Showing posts from 2019

Review: Beauty of Rosemead

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!

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…

Kingdom Hearts Finally Shows Kairi Some Love!

Kingdom Hearts 3, which came out at the beginning of the year, was an enjoyable enough sequel if you could overlook some rushed storylines and underdeveloped characters. The character that got screwed over the most was Kairi, the series' only Princess of Heart that wasn't from a Disney movie. Kairi's development within the Kingdom Hearts series is important because she doesn't have a movie or spin-off to tell her story while Sora, Riku, and Roxas are all playable in various other games. We know that she grew up in Radiant Garden where her grandmother told her stories about the ancient Keyblade War and that she eventually found herself stranded on the Destiny Islands where she met Sora and Riku, but that is where her story ends. Kairi made multiple claims about wanting to help Sora after she got her own keyblade at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2, but we barely ever saw her use it. Even when she did during one of the final battles in Kingdom Hearts 3, she was highly unskill…

Review: The Cursed Prince

Aya Ling recently released The Cursed Prince, the third and final book in her Reversed Retellings series. Of the three fairy tales that she covered, I think the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale lends itself to gender-reversal the best without changing the themes of the original story because the roles of the protagonists have are not affected by their physical strength or conventional beauty stereotypes. Till Midnight, the first book in the Reversed Retellings series, changed the plot of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by requiring the princes to battle trolls at night instead of dance at a ball, which made them more conventionally masculine. In The Beast and the Beauty, Lady Sybil attempted to use magic, fashion, and makeup to make herself look more presentable to suitors in spite of her monstrous appearance, which are conventionally feminine things that we never saw the Beast do in "Beauty and the Beast." In contrast, the main character in "Sleeping Be…

Let's Welcome Disney's First Jewish Princess!

When I first learned that Elena of Avalor was going to do a Hanukkah episode, I was hoping for a two-part special like The Magic Within that would provide enough time for the first Jewish Disney Princess to assert her individual identity outside of being Jewish. However, just like the Maccabees, I will make the most of what I've been given. "Festival of Lights" came out today as a single episode that focused almost entirely on Jewish characters celebrating Hanukkah, and I do not want to downplay the historical significance of it in any way, shape, or form. I've seen many holiday princess specials, and this is the first one that Disney has released about characters who grew up with the same traditions as me. This is so important because it normalizes Judaism for today's audience of children by showing them that not all fairy tale princesses celebrate Christmas.

"Festival of Lights" had a similar story to most Christmas specials except that it was about H…

New Mulan Trailer Reaction

Disney released the new trailer for their live-action remake of Mulan today, and it's... fine, I guess. The trailer confirmed many of the rumors that were flying around since the movie began production such as how Mushu will be replaced with a silent phoenix and Shan Yu would be replaced with a new villain. We hear an instrumental track of "Reflections" throughout the trailer, but none of the actors drop their serious expressions to break into song at any point. That's because this movie is not going to be a musical. Even though the original movie had only four songs in it, they took place at four of the most memorable points in the story and carried the story in a fun and entertaining manner. Without Mulan singing her heart out about how her reflection doesn't show who she is inside or Shang belting out "I'll Make a Man Out of You" as he trains his troops, the movie loses many of the elements that made it so nostalgic, and without Mushu's anti…

Review: The Siren Princess

The "Little Mermaid" nerd in me could not resist reviewing another adaptation of my favorite fairy tale. The Siren Princess is the second book in The Forgotten Kingdom series by Lichelle Slater. Its prequel, The Dragon Princess, had very little to do with "Sleeping Beauty," so I wasn't too surprised to find that The Siren Princess also had very little to do with the fairy tale it was based on. In fact, it had more in common with Peter Pan than it did with "The Little Mermaid" with a love interest who was none other than Captain Hook himself. This romantic version of Captain Hook was polite and heroic unlike Emma Swan's rough-around-the-edges beau from Once Upon a Time. There were a lot of random name references to Disney's The Little Mermaid, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but the characters' personalities bore no resemblance to the ones they were named after. Like its predecessor, I thought …

Review: The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

There are precious few video games that allow you to play as a princess who does something other than dress up or recover the royal jewels. Until recently, Child of Light was the only game I knew of for modern consoles that fit those criteria. That's why I was eager to play The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince when it went on sale in the PlayStation Store. Its storybook illustration aesthetic and sidescrolling gameplay look so similar to Child of Light that I mistakenly thought it was made by the same people at first. Once I actually started playing, it became clear that The Liar Princess has a much smaller budget and a more linear world. Instead of the colorful cast and robust battle command menus from Child of Light, The Liar Princess's story is told entirely by a single Japanese narrator accompanied by cutscenes of an illustrated storybook that depicting the story. I completed the entire game in a single evening, which made me question its $20 price tag.

Story-wise, The L…

The Swan Princess Has a Live-Action Concept Trailer

Yesterday was November 18th, which was dubbed National Princess Day in 2017 in honor of the anniversary of The Swan Princess. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this underrated classic, the filmmakers got together to create a concept trailer that would give its fans an idea of what a live-action remake might look like. Don't get too excited though. There are no concrete plans for a live-action "Swan Lake" adaptation as far as we know. The team behind The Swan Princess is extremely enthusiastic about the film, even 25 years later and are looking into every avenue they can find to keep its legacy going. Earlier this year, they released the ninth sequel in The Swan Princess franchise and are currently working on the tenth. Executive Producer Seldon Young is eager to keep the fandom going through any means possible. Yesterday, he released this concept trailer for a live-action remake in the hopes that it might attract enough interest to set such a project into motion.


Review: Princess of Mermaids

Did you know that today marks the actual 30th anniversary of Disney's The Little Mermaid? To celebrate, I would like to share a book review of A.G. Marshall's Princess of Mermaids with you. I've readmanyotheradaptations of "The Little Mermaid" and even wrote one of my own, but I have never seen a book that managed to pay tribute to the fairy tale and the Disney movie while also telling a compelling original story so effortlessly. Princess of Mermaids is the third book in A.G. Marshall's Fairy Tale Adventures series. Though it works as a standalone novel, I highly recommend reading the other two first. Not only are they fantastic books, but they also paint a clearer picture of the world and characters in this book. Princess Fiora first appeared in Princess of Shadows, originally called The Princess and the Pea when I reviewed it. Her love interest, Gustave, was introduced in Princess of Secrets (originally The Frog Prince) along with some of the mermaids that …

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…