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Showing posts from October, 2019

Review: Anastasia The Musical

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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

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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!

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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…