Showing posts from October, 2017

Princesses Watch Corpse Bride on Halloween

Halloween is here at last. After they finish trick-or-treating for the night, many people like to curl up in front of a scary movie full of intrigue, death, and gore. Princess fans don't always like being scared, which is why we have Tim Burton's 2005 classic Corpse Bride, which is also full of intrigue, death, and gore, but without any of the scary parts. Corpse Bride is more about the emotion and less about cheap scares. It has all the beauty, music, and romance of an animated princess movie, but it's also a moving ghost story with a gothic Victorian setting, making it perfect for Halloween. I loved this movie so much the first time I saw it that I watched it every single day for months.

Corpse Bride is the story of Emily, a young woman obsessed with romance and adventure whose life was taken on her wedding night. Even from the Land of the Dead, her princess spirit cannot be destroyed. She leaves her bony hand sticking up from the ground in the hopes that one day someone …

Most People Won't Recognize These Princesses

Previously, I've discussed why most people wouldn't recognize Daria from The Princess and the Pea because it was produced by a small independent studio in 2002. However, there are other animated princesses from movies produced by more well-known studios that simply did not make a big enough impact for people to remember or care about. They are the rejected princesses, the forgotten princesses, the princesses who would never graduate to become a Disney Princess. This is no small feat considering that not even all of the Disney Princesses are actually princesses. Our first example was released under Disney's obsolete Miramax studio name that they used for their B movies that they did not expect to succeed in the box office.

The Thief and the Cobbler has a complex history. It was the love child of animator Richard Williams who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit for Disney in 1988. He wanted to produce The Thief and the Cobbler on his own with no studio involvement in order to s…

Does Race Determine Which Princess You Can Dress As?

Halloween is just around the corner. Did anyone go to any fun Halloween parties this weekend? Who's your favorite princess to cosplay as? Halloween is the one time of year that people can pretend to be someone else and to look and feel different from their everyday life. I dressed up as Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time this year. For me, Emma is a makes me feel empowered because she is more assertive than I am and has survived through many hardships in her past. It's fun to dress up in unique costumes once a year, especially if you've always wished you could be a princess. Recently, certain articles have been popping up on social media claiming that dressing as a princess who is a different race than you or your child is "cultural appropriation" and therefore wrong. As you can probably guess, I am of the dissenting opinion on this not only because I think kids should be able to dress as whatever they want for Halloween, but also because I believe that it goes agai…

My Little Pony Season Finale Introduces New Mythology

The seventh season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is everything that the movie should have been. Like in the movie, Twilight Sparkle must come to terms with a mistake she made, but this time, it was one that makes perfect sense for her character. After obsessively studying the journal of her idol, Starswirl the Bearded, Twilight finds a way to bring him back from Limbo along with five other legendary ponies who had mysteriously disappeared with him a thousand years ago. In her neurotically endearing eagerness to try a new spell, Twilight wastes no time in bringing back all six legendary ponies without considering the consequences. Instead of the of the happy interaction she was hoping for, Starswirl has a very low opinion of Twilight upon learning that she inadvertently brought back the dangerous Pony of Shadows who he had banished a thousand years earlier along with himself and his friends.

"Shadow Play," the two-part season finale, is a cautionary tale about…

Rumbelle's "Happy Ending"

Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, known to fans as "Rumbelle," are by far the most complex couple on Once Upon a Time. Taking great liberties on the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story, their relationship was introduced in the episode "Skin Deep" in the first season. In "Skin Deep," Belle agrees to become a live-in maid for Rumpelstiltskin in exchange for him using his powers as the Dark One to protect her kingdom during a war. During the time that she spends with him, she sees his softer side and nearly saves him from being the Dark One using the power of true love's kiss. However, Rumpel's love for power is equal to his love for Belle, and so he refuses to let her break his curse. Ever since then, they have suffered through a rocky relationship full of lies and deceit all so that he could maintain both his power and his true love. In the midst of the chaos, the two were married in the third season finale, followed up with numerous break-ups …

Princesses and Puppets

The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade, one of the best princess events in existence, was inspired by the 1986 Jim Henson movie, Labyrinth. Though the protagonist Sarah is not a princess, the most iconic scene is when David Bowie's character brings her to a royal masquerade ball where her dress is transformed into a magnificent ballgown. Throughout the movie, Sarah interacts with puppet characters on her quest to recover her baby brother from the Goblin King's labyrinth. Jim Henson has always shown muppets interacting with humans, but it is not too common to see them in princess stories and even less common for princesses to be portrayed as puppets.

Jim Henson made a handful of fairy tale muppet specials with mixed results. The best by far is Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince from 1971 based on the classic fairy tale with a few fun twists. Melora is a beautiful human princess who is cursed to have her words twisted so her father can't understand her when speaks. The muppe…

The Best Princess Albums You've Never Heard

We all have songs from our favorite princess movies on our playlists, but did you know that there are many obscure princess albums don't come from a movie or show? Princesses are known for their beautiful voices, so songs performed by them are calming and lovely. They have a style of music that's somewhere between classical, Broadway, and romance. Many princess performers have also released solo albums where they hand-pick their own songs, giving it a personal touch. Here are a few of my favorite princess albums that you've probably never heard.

"The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea" was released in 1992 and is available in physical and digital form on Amazon. It contains original songs performed by the actors from the 1989 movie. Jodi Benson dominates the CD, as expected, with her iconic mermaid voice, but there also new songs from Sebastian, Scuttle, and Ariel's sisters that allow you to get to know those characters a little better. If you listen to the tr…

Disney Princess Enchanted Tales and Why It Failed

In 2007, Disney decided to create a direct-to-DVD animated series to supplement their Disney Princess brand called Disney Princess Enchanted Tales. The series was supposed to include two new half-hour princess stories per volume with original animation, songs, and stories. They initially planned three volumes with stories about Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, and Cinderella. The series immediately got the shaft after the first volume, "Follow Your Dreams" was released, causing other stories that had already released teasers of clips and songs to never reach completion. Why was it such a massive failure? There are a number of factors that play into this.

I don't consider Enchanted Tales to be a series of sequels because it was not marketed as part two of anything, but I also don't exactly consider it an animated series either because it wasn't on TV and does not follow a continuing storyline. Instead, it is a bunch of random one-off specials meant to teach kids hea…

Animated Sequels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's a well-known fact that most princess stories end with "happily ever after," which is why it makes little sense to follow them up with a sequel. Disney started the sequel craze in 1994 when they created The Return of Jafar as a direct-to-video release to kick off the Aladdin animated series. The Return of Jafar took only a couple of months to produce, unlike most theatrical animated films which take years. Since Disney profited from it more than they expected to, Michael Eisner, the CEO at the time, thought it would be a good idea to make more direct-to-video sequels because they were so cheap and easy. Other copycat animation studios quickly followed in their footsteps.

As the first of its kind, The Return of Jafar is one of the most cringe-worthy sequels of the "cheapquel" era. It focuses mainly on the irritating Iago, causing the other beloved characters to take a backseat. The movie's only romance song, "Forget About Love," is dominated by…

Review: Palace of Lies

Most people are familiar with Ella Enchanted,Gail Carson Levine's feminist retelling of Cinderella, mostly due to the butchered movie version released by Disney/Miramax in 2004. But did you know that around the same time Ella Enchanted became popular, Margaret Peterson Haddix had released another feminist Cinderella adaptation that was every bit as exciting? Just Ella is a thrilling adventure story about Ella trying to escape the castle after the ball to avoid being used as a pawn in a wicked scheme and being forced to marry a prince she didn't love. Years later, Margaret Peterson Haddix turned the series into a trilogy, adding two more books that told equally exciting stories about princesses in the neighboring kingdom of Suala. Palace of Mirrors is a fantastic book about a girl named Cecilia who had been raised to believe that she is the true princess of Suala and journeys to the capital to reclaim her throne from the decoy princess, Desmia, who believes that she is the true…

How to Dress Like a Modern Princess

Earlier this week, high fashion designer Paolo Sebastian unveiled a Disney Princess-inspired dress collection. In addition to being strikingly gorgeous, these gowns convey a modern style that does not look like cosplay or the outdated old-time princess fashions of corsets and crinoline cages. The collection shows us that it is possible to dress like a princess without looking like you're going to a fan convention or a Renaissance Faire. However, these particular types of gowns are exorbitantly expensive and impractical to wear during everyday life. Is it possible, then, to dress like a modern princess on a modern millennial budget without attracting too much unwanted attention? I say it is.

Let's begin by examining the details of my favorite dress from Paolo's collection. Unlike a costume or DisneyBound outfit, it is not suggestive of any specific princess, yet it contains elements that are common to all fairy tale princesses. The two things that stand out the most are the…

Tiana Is Too Awesome for Once Upon a Time

By now, I've made my feelings about this season of Once Upon a Time pretty clear. Frankly, the show should have ended last season. Tonight's episode introduced its first incarnation of one of my favorite princesses, Tiana, so now I'd like to share a few more thoughts. Ever since The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009, Tiana has been incredibly inspirational to me. She taught me that living like a princess does not mean simply expecting things to work out on their own. If you want something, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Tiana stood out from the Disney Princesses in many ways. She was the first black princess, the first American princess, and the first princess from the 20th century. There are so many things that make her awesome. That's why the first image that was released of her in Once Upon a Time, looking all gussied up in her gown and tiara just like any other generic princess was somewhat disheartening. Thankfully, first imp…

How the Digital Age Revived The Little Mermaid Series

In 1992, Disney released a brilliant animated series based on their beloved The Little Mermaid movie. The series took place about a year before the movie and expanded on the geography and lifestyles of the merfolk in the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. It had memorable songs, decent animation, and clever stories. Ariel was as open-minded and loving as ever, helping all sorts of outcasts in her kingdom who thought that they would never find friendship or love. The Little Mermaid animated series is one of the best mermaid princess shows I have ever seen, matched only by Dyesebel. It's not surprising that older fans of the show often wondered what happened to it until recently. Unlike the movie, the series never received a proper DVD release. Only specific episodes of it could be found on Disney Princess VHS or DVD sets, usually alongside an episode of the Aladdin series that featured Princess Jasmine. Though The Little Mermaid series had a brief syndicated run on ToonDisney, it dis…