PattyCake Productions Pays Tribute to ABC's Once Upon a Time!

It's been two years since we left Storybrooke, and many people still aren't ready to say goodbye. ABC's Once Upon a Time is a bit of an enigma to me. It started out as a clever concept featuring Snow White's estranged daughter, Emma Swan, who grew up in our miserable reality having no idea that she had an epic destiny ahead of her. Over time, the show weened off from its original characters and turned into a blatant marketing ploy for Disney's newest franchises. I guess that's what happens when you put a show about fairy tales on a channel owned by a studio that produces the most well-known theatrical versions of them. Many of us look back at the first season when the show was new and innovative with a nostalgic optimism for what it could have been. This weekend, PattyCake Productions released their take on this iconic series with a new music video called "Once Upon a Time: The Musical".

From what I have seen, PattyCake Productions makes two kinds of music videos. One uses original or popular music to tell a story in a matter of minutes, and the other cuts between various characters to the beat of a song to show off their top-notch costuming and makeup skills. This video was the latter, which makes sense because the current state of the world would make it difficult to shoot too many characters interacting with each other. The video cuts between shots of Emma Swan in Storybrooke, Snow White and Prince Charming in the Enchanted Forest, Queen Regina in her castle, Rumpelstiltskin in his prison cell, and Captain Hook on the Jolly Roger. You can tell that the people behind this video were big fans of the 2011 ABC drama from the stunning amount of detail they placed in the costumes and sets. Sure, I could nitpick about Emma's boots not having laces or Snow White's shirt looking too puffy, but they absolutely nailed other things, such as Hook's ship, Rumpelstiltskin's rumply complexion, and everything about Regina.

The new video features an original song entitled "My Once Upon a Time," in which all of the characters reflect on how their lives were affected by Regina's curse that kicked of the series. Just like in the show, Emma takes the leading role in the song and performs a dreamlike ballad with Disney Princess-quality vocals that sound almost out of character for her. In the series, she comes off a tough pessimistic nonbeliever. Here, she is an optimistic dreamer who believes in her destiny with all her heart. Despite the juxtaposition between the two Emmas, I thoroughly enjoyed this version on a superficial level. I love crystal clear princess voices. Emma's nuances are balanced out by the other performers who replicated their counterparts perfectly. Snow White mirrors all of Ginnifer Goodwin's loving expressions toward her prince, and Queen Regina is a shoo-in for Lana Parilla.

The only thing missing from this music video is Henry. During the first season of the show, Emma's estranged son played a pivotal role in helping her find her true purpose in Storybrooke. His optimism was the perfect balance to Emma's cynicism. He is the true owner of the storybook that Emma carries throughout the video and even becomes an author for it when he gets older. His absence is the most likely reason that Emma's personality needed to be altered for this video. Without Henry to guide her, she must believe in herself and find her own way in the world. I can't place too much blame on PattyCake for not being able to find a child actor among the complications of social distancing, but it would have added a lot to the story they were trying to tell.

"Once Upon a Time: The Musical" is a beautiful tribute to this once-in-a-lifetime drama and all of the potential it had when it was new and exciting. It hearkens back to a happier time when we fantasized about going on adventures and having secret magical destinies. The new Disney Princess version of Emma provides insight into how she might have turned out if it hadn't been for the curse. However, the video is more about recreating the aesthetics of the show than retelling the story, and it does that perfectly. The costumes, sets, and music bring back all of the magic that this show conveyed when it premiered in 2011. I can't wait to see what masterpiece PattyCake Productions comes up with next.


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