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Hey Disney, Are You Okay?

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I know I rant about Disney a lot here, and while that isn't meant to be the purpose of my blog, the massive conglomerate of fantasy and dreams seems to be on a downward spiral with an exponentially increasing velocity. There were several new announcements over the past week which provided further confirmation things are not likely to improve any time soon. Last week, I posted about their forced revival of The Princess Diaries franchise. Even though it's unnecessary, at least it's not another remake, right? Plus, with all the remakes released so far, there has only been one sequel produced. I've found it in my heart to forgive Maleficent 2 due to the fact that it takes place in an alternate universe from the original Sleeping Beauty and never could have existed in the animated universe anyway. That is not the case for the new Aladdin, which was a pretty good remake but a fairly literal translation of an animated franchise that already has twosequels and a series. At lea…

Story Saturday: Denise's Decision

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This is a short prequel to The Stolen Jewel that delves a little deeper into the backstory of Lady Denise, a disabled character from the kingdom of Klingland. I was inspired to do this because I am currently working on the screenplay version of The Stolen Queen, a sequel to The Stolen Jewel about Lily, Charlotte's best friend. I discussed this project along with several others I've worked on in a recent interview with author A.G. Marshall. My ultimate goal is to create a trilogy that reveals what became of Charlotte, Lily, and Krystal respectively. Denise, who is Charlotte's aunt and Krystal's mother, had such a rich backstory that I wanted to pay her some homage as well. For more updates about the release of The Stolen Queen, you may sign up for my mailing list.

*** The Stolen Jewel: Denise's Decision "I'm afraid I've done everything I can," said Margaret, a healing mage. Her green rune glowed eerily in the dim light of the small infirmary. "…

How Can We Modernize The Princess Diaries?

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The past few years brought us a myriad of rumors about another sequel to the beloved 2001 Disney classic The Princess Diaries. In 2017, Anne Hathaway reported that there was already a script for The Princess Diaries 3 and that most of the talent behind the original including Queen Julie Andrews herself were interested in participating in the project. Of course, it's one thing for them to say they're interested and another for Disney to actually produce it, especially when they are already up to their eyeballs in sequels and remakes. The advent of Disney+ gives them a new platform for original content that makes the distribution of their smaller films easier and cheaper than worldwide theatrical releases. They are already taking advantage of this with several upcoming princess-related movies that will be exclusive to the new streaming platform. Whether or not The Princess Diaries 3 will be released in theaters remains to be seen, but it was announced last week that Disney+ has …

Review: The Mermaid's Madness

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After I reviewed The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines, I didn't think I was interested in reading more until I learned that the next book in the series was based on my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." Though I reviewed a lot of "Little Mermaid" adaptations lately, I figured one more couldn't hurt. Or could it? I can say with some certainty that fans of the Disney movie would not enjoy this book. The Mermaid's Madness is much darker than the Hans Christian Andersen version of the story, which is really saying something. It unapologetically dashed many of my fairy tale princess hopes and dreams, yet the book was a daring undertaking that focused on an aspect of "The Little Mermaid that often gets left out in other adaptations. This is a version in which our protagonist actually goes through with the proposition to kill her beloved prince in order to save herself.


Since The Stepsister Scheme centered around the adventures of Snow White, Cin…

Review: Tangled - Cassandra's Revenge

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Today marks the last multi-part special on Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure before the series finale on March 1st. I had high hopes that Cassandra's Revenge would resolve Cassandra's heartbreaking betrayal arc once and for all, but it looks like that is being saved for the finale. Though there were some revelations in this special about Rapunzel and Cassandra's powers, they weren't quite as big as I was hoping. The special brought back Varian for a gorgeous new Alan Menken duet with Cassandra. It also progressed the sinister plans of the mysterious blue girl, who is the true antagonist likely has some sort of connection to Zhan Tiri, the show's final boss. It was an enjoyable special in terms of art and music, but I felt let down by the fact that they are saving all the big resolutions for the finale. Cassandra is beginning to feel like a broken record, saying the same things over again until the plot allows her story to progress.


The special kicks off with a new R…

Review: Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind

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It's been almost a year since Kingdom Hearts III made its long overdue debut. Amidst the disappointment that fans had with the highly anticipated game, the most popular question of all was "What about Kairi?" The new Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind DLC, which came out yesterday, attempts to answer this question. Kairi is essentially the princess of the Kingdom Hearts universe, but is never treated as such. She is constantly placed on the sidelines, even after she receives her own keyblade to fight with at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. The Re Mind DLC addresses this issue immediately. When you start up the game after installing the DLC, a lovely new illustration of Kairi slowly fades into existence next to Sora's on the menu screen as a gentle reminder that she has been patiently waiting for her turn to be included in the story.


For half the price of the game, I can understand why some people would consider Re Mind to be a disappointment. There are some new scenes and gam…

Review: The Stepsister Scheme

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After years of reading fairy tale adaptations and reimaginings, I was in the mood for something a little different. I discovered The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines on a list of 20 modern fairy tale books. It stood out for a few reasons. First, the book takes place after the "happily ever after" part of its leading princesses' fairy tales, which gives it a similar feel to Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, in which the princesses are more experienced and willing to fight to keep their happy endings. Instead of focusing on one princess, the book features Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty in a girl-power team-up, giving it a Magical Girl vibe with a stronger focus on friendship than romance. It's also about a bunch of princesses teaming up to rescue a prince, and there aren't as many books out there about that as there should be. Right from the get-go, I knew this wasn't another reimagining of a story I've already heard a million times.


Righ…

Transformations

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Odette turned into a swan. Ariel turned into a human. Tiana turned into a frog. Thumbelina turned into a faery. Transformation is such a huge theme among fairy tales that it is practically embedded into their DNA. If you think beautiful transformation sequences are just a visual motif, you would only be half right. This theme is so common among fables because it represents a storytelling technique that has existed ever since stories started being told. Every good story takes a character on a complete journey, whether physical or metaphorical, that changes them by the time they reach its end. Likewise, each princess or prince who has transformed into their final form by the end of the movie leans a powerful lesson from their experiences. We see that lesson visually through the magic of animation and visual effects. For me, transformation sequences are the ultimate high point of traditional animation.


Every fairy tale princess begins her story as a sheltered ingenue who is thirsty for k…

What's Coming in 2020

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Last year was quite possibly the biggest year for princess media ever. I don't think anything from 2020 will compare to the sheer number of princess anniversary events, TV shows, books, and movies that 2019 bestowed upon us, but that doesn't mean we won't have anything to look forward to in the coming year. Two of our favoriteDisney Princess cartoons will be ending soon, leaving us with a tiara-shaped hole in our hearts. Fortunately, the advent of Disney+ allows for even more original content from the studio than feature films or Disney Channel specials, promising some low-key princess entertainment while the cinemas get overrun with live-action remakes. One such upcoming Disney+ original princess movie is Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.


Secret Society of Second-Born Royals stars the immensely talented Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who played the title role in Andi Mack, one of my favorite shows from the last decade. In this upcoming Disney+ original movie, she will take on t…

Review: A Princess of Wind and Wave

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Happy New Year, princesses! I concluded my 2019 with yet another of my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid."A Princess of Wind and Wave is the final book in Melanie Cellier's Beyond the Four Kingdoms series and her last book of 2019. Though it wasn't my favorite "Little Mermaid" adaptation of the year, it did focus on certain aspects of the fairy tale that other versions tend to overlook. A Captive of Wing and Feather, the previous book in the series, featured a protagonist who couldn't communicate with humans during daylight hours, which is something that would ordinarily apply more to "The Little Mermaid" than "Swan Lake." Perhaps it was for this reason that Isla does not lose her ability to speak in A Princess of Wind and Wave, making it one of the few "Little Mermaid" adaptations that does not require her to find an alternate method of communication on land such as writing or sign language. Instead, her limitations…

Review: Beauty of Rosemead

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It's been a while since I read Beast of Rosemead by Lucy Tempest. By the time I got around to its sequel, Beauty of Rosemead, I remembered very little except that the first book was very similar to the Disney adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast." Thankfully, Beauty of Rosemead had more than enough exposition to refresh my memory. As the fifth book in the Fairy Tales of Folkshore series and conclusion of Bonibel's story, I found it pretty enjoyable for what it was. I liked that Lucy shortened this story to two books since the Thief of Cahraman trilogy, her gender-swapped retelling of "Aladdin," ran a little too long with three books to tell a single story filled with exposition. She continues to shrink her garrulity with Princess of Midnight, the next book in the series, which is going to be a single standalone book. Beauty of Rosemead contained some of the same unnecessary exposition as the Thief of Cahraman and put too much focus on the eastern storytelli…

PattyCake Productions Released a Holiday Princess Special!

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It's a good year for princess holiday specials. Shortly after Elena of Avalor released a Hanukkah episode, PattyCake Productions premiered their latest Princess Academy short. I've always loved the incredible talent and attention to detail that goes into each one of PattyCake Productions' crowdsourced videos, and this was one of the best ones yet. Not only does it contain two completely original princess songs, but it also had a short storytelling session with gorgeous Disney quality illustrations. I also liked that they kept the story mostly secular since princess fans come from all backgrounds. Even though there was a Christmas tree and a mention of Christmas day in one of the songs, the princesses came together to celebrate an original holiday called the Winter Wishing Solstice and described some traditions that sounded very plausible for a fairytale-inspired religion. The short also featured an enormous cast with many characters that you don't see very often in Dis…