into motion.


Just…

Review: Princess of Mermaids

Image
Did you know that today marks the actual 30th anniversary of Disney's The Little Mermaid? To celebrate, I would like to share a book review of A.G. Marshall's Princess of Mermaids with you. I've readmanyotheradaptations of "The Little Mermaid" and even wrote one of my own, but I have never seen a book that managed to pay tribute to the fairy tale and the Disney movie while also telling a compelling original story so effortlessly. Princess of Mermaids is the third book in A.G. Marshall's Fairy Tale Adventures series. Though it works as a standalone novel, I highly recommend reading the other two first. Not only are they fantastic books, but they also paint a clearer picture of the world and characters in this book. Princess Fiora first appeared in Princess of Shadows, originally called The Princess and the Pea when I reviewed it. Her love interest, Gustave, was introduced in Princess of Secrets (originally The Frog Prince) along with some of the mermaids that …

What's Still Missing From Disney+

Image
Today is the day!  Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, is now available on smart devices everywhere. The highly anticipated launch did not go as smoothly as planned with the servers crashing earlier this morning, probably due to everyone wanting to be the first to access its content. That snag got fixed in a timely manner, but I can't say the same for the password issue. It seems like I need to reset my password almost every time I log on from a new device. Putting all of that aside, the app works exactly as advertised but with somewhat less content than expected. Initially, Disney claimed that they would be releasing their full library of movies, televisions shows, and specials, but it looks like we're going to have to settle for a decent-sized chunk of them instead. There were a few movies and shows added since the preview that launched in the Netherlands a couple months ago, but not quite as much as I was hoping for. I don't consider myself a Disney expert by a…

Review: Frozen 2

Image
I was fortunate enough to see an early screening of Frozen 2 this weekend thanks to ASIFA Hollywood. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed the first few minutes of the movie, so my review will cover what I did see. For a Disney sequel to a movie that I consider overrated, I tried to keep my expectations realistic. Frozen 2 was just as visually stunning as it looked in the trailers, but the story was all over the place and suffered from many of the same pacing issues that I had with the original. While the beginning and ending dragged on much longer than they needed to, the middle was the most engaging portion of the film with many tasteful throwbacks to the original as it expanded upon Anna and Elsa's past and future. Ultimately, however, the story had a lot of buildup with very little payoff.


The first thing I'd like to address is the songs. There were so many songs. As someone who loves musicals, I never thought it would be possible to think there are too many son…

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 4

Image
Just when you think a show has nowhere left to go, it throws you a curveball. I was prepared to have lots of fun this week with The Little Mermaid Live! but not for the emotional roller coaster that the new season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power took me on. The DreamWorks reboot was right on trend with the latest theme of betrayal that has affected every cartoon starring a princess this year. I hate to pick favorites, but She-Ra outdid every other princess series so far on the betrayal scale. That's not to say that Adora's broken relationship with Glimmer was quite as heartbreaking as Rapunzel and Cassandra, but doubt and deceit prevailed everywhere throughout Etheria as new and old characters abounded with malicious intent. Unlike the disappointing second season, which was mostly filler, season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was packed with so much plot and character-driven drama that I don't even know where to begin. The only way I can think of to describ…

Review: The Little Mermaid Live!

Image
I can't believe this day finally came! My favorite movie was broadcast on television in front of a studio audience with live-action performers and Broadway-style sets and costumes. The Little Mermaid Live! special was a long time coming. It was supposed to happen in 2017, but it got postponed, leaving only my memories of seeing it performed at the Hollywood Bowl without the fancy costumes or sets. Now that the television production finally happened for real, I am pleased to say that they did it right. The transitions between the animated film and the live-action performances were on point, the songs were entertaining, and the spectacle was pure Disney magic. Of course, nothing is completely perfect, not even The Little Mermaid Live!


The special was introduced by the one and only Jodi Benson, who hosted the movie's 30th-anniversary panel at the D23 Expo earlier this year. It seems like every time there's a Little Mermaid event, Jodi is there to celebrate her love of the cha…

With a Smile and a Song

Image
I'd like to expand a little on my "Confessions of a Grown-Up Princess Fan" to discuss how getting older has not only affected my perspective on princesses, but also my attitude toward the world in general. Thinking about how a live-action "Snow White" movie would inevitably be different for a modern audience sparked some of these thoughts. One of the biggest complaints about the "Damsel in Distress" stigma that Disney has been working hard to overturn is that princesses only smile and look pretty while their princes do all the hard work. I personally think that the movies from the Disney Renaissance have the best balance of proactiveness between the male and female protagonists. In today's movies, it's often the men who sit back and do nothing while the women lead the majority of the action for the plot, which creates an imbalance in the opposite direction. It also forces princesses to take on a lot more responsibility, which impedes their car…

Review: Anastasia The Musical

Image
In general, I find that animated movies don't translate well the stage even though they have musical numbers that seem perfect for Broadway. Disney shows such as Aladdin often miss the point of having an additional hour to develop the characters and squander the time on extra dance numbers that are completely unnecessary to the plot. In the case of Anastasia, which was not produced by Disney, they cut a major character from the 1997 Don Bluth masterpiece. Rasputin, the movie's chilling undead villain, was replaced by a more sympathetic antagonist named Gleb, a Russian revolutionary. They most likely did this for the sake of historical accuracy and because it would have been difficult to portray a rotting corpse on stage. "In the Dark of the Night" is one of my favorite villain songs of all time, so Rasputin's absence was very noticeable when I attended the final performance of the Anastasia tour at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.


Anastasia is one of my favorite…