Showing posts from 2019

What's Still Missing From Disney+

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

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

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!

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

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

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…

The Swan Princess 25th Anniversary Celebration

Princess anniversary celebrations seem to be an ongoing theme this year, but nothing can compare to the one I experienced last night. I was invited to the 25th anniversary celebration of The Swan Princess as a social media influencer. This event was everything a Swan Princess party could be and more. From the sprawling pink carpet outside the W Hollywood Hotel to the ice swan sculpture in the lobby, no stone was left unturned for this massive celebration of the 1994 animated classic. The elegant reception lasted for roughly two hours before moving to the Arclight Hollywood for a 4K Ultra HD remastered screening of the movie preceded by a speech and award ceremony from producer Seldon Young. Cast, crew, and fans from all over the world blended together in their Sunday best to celebrate their love of The Swan Princess.

Reporters, videographers, and cosplayers lined the pink carpet as Seldon conducted interviews for the press. The carpet was pink in honor of lead actress Michelle Nicastr…

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 …