Posts

Showing posts from January, 2021

Review: Disenchanted! The Musical

Image
Disenchanted the Musical is a project that began in 2009 and made its way to off-Broadway theaters in 2012. Not to be confused with  the upcoming Disney+ sequel to  Enchanted , this stage show is a parody  of the Disney Princess brand that is in no way sanctioned by Disney, as proven by the public domain-approved character autographs on the poster. The show contains far too many Disney-specific references to be an interpretative musical about fairy tales in the vein of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods . Disenchanted! is far less sophisticated than Into the Woods with a focus on low-brow humor and an overall lack of plot, which explains why it never could have been a contender for the elite world of Broadway . It must instead settle for off-Broadway and low-budget local productions like the one I streamed over the weekend. The show's childish humor about cartoon princesses might imply that it is meant for very young audiences , but the light swearing and song about boobs imp

Review: Poisoned

Image
I saw an ad on Facebook for Poisoned  by Jennifer Donnelly  and thought "Cool. A retelling of 'Snow White.' " Little did I know that this book would be one of the darkest and unpleasant retellings about the fairest one of all that I've ever read. The book has nothing in it that would be considered inappropriate for children, but it has the same level of storytelling as the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman . If you enjoyed that movie, you might like this book. However, I was not a fan of either. So much of Poisoned tries to incorporate Tim Burton -esque imagery that I wasn't sure if Jennifer Donnelly  was aware that she was writing a book and not a screenplay. Films are meant to tantalize their audiences with stunning visuals and sounds while books must allow us to connect with the characters on an emotional level by revealing their internal monologues. A good film or book would succeed in both. This succeeds in neither. Poisoned  is written mostly in the

Fate on Netflix Is the Anti-Winx Saga!

Image
"I'm just kinda bummed I didn't see a single pair of wings" is the final line in Netflix's preview trailer for Fate: The Winx Saga . It's probably no coincidence that her statement was every fan's reaction to the initial trailer for the show . Its TV-MA rating is a clear indicator that its target audience is very different from the sparkly animated Winx Club series from 2004 , which happens to be the year Bloom says she was born. This bland live-action remake makes us wish we could go back to that time period when film and television still had original ideas . The constant references to sex and drugs feel superficial and forced into the script to get the desired rating on Netflix, unlike something like Bridgerton , which has a plot that revolves directly around its characters' sex lives. When all is said and done, the first six episodes of Fate: The Winx Saga are a complete insult to everything that the Winx Club series stood for. Fate's supernatur

Review: Stalks of Gold

Image
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of the first book in the upcoming Bewitching Fairy Tales series by Celeste Baxendell . Set for release on January 28th,  Stalks of Gold  is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" and "Rapunzel"  that I enjoyed quite a bit more than the last "Rumpelstiltskin" adaptation I reviewed. The love story in Stalks of Gold  is not shallow like many other fairy tale adaptations, and the protagonist's obstinance toward love is understandable. It sets up a flawed love triangle that gives the reader a chance to piece together how it might end up without being too heavy-handed. The first installment in this fairy tale series does a good job of balancing the two fairy tales without having  a split personality  by giving each of the two love interest a different role in both stories. Stalks of Gold  wastes no time in setting up the premise. Aurelia, a miller's daughter, is captured by palace guards and forced to spin straw into gold, s

Review: Disenchantment - Part 3

Image
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Disenchantment . I love the concept  of a fantasy princess show from  Matt Groening , creator of The Simpsons and Futurama , which both have deeply flawed protagonists that people would not associate with the heroes or heroines from fairy tales. Bean is a new kind of princess who is more likely to hang out at the local tavern instead of attending a royal ball. Her two sidekicks, Elfo, a lovesick runaway elf and Luci, a demon who was kicked out of Hell, give the show plenty of humor and charm. The biggest flaw derives from its format. The Simpsons and Futurama were long-running episodic series that pumped out a lot of episodes that could be watched in any order with the intention of being syndicated on network television. Netflix series are designed to be binged, which means they release small chunks of episodes that give enough of a cohesive story to satisfy viewers for another year while they wait for the next season. So far, Disenchantment has fa

Review: The Opal Crown

Image
Last week, I reviewed an unnecessary sequel , so it only feels appropriate to follow up with another sequel I read that is so necessary that the original book feels empty without it. The Opal Crown  by Jenny Lundquist  fills in all of the gaps that were left behind by the Princess and the Pauper -inspired book,  The Princess in the Opal Mask . I enjoyed The Princess in the Opal Mask , but was left with many questions after completing the final chapter. It leaves both girls in a delicate situation that is likely to fall apart at any moment. The Opal Crown  conveys prcisely how that situation falls apart and how the girls must work together to save themselves, their kingdom, and choose how they will spend the rest of their lives. It is a fast-paced suspenseful adventure story that is superior to the original book in every way. This review will contain spoilers for The Princess in the Opal Mask , so be sure to read that first if it is a concern. The Princess in the Opal Mask  concludes wi

Review: Bridgerton

Image
Bridgerton was a surprise for me this month. I was unfamiliar with the Julia Quinn historical romance novels or the development of the  eight-episode series on Netflix . Due to my fascination with princess fashion , this series was an easy sell. Like Reign , the show is bursting with colorful visuals of noble women dancing in glittering gowns and tiaras. It was a feast for the eyes with regal ladies, handsome lords, and bright colors reminiscent of gardens in springtime. The Regency era was a period of excessive romance and courting, which gives it the feel of a classic Disney Princess universe. The well-earned mature rating on the series, however, is not reminiscent of Disney at all. Like most direct-to-streaming live-action shows , the second half of Bridgerton has an abundance of mature content that is not appropriate for minors. Daphne is essentially the princess of the Bridgerton family. She is a noble lady , but she fits all the tropes of a Disney Princess. She is innocent, kind

Review: Tangled in Time - The Burning Queen

Image
My recent interest in Tudor history with The Spanish Princess and Six the Musical inspired me to read the second book in Kathryn Lasky's Tangled in Time  duology . If you forgot or missed my previous review, this limited series is about a middle school girl named Rose Ashley who copes with the death of her mother by traveling back in time through a magical rose in her grandmother's greenhouse to the era of a young Queen Elizabeth. The first book, The Portal , was satisfying enough that I didn't feel obligated to read the next one. However, there were a few loose ends that I was curious about, so I decided to complete the series with The Burning Queen . I was disappointed to learn that this book was very similar to the first one and offered almost no progression in Rose's quest to rebuild her family. This post will contain some spoilers for Tangled in Time: The Portal , so please read my review for that instead if you don't want to be spoiled. The Burning Queen  pi