Review: Kingdom of Music (The Swan Princess 9)

The Swan Princess has released yet another sequel in their never-ending franchise. Fortunately, the last one was such an unfathomable disaster that the story had nowhere to go but up. I was pleased to find that Kingdom of Music was an improvement over the last few CGI direct-to-DVD sequels. This is in part thanks to its throwbacks to the original "Swan Lake" inspired story as well as cultural diversity, which is trending right now in the world of fairy tale princesses, and the coming of age for Alise, Odette and Derek's adopted daughter. Actually, I think they could have generated more interest among the Swan Princess crowd if they had made her grow into a teenager a bit earlier, since that is the classic age for fairy tale princesses. They decided to go the Sofia the First route instead by making her an ordinary little girl who falls into royalty without the obstacle of romance getting in the way. However, Lucas, the orphan boy Alise met in Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Tod…

The Princess Blog Is Celebrating Two Years!

Two years ago today, I thought about how far my professional career had strayed from my true passion now that I was in my 30s. What was I doing to create my own happy ending? Sure, I had written a few books and had recently gotten married, but I didn't feel like I was living my life to the fullest and celebrating my love of fairy tales and storytelling. That's when I decided to start a blog. The topic for my blog was obvious. I've loved princess stories my entire life, and there are more of them out there now than ever. Starting The Princess Blog not only gave me an excuse to continue indulging in my fandoms, but it also forced me to write every day. I now have over 300 posts about everything from movies to books to lifestyle guides. It's gone through a few changes over the past couple of years, such as posting every week instead of every day as well as one major cosmetic makeover, but its basic philosophies remain the same as they have always been for the last two yea…

Princess Audrey Becomes the Queen of Mean in Descendants 3!

It's hard to get excited about something as cringe-worthy as Descendants, which premiered on Disney Channel in 2015 as a blatant ripoff of Mattel's Ever After High. It was followed up with an even more cringe-worthy sequel in 2017 that barely had any semblance of a plot. These movies seemed like an easy cash-grab to show off the singing and dancing talents of various Disney Channel teens by turning them into rebellious offspring of classic animated Disney characters who jump around in leather '90s grunge and brightly colored hair. They focused mainly on the villains' kids, with the cliché message that you shouldn't judge people by first impressions. That's all well and good, but there weren't many royal children to demonstrate that princesses aren't always sugar sweet either. The only token princess to fill this role was Audrey, the daughter of Princess Aurora from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Instead of being polite and loving, Audrey comes off as a s…

Review: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Season 3

I have some good news and some bad news about the third season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Remember how I said this would only be six episodes long if it got split from the first half of the second season? It turns out that it was. That's the bad news. The good news is that this season is everything that season 2 was not. There is no filler or cheap laughs. The season is an action-packed rush of story and character development, even if that means sacrificing screen time for many of the lesser princesses. Every episode is filled with raw emotion and suspense that had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. If you were disappointed with the last set of episodes, this one will restore your faith in the series tenfold.

The third season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power revolves around Hordak's latest scheme to open a portal that would let countless Horde soldiers into Etheria to commence their wicked takeover. However, things don't go quite as planned when…

Review: Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers

I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, which is why I put this one off for about a month. I've read quite a few books by Brittany Fichter, so I'm used to her stories being dark and religious without even a hint of comic relief. In the case of the AutumnFairytrilogy and Clara's Soldier, the melancholy thematic elements are often redeemed by touching star-crossed romances that overcome all obstacles. That was not the case for Cinders, Stars, and Glass Slippers, the sixth book in her Classical Kingdoms anthology. Whenever I read a new take on "Cinderella," it feels as though someone is trying to reinvent the wheel. It's a simple fairy tale with a simple message that doesn't always work under the scrutiny of modern feminists. Yes, Gail Carson Levine did it right with Ella Enchantedback in 1998, but even that was turned into an overly complicated movie in 2004 that made a mockery of her simplistic story-telling techniques. Anyway, let's get back to th…

She-Ra Returns Next Week!

It's only been three months since the disappointingly short second season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The show is coming back to Netflix next Friday with what is touted as its third season. Hopefully, this won't just be the other half of season 2 because then it would only need six episodes in order to add up to a full 13-episode season. At this time, the number of episodes in the upcoming season remains unknown. However, there was a panel for it at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, where series creator Noelle Stevenson launched the new trailer. It's pretty similar to other She-Ra trailers we've already seen except for a few hints that we might learn more about Adora's backstory. You can watch the new trailer below.

The trailer begins with She-Ra asking the robotic hologram Light Hope about her past. It would be nice for this season to reveal her backstory as He-Man's twin that got kidnapped as a baby, but I wouldn't count on this show intro…

Review: Dead Princess Walking

I was recently offered an opportunity to read Dead Princess Walking, the first book in a new series by L.M. Schukraft. The book is an original adaptation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," but reads more like a cross between the movies Snow White and the Huntsman and The Wizard of Oz. It is a high fantasy adventure featuring a magically inclined Snow White at the forefront. There were lots of fun and colorful characters that reminded me of Disney sidekicks. The biggest downside to the book is that it doesn't have a conclusive ending. However, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger either, which is good because the next book isn't out yet.

Dead Princess Walking introduces us to a unique fae world that reminds me of Oz due to its sleep-inducing poppy fields, magical inhabitants, and history of powerful women. It follows the journey of an empowered Snow White, who awakens her inner magic upon learning about her fae blood. Snow White discovers pretty quickly that her magi…

Five Times Disney Race-Bent a Princess and Nobody Complained

With all the controversy over Halle Bailey getting cast as Ariel, I wondered why nobody made such a big deal out of all other times Disney race-bent a fairy tale princess. This is not intended to be another post about why we should support Halle but instead an analysis of all the other times this happened in a Disney production. This is such a hot button issue right now that people are talking about it when they don't even have all the facts. ABC's The View aired an episode in which Whoopi Goldberg claimed that Halle was voicing the character for an animated production, and other people are making videos where they claim that Ariel isn't a princess or that she had green skin in the original fairy tale. Let's take a moment to get our facts straight while we explore how this is something that Disney has been doing for over 20 years.
Cinderella - 1997
This is the one that people remember the most fondly, and for good reason. Whitney Houston's passion project to produc…

Review: Peas and Princesses

I was recently offered an opportunity to read and review the new book Peas and Princesses by up-and-coming author Aleese Hughes. Just as it sounds, the book is an original adaptation of the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." However, the cutesy title is somewhat misleading when it comes to the tone of the story. The book's villain is truly terrifying and does some awful things, so I would hesitate to recommend it for younger princess fans. Outside of that, it's a quick and fun read for young adults who enjoy fairy tale adaptations. The protagonist is easy to relate and winds up in a similar situation to the main character in last year's Netflix movie, The Princess Switch.

Peas and Princesses is about a village girl named Milly who is forced to enter a competition to replace the kingdom's princess after she ran away. In that respect, it is reminiscent of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy but much darker. This book focuses on the common desire for princes…

Maleficent Fights Against Love in the New Trailer

Is Disney ever going to run out of princess news this month? Just a few short days after the Halle Bailey controversy, they released the first teaser for their Mulan remake. Barely 24 hours have passed since then, and we have a new trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This trailer reveals a lot more about the story than the last one did. We now see that the movie's central conflict revolves around Princess Aurora's engagement to Prince Phillip. As irritating as it is to have a sequel to a remake instead of introducing new characters and stories, this movie is shaping up to be quite good for what it is. Initially, I wasn't particularly excited for this sequel that nobody asked for, but the plot is surprisingly inspired and unlike anything that we've ever seen before from a princess story, not to mention that exciting revelation from the end of the trailer. You can see for yourself below.

What makes this different from other stories about princesses falling in love …

Thank the Ancestors! Mulan Has a Teaser!

So little has been revealed about the production of Disney's live-action remake of Mulan since Chinese actress Liu Yifei was cast for the rule that I was surprised to see that they released the first teaser today. Riding on the coattails of The Little Mermaid controversy, the Disney hype train continues to chug along in the hopes that people will stop arguing over their last announcement. There have been a few rumors about Mulan before today, but this teaser was our first true sample of the look and feel of the film. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Mushu, everyone's favorite dragon sidekick, would be replaced by a phoenix. I loved that Mulan had a dragon in the original film, but the phoenix has had a personal meaning to me ever since I wrote the novella Rebirth: A Faery's Tale. It was also announced that the remake would not be a musical, eliminating the need to cast people who can sing as well as act. It looks like they learned their lesson from casting Emma Wats…

We Need to Talk About Princesses and Racism

I can't believe I need to post about this again. The response to my post about the actress chosen to play Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid was quite frankly appalling. In fact, Disney removed the post announcing her casting from many of their official Facebook pages yesterday. People are judging Halle Bailey solely by the color of her skin when many of them have never seen her act. None of us know what she's going to look like in the film after her hair, makeup, and costumes are finalized, which is why I didn't have much to say about the casting choice yesterday. Anyone judging this movie at such an early stage is basing their decision on a racist mindset to at least some degree. As a natural redhead myself, I understand why many people were hoping that Ariel would have red hair in this version, and I look forward to seeing if she will when the time comes for them to reveal her final image. Besides, it isn't like we've never seen a non-white pr…

We Have Our Ariel!

Love them or hate them, remakes are flooding Disney's market. One of their most highly anticipated upcoming live-action remakes just happens to be my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. There has been a great deal of speculation behind who Disney might cast to play Ariel, the passionate redheaded mermaid, especially after they announced that they were focusing mainly on actresses of color for the role. A long-standing rumor was that they had their eye on Zendaya, the talented star of Disney Channel's K.C. Undercover, which concluded last year. There were no further announcements about this casting decision until today. True to their word, Disney is sticking to their intention to cast an actress of color. The internet is now buzzing with the news that the role of Ariel has officially been granted to Grown-ish actress Halle Bailey. It appears that Zendaya was either unavailable or deemed too old with the announcement of this newcomer.

I never watched the show Grown-ish, which is…