How the Disney Princesses Stayed Modern for 80 Years

This is my first post here, so it's only fitting to do an analysis of Disney Princess history so far. I don't intend to only write about Disney Princesses in this blog, but they will probably make up the vast majority of it. As stated in the title, it's been 80 years since the release of the first animated princess movie (and animated movie in general), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then, Disney has made over a dozen more princess movies, spanning through multiple generations of girls and women. That's a lot of history.

With how much social norms have changed between the 1930s and today, it would have been very easy for the Disney Princess line to become a forgotten relic of the past. Yet, with an upcoming reunion in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, the princesses are more popular than ever. Why? Disney updates their movies with the times. That's why they're called "classics." Each princess is a caricature of what is considered the ideal woman for …

The Rise and Fall of the Animated Prince

Let's take a moment to talk about princes. Why princes? Because they never really had a chance. At their best, they are seen as a coveted accessory for princesses, and at their worst, they are seen as promoting unhealthy sexist ideals to vulnerable children that women are unable to take care of themselves. Because of the latter setback, princes have gotten the short end of the stick in recent animated movies, whether it's being portrayed as useless in Brave, evil in Frozen, or completely nonexistent in Moana. Sadly, Disney had just started to improve their prince formula around the time that this brutal take-down of chivalry took place. Why can't we have the best of both worlds?

The reason for the lack of developed male characters in animated films hearkens back to the very first one, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Initially, the nameless Prince was supposed to be a much more important character. Most of his scenes were cut from the film because the studio had so much tr…

The Burning Question: Is Mulan a Princess?

Mulan is a wonderful animated feature that was released by Disney in 1998. Showcasing a young woman who broke tradition by disguising herself as a male soldier and saved all of China in the process, it is, in my opinion, one of the most empowering films for girls on the market. Yet, with my reputation as a self-proclaimed princess expert, there is one burning question that people are always asking me: "Is Mulan a princess?" She was not born to a king or queen, nor did she marry a prince, so why is her visage so often plastered alongside the other royal heroines? The short answer is that she's not a princess, but she is a Disney Princess. Why aren't the two mutually exclusive? The answer to that is a bit more complicated.
When the Disney Princess line was launched in 2001, it initially focused on the main six--Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine. However, since Jasmine was the only heroine of color in the line, it expanded shortly thereafter to in…

What The 10th Kingdom Got Right

In the year 2000, NBC decided to try something that had never been done before. They released a five-part miniseries with an original story that was centered around the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. The series was called The Tenth Kingdom. It was so good that NBC decided to do absolutely nothing with it, despite hinting at the possibility of a sequel in the final voice-over narration. When has NBC ever kept a good series going, anyway? Still, fans have not forgotten this beautiful and whimsical tale. Though other forms of media have attempted similar projects, including ABC's 2011 drama, Once Upon a Time, nothing has quite lived up to the epic and dream-like quality of The Tenth Kingdom.

The miniseries stars a guarded young woman name Virginia Lewis (played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley) who works as a waitress in New York City. After she crashes into an enchanted dog with her bike, she and her father walk through a portal inside a magic mirror to enter the world of the Nine K…

The Warrior Princess

It almost sounds like a paradox. Not very long ago, "warrior" and "princess" were two opposing archetypes. Princesses wore big dresses, were dainty, delicate and needed to be rescued. Warriors were the ones who rushed in to save them, clad in armor, weapons bravely drawn, letting nothing stand in their way. The Amazons, the original warrior women, have been around since ancient Greek mythology. One particular Amazon princess has existed in comic book form since the '40s and has just gotten her own theatrical film. I'm talking, of course, about Princess Diana. No, not that one!

It's Wonder Woman. As the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, Diana is very much a princess, and as an Amazon and DC superhero, she is also very much a warrior. The fact that she was created in 1941 makes this disassociation even more significant because it was not at all customary for women to be portrayed as warriors at that time, let alone princesses. She was created by William Marsto…

The Princess and the Pea Is the Best Movie You've Never Seen

When you think of non-Disney classic animated princess movies, what comes to mind? Anastasia, Thumbelina, and The Swan Princess, right? All three of those have one thing in common with the Disney classics, which is that they were all in theaters at some point. Not all movies get that lucky. For Mark Swan, who painstakingly directed The Princess and the Pea under Feature Films for Families and his own studio, Swan Productions, distribution was no small feat.

It's surprising to know that this movie was an independent production because the animation is top notch. It looks like a lot of it was probably rotoscoped because the movement is so fluid. The characters never go off-model, and there are some gorgeously detailed background paintings throughout the course of the film. Composer Alan Williams wrote some terrific new princess songs for it, including "Kingdom of Heart" and "Out in the Wide Open World." It's a shame these will never show up on a princess kara…

The Problem With Disney's Live-Action Remakes

Yesterday, I discussed why a Xena remake should be happening. Today, I'm going to tell you why Disney's recent slew of remakes should not be happening. Does it sound hypocritical? There's a big difference between an ongoing series and a feature-length work of art expanded from a two-page fairy tale. Disney animated films are timeless classics that should not be messed around with. Beginning with the fairest of them all, Disney has revolutionized the way that we see fairy tales, giving us a streamlined look, voice, and personality for each princess. They are so good at creating modernized versions of classic stories that stay true to the heart of each tale. Why, then, do they find it necessary to give us watered-down clones of their classic masterpieces?

The answer, like most things with Disney, is money. These remakes are just an extension of the Disney cheapquels that Michael Eisner put out in the '90s. Beginning in 1994 withReturn of Jafar, Eisner soon realized that …

Barbie Is a Part-Time Princess

Did you know that Barbie has starred in almost 40 movies? Yesterday, I talked a little about remakes. Barbie has told so many different stories in so many different personas that some of them overlap. Instead of retelling the same stories, though, the writers have tried be as original as possible each time, even with up to three movies coming out every year since 2001. These movies are made up of all the things girls love--princesses, mermaids, fairies, magic, horses, etc. Barbie has portrayed the role of a princess over a dozen times! She plays a very active part in each story, so even if the CGI isn't perfect, parents can rest assured that it's a great influence on their young girls.

I've mentioned a couple of Barbie's movies in my "Swan Lake" and "Rapunzel" posts. It really is impressive how much original princess content Rainmaker Studio has come out with over the past decade and a half. Of the 37 current Barbie movies, Barbie has been a princes…

Princess Parodies

As I mentioned in my first blog entry, Disney Princesses are caricatures of the ideal woman from their time period. Since, as well all know, nobody is perfect, this this trope is easy for other studios to poke fun at. Many have, including Disney themselves with Enchanted. By exaggerating these perfect princesses so much that the very traits that make them perfect become their flaws, the characters become more human, allowing the audience to better relate to them. Some of these parodies are more mean-spirited than others. I think the movie that struck the perfect balance between satire and humanity was Dreamworks' Shrek in 2001.

One of the founding members of Dreamworks was Jeffrey Katzenberg, who had previously worked for Disney, just like many other creators of successful non-Disney productions, including Don Bluth. Katzenberg was frustrated with the House of Mouse and created Shrek to compete with them, which is why the movie came off as a bit mean-spirited at times. Regardless …

Live-Action Princesses

The final entry in my series of different types of princesses is about the ones who are most famous for their portrayals in live-action movies. That means I'm not counting any of Disney's live-action remakes because all of those characters were made famous through old stories and animation. Live-action movies create worlds that feel more grounded and less fantastical than animation. These princesses look like someone you might see walking around on the street, but each has an amazing secret. Somewhere in the world, there is a kingdom that waits patiently for their return.

First up, we have ABC Family Channel's original movie from 2008, titled simply Princess. I have no idea why Disney chose to air this on their channel for family dramas instead of the more age-appropriate Disney Channe. Fortunately, it wound up on Netflix later to build a larger audience. Though there was a lot in the story that went unexplained, such as where the mysterious princess powers came from or wh…

The Voice of a Princess

One trait that is synonymous among nearly every animated princess is her beautiful voice. I have wanted to do a tribute to some of my favorite princess actresses every since I started this blog. Princesses have inspired me to sing loud and proud throughout the course my life and have also gotten me through some difficult times. Their sweet and powerful voices were full of emotion and helped me relate to them and feel more deeply than I would have ever thought possible. These are some of my favorite rock star voice artists who have each voiced multiple princesses and have had the biggest impact on what a modern princess should sound like.

Leading the pack is the legendary Tara Strong who has voiced an insanely large library of iconic characters, including not one, not two, not three, but four princesses. Currently, she is most famous for her work as Twilight Sparkle, who became a princess in the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I'm looking forward to hearing her…

Don Bluth Princesses

Did you know that yesterday was Don Bluth's 80th birthday? In case you're out of the loop, Don Bluth is an animator who used to work for Disney until he teamed up with Gary Goldman and made a whole bunch of hit animated features on his own in the '80s and '90s. He is responsible for Anastasia, one of my favorite animated princess movies of all time as well as Thumbelina. To top things off, he created a cool animated game called Dragon's Lair that was in arcades and on laser disc. Despite his age, Don and Gary are still working hard to bring their fans great animation. They recently started an Indiegogo campaign to do a full-length animated feature film of Dragon's Lair. Don Bluth is very loyal to his fans and responds to nearly all animation-related inquiries on his website.

In my opinion, Don Bluth's greatest masterpiece of all time was Anastasia in 1997. The movie used state-of-the-art technology for the time period. I wasn't very familiar with CGI b…

Everything Wrong With Frozen

In 1845, Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called "The Snow Queen" about a girl named Gerda who bravely journeyed through many dangerous lands to rescue her friend Kay, who was possessed by a cursed mirror and seduced by the beauty of a wicked queen. In 2013, Disney released a movie that had absolutely nothing to do with any of that. I go back and forth between hating Frozen and thinking it was just okay. The more hype it gets, the angrier I become. When people ask me why, I get tired of going into the same explanation again and again because it's long and complicated. That's why I'm writing this post.

Most of what I knew about Frozen before seeing it in theaters came from the D23 Expo in summer 2013. I went to several panels where I saw the early footage and listened to the filmmakers discuss their progress. At the time, I was very excited about it. Olaf's song was hilarious, and Elsa's disapproval of Anna's engagement to Hans seemed like an inte…

Review: Barbie Dolphin Magic

Earlier this week, the newest Barbie movie was released on Netflix. Though Barbie Dolphin Magic is not technically a princess movie, it does have a mermaid in it and stars the Barbie, the part-time princess. It looks like Rainmaker is breaking their tradition of releasing the Barbie movies on DVD and switching to streaming media, which makes sense because DVD sales have dropped significantly in recent years. As a Netflix special, the movie has the shortest run time yet for Barbie, clocking in at only a little over an hour. So, is it worth watching? Here's what I think.

In a word, yes. The short runtime makes it an easy watch, and it's paced much better than its prequel, Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase, which dragged on forever. This movie gets straight to the point with very little filler. Barbie and her three sisters, Skipper, Stacy, and Chelsea, are on vacation at a beach-side resort where Ken is interning for a marine biologist. Rumors abound of the "gem dolp…

Why Johanna from Sweeney Todd is Totally a Princess

Previously, I wrote a little about why Mulan is a Disney Princess even though she doesn't have the actual title of "princess." Now, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite live-action movies with another unofficial cross-dressing princess, Sweeney Todd. This macabre musical strikes a perfect balance between dark themes of cannibalism and murder with romantic ideals of true love and faith (or lack thereof). Johanna is the naive daughter of the title character, which technically makes her the princess of the story. That's not the only reason I consider her a princess, though. Let's take a look.

Like Cinderella and Snow White, Johanna was raised as an orphan by an abusive parent. It wasn't until she fell in love with Anthony, the sailor who had rescued her father at sea, that she saw a hope of escaping her unfortunate situation. She spent most of her days locked in her room under close watch like Rapunzel, singing to the birds about her desire for freedom.…

A Little Princess Revisited

In 1995, I was temporarily obsessed with the movie A Little Princess, based on a novel written 90 years earlier by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I know I wrote a book report on the novel in school and was impressed with Liesel Matthews' dream-like performance as Sara Crewe, but that's about all I remember. A friend of mine reminded me of my love for the movie when I was looking for suggestions for new blog posts. I decided to revisit it to see if it still had the same magic for me. During my research, I found a Buzzfeed article written by someone who did the exact same thing, and I found that I agree with many of the author's points. The movie becomes a lot darker when watching it again as an adult, but it is still very magical.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, A Little Princess is about a girl named Sara whose father sends her to a luxurious boarding school where the uniforms look like formal party dresses while he goes off to war. However, when he loses his money and is …

Review: My Little Pony The Movie

Today is the day! Everyone's favorite unicorn princesses are finally out on the big screen. Based on the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic reboot series that began in 2010, Hasbro has finally released its biggest franchise to theaters. Does it live up to the cartoon? I have to say I was a little concerned when I noticed that the movie's trailer and promos seemed to focus more on star power than plot. Now that I've seen it, I can safely say that my concerns were justified. The movie introduced a ton of new characters voiced by big-name actors with very little time to get to know them. It was a whirlwind of magic, morals, and songs, with very little meaningful or memorable content.

Let's start with the positive. The movie looked gorgeous. It brought together everything great about traditional animation and computer animation. Everypony was consistently on model, and the shading was gorgeous. It looked like the colors were going to be eye-piercingly bright based on the …

Princesses Returning to Theaters

In the digital age, fewer and fewer people are going out to the movies because it's so easy to access everything from home on streaming media. To remedy this, Fathom Events tries to appeal to our childhood nostalgia with exclusive re-release events for movies that we love. This year, it seems like theaters have been particularly focused on bringing back our favorite princesses. Seeing an older movie in theaters is different from seeing something new. People already know exactly what to expect and what they love about it. They go for the experience of seeing it again on a big screen in a dark theater, surrounded by fans who love it as much as they do.

The next princess movie making its return to theaters is the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. The movie is coming back to celebrate its 30th anniversary on as a Fathom Event presented by TCM Big Screen Classics. It will be back in theaters on the 15th and 18th of this month. The Princess Bride was not a particularly inspiring movie fo…

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…

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…

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 …

Hand-Drawn, CGI, or Live-Action?

Computer animation has a complicated history. When it was first introduced around the mid-90s, it was amazing and innovative. Then, as it slowly started to take over our favorite princess movies and shows, it felt more like an invasion of art. Michael Eisner did not with this when he claimed that traditional animation was no longer relevant in the early 2000s. Today, the medium has advanced so much that it blends seamlessly with live-action movies, blurring the lines between animated and live-action features. Most modern sci-fi movies lie somewhere in the middle. Which medium do we prefer for our princesses? It's undeniable that traditional animation came first, starting with Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Today, it's rare to see an animated feature that's not made by a computer. Disney is taking advantage of this technology to transform all of their animated princesses into flesh and blood actresses with mixed results.

Pictured above are three inca…

Snow White's 80th Anniversary

If you're a fan of Disney's 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you're in luck. This year is the movie's 80th anniversary, and Disney is going out of their way to team up with a whole bunch of companies to make it a huge event. Though the story and characters have evolved vastly over the years, the original animated film still holds a huge historical significance over the way that princess stories are told. Not only was it the first feature-length animated movie of all time, but it was also the first animated film with a fairy tale princess as the lead character. The anniversary event kicked off this past summer with a special screening of the classic film at the D23 Expo, and announcements have been popping up everywhere since then. Let's take a look at all of the awesome things coming out this year in honor of the fairest one of all.

Straight from the D23 Expo, the Disney Store announced a new collection of exclusive Snow White merchandise featuring new artwork…

Princess Kaguya's Wish for an Ordinary Life

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is an anime movie that was released by Studio Ghibli in 2013. It is based on the Japanese folktale "The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child." The themes of the story pertain closely to my recent analysis of vanity in princess movies. Just like every other fairy tale princess, Kaguya has a legendary striking beauty that is renowned for miles, bringing her many suitors who are willing to do the most difficult of tasks for the chance to gaze upon her. However, she assigns them these tasks not because she thinks that they need to prove themselves worthy of beauty, but because she has little interest in being seen as a valuable treasure.

Kaguya's wish to be treated like an ordinary girl in spite of her privilege is nothing new. Most Disney Princesses who are born into royalty resent the life they were given and wish to live a normal one. Aurora flings herself onto a bed and cries when the three good fairies tell her that she is a princess because she …

One Hundred Princesses for My 100th Post

Today is a major accomplishment for me. I started this blog 100 days ago, and I've managed to write a new post in it every day since then. Some of the topics were easier to come up with than others. I also had to go back and edit some after the fact due to poor proofreading. Speaking of which, I'm really sorry about the disastrous short story from my first Story Saturday post. The whole thing was written on my phone on the way to a Mermaid Art Show event in San Diego, so I was a little distracted. I promise to put more effort into future Story Saturdays, which should be easier now that I will no longer be writing new posts every day. Don't worry, though. I will still keep everyone informed of the latest princess news and review all the new princess movies and specials. Without further ado, in celebration of my 100th post, here is a list of 100 princesses with all of the posts I've made about them (in no particular order). Thank you so much for reading my blog. 1-11: T…

November Princess Anniversaries

It's a big month for princess movies. Last week was the 28th anniversary of my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid . As I've  discussed in a previous post , Disney is going all out this month to celebrate the 80th anniversary of their very first movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs . On Monday night, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City put on a live show to unveil their gorgeous window displays honoring the film. The displays are similar to the ones at the Emporium at the Disney Parks, but much larger in scale. They portray detailed animatronics of every major scene in the movie, from the wishing well to the fated kiss, as well as the new clothing designed specifically for the event. The special, called "Once Upon a Holiday," was streamed live on YouTube and social media. Fans crowded around Fifth Avenue to see the Saks Fifth Avenue president give a moving speech about the film, followed by a choreographed performance from the Seven Dwarfs.  Sofia Carson , who

Holiday Princess Specials

December is here, which means there's no fighting the holiday spirit. Lights are twinkling, Christmas songs are invading all the radio stations, and princesses are spreading their holiday cheer. Holiday specials that feature our favorite princesses usually come in the form of cheaply produced sequels , but there are other forms of media as well. For instance, there was a Disney Princess  DVD called "A Christmas of Enchantment" released in 2005 that contained mash-ups of clips and shorts from various Disney productions, but it quickly fell in the same direction as the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales series . There was also a Disney Princess Christmas Album released in 2009 with new holiday songs performed in many of the original  voices of the Disney Princesses  in which they harmonize beautifully about their excitement for the holiday season along. The album contains a few covers of classic Christmas songs as well. The newest holiday princess special is the 21-minute

Live-Action Princess News

As unenthusiastic as most princess fans are about live-action remakes, Disney continues to pump them out. By the end of the next decade, most of our favorite princess movies from the '90s will have live-action counterparts for better or worse. Over the summer, several casting announcements were made about the Aladdin remake. Right now, the spotlight is on the upcoming remake of Mulan with the recent announcement that she will be played by Chinese actress Liu Yifei. This came as a relief to many after a controversy from last year in which people assumed that the movie would be whitewashed based on a leaked spec script that gave the role of the lead character to a male white merchant instead of the fabled Chinese heroine. The rumors of the script being used for the film were quickly debunked, reassuring fans that Mulan would always be the protagonist of her own movie. Though not a princess by title, Mulan is considered an official Disney Princess, which makes her actress a pretty si…

Is Anastasia Now a Disney Princess?

Have you heard? There's a rumor in St. Petersburg! Disney has bought out Fox for $54.2 billion earlier last week. They mainly did this to obtain ownership of what few Marvel properties they didn't own yet, but as an added side effect, they now own other animated properties including The Simpsons and everyone's favorite Don Bluth princess, Anastasia. Anastasia recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is still going strong on Broadway. What does this merger mean for the many fans of the franchise? To be honest, probably nothing. However, there are those who are keeping their fingers crossed that this historically inaccurate redhead will be added to Disney's elite group of princesses. Could this dream become a reality once upon a December?

The answer is a bit more complicated than you might think. Being a Disney Princess is not necessarily the same thing as being a Disney character who is a princess or in some cases, a popular heroine. What cannot be disputed is that …

Did The Shape of Water Draw Inspiration From "The Little Mermaid?"

A couple of weeks ago, director Guillermo del Toro released his latest masterpiece, The Shape of Water. Though not exactly a princess movie, del Toro tends to draw inspiration from fairy tales and mythology. His 2006 blockbuster Pan's Labyrinth was an "Alice in Wonderland" inspired movie set in the midst of a Spanish war. Like The Shape of Water, it was very much its own story, even though the fairy tale elements were still present. Del Toro is better at using fairy tales as a jumping off point and putting his own spin on his films, which might be one reason that his adaptation of "Pinocchio" got canceled. In the same way that Pan's Labyrinth borrowed elements of "Alice in Wonderland," I think that The Shape of Water borrowed from "The Little Mermaid." Let's take some time to explore this theory.

To begin, drawing inspiration from a story is very different from being an adaptation. Disney's The Little Mermaid was a direct adapta…

New Richard Rich Interview

My friends from The Jewel Riders Archive recently brought my attention to an online interview in which The Swan Princess director Richard Rich answered several fan questions. His responses were quite lucrative. I learned many things I didn't know, including his brief stint at Disney in the '80s, the story behind the many recent sequels, and his response to voice actress Michelle Nicastro's death. While you could click the link and read the full transcript for yourself (which I also recommend), I also wanted to share my thoughts on some of the most interesting highlights.

As many of you may know, The Swan Princess was a famous 1994 animated feature film inspired by the "Swan Lake" ballet. It had two animated direct-to-video sequels in the late '90s and was all but forgotten until 2012, when a series of horrendous CGI direct-to-DVD sequels began popping up every year thereafter with no sign of stopping. It didn't come as too much of a surprise that Rick wou…

Princesses of the Animation Industry

What are the first names that come to mind when you think of the people behind your favorite fairy tale princesses? The Brothers Grimm? Hans Christian Anderson? Walt Disney? Don Bluth? John Musker and Ron Clements? Considering how empowering so many of these stories are to women, it's surprising that the overwhelming majority of people behind them are men. The recent success of Patty Jenkins behind the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and the inspirational writing team of Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna behind the CW's princess culture-inspired Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series got me wondering why Disney has so few women behind its own female-driven classics. Even independent princess filmmakers like Don Bluth and Richard Rich got their start at Disney, making it virtually impossible for anyone to find much success in the animation industry without working there or at another major animation studio first. In an industry that's so biased toward men, animation ingenues like myself bar…

A Royal MyZtery: WHY?

If you didn't know that was another Swan Princess sequel released yesterday, you are a very fortunate person indeed. The Swan Princess: A Royal MyZtery (yes, that's the actual title) marks what I believe is the eighth movie featuring the characters from Richard Rich's 1994 classic,The Swan Princess. It was no mistake that I left "The Swan Princess" portion out of the title of my blog post, as these movies are so far and away from what was once an adaptation of the "Swan Lake" ballet that they may as well be on another plane of existence entirely. All of the CGI sequels that started with The Swan Princess Christmas in 2012 have been pretty terrible, but this one might just be the worst yet. Don't worry, though. I went ahead and watched this abomination so you don't have to. Below the image is a description of all the most cringe-worthy things that happened in the movie and why it is objectively terrible and should never have been made, just lik…

Charming and the Decline of Femininity

I've been wanting to write about Charming, an upcoming animated movie for a long time. I first heard about it at the CTN Animation Expo in 2014. However, small animation studios like 3QU tend to have trouble getting their releases off the ground. That might explain why the movie trailer dropped over a year ago without any sign of a release date and then mysteriously disappeared without a trace until last month. According to IMDB, the movie is coming out gradually in various parts of Europe over the course of the next month or so, but there is still no mention of a release date here in America. Despite its limited release, the studio was able to cast some pretty big names, including Demi Lovato, Ashley Tisdale, John Clease, Tom Kenny, and Tara Strong. At first glance, Charming looks like it's just another princess parody from the producers of Shrek, but many of the comments on the trailer revealed some strong opinions that I would like to explore further. Watch it below and for…

Wreck-It Ralph 2 Photo Analysis (Where's Ariel?)

USA today has finally released an article containing an image of the elusive scene containing all the Disney Princesses from Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet! This scene was previewed at the D23 Expo last summer and locked up tight ever since. Now that they've finally released a screenshot of it, there appears to be something missing. Ariel, my favorite princess that I was most curious about isn't in the shot. It was pretty clear what all the other princesses were going to be wearing in the movie since they are always portrayed on stock art in their signature looks. Ariel, on the other hand, is a bit of a black sheep when it comes to a signature look. Sometimes she's a mermaid, sometimes she's a human, sometimes she's wearing the pink dress from the movie, and sometimes she's wearing a green dress that was never in any movie. It's just my luck that even after an image of the mysterious scene was finally released, I still don't have an answer…

Wreck-It Ralph 2 Trailer Analysis

If you're one of the five people on Earth who still hasn't seen the new Wreck-It Ralph 2 trailer that dropped this morning, I'm here to break it down for you. The trailer featured roughly the first half of a scene in which all of the living voice actresses for the Disney Princesses reprised their roles as Vanellope snuck into their secret internet headquarters that was presented at the D23 Expo last year. A screenshot released last week previewed the scene with Ariel missing, but now we see that she was just off-screen combing her hair with her favorite dinglehopper in a blinged out version of pink tea dress along with lots more animation of other the princesses in their oddly disproportionate new CGI style animation. Let's take a look.

For starters, it's a bit odd how Ariel and Cinderella have swapped the levels of bling on their ballgowns. In the 1950 animated movie, Cinderella's dress appeared to have made from a lightweight silvery-white fabric emblazoned w…

Live-Action Little Mermaid Movie News

In my "Little Mermaid" origins post, I mentioned that there were three live-action movies in the works based on the beloved Hans Christian Andersen tale. Since then, a few announcements have been made about all three of these movies. One of them has a theatrical release date, and it's sooner than you might think. The circus-themed indie movie that's had a trailer out for several years now is coming to select AMC theaters on August 17th. That's in two months! I wish I could be more excited about it, but the plot looks a lot closer to the 2006 tongue-in-cheek teen mermaid movie Aquamarine than the fairy tale that it's named after. The trailer focuses on how a little girl's belief in mermaids has the potential to save the aquatic heroine who is held captive in a tank at a carnival. I've been feeling indifferent about this adaptation ever since the first trailer was released, but it's nice to know that I will have the option to see it on the big scree…

Review: The Incredibles 2

While I was debating over whether or not it would be okay to review The Incredibles 2 in a princess blog post, I remembered that Violet was in the concept drawing for Disney's canceled "Princess Academy" short (riding a Fantasia centaur no less), so I figured that basically makes her a Disney Princess. Plus, I don't go to the movies very often, so I'll take any excuse I can get. Disney sequels are usually released direct to DVD with minimal effort and quality, but Pixar is different. They have formed a reputation for making sequels that are just as good or superior to the originals. Toy Story 3 was one of my personal favorites, featuring Jodi Benson as Barbie. Like Toy StoryThe Incredibles 2 managed to bring back all of their original voice talent. They might be fourteen years older, but they still sound great. Thanks to the magic of animation, they look as beautiful and youthful as ever.

The Incredibles 2 picks up right where the first movie left off. Superhero…

An Ode to the Most American Princess of All

This Fourth of July, I'd like for us all to take a moment to appreciate the most American princess of all--Tiana from Disney's 2009 feature, The Princess and the Frog. Disney decided to put a very unique spin on the story of "The Frog Prince" by having it take place in 1920s New Orleans instead of medieval Germany and turning the spoiled princess into a studious entrepreneur who also happened to be their first animated black heroine. The risks they took paid off greatly because the movie is incredibly entertaining and unique, even if it wasn't a huge box office hit like they were hoping. There are so many reasons I love and relate to Tiana. I was glad to see her return briefly in the final season of Once Upon a Time as Jacinda's best friend, Sabine, even if they didn't do the best job with her fairy tale counterpart.

The Princess and the Frog celebrates many of the same ideals of freedom that we do for America on the Fourth of July both literally and metap…

I Reread The Princess Diaries After Watching the Movie Again

I have kind of a strange relationship with The Princess Diaries. I saw the Disney movie when it came out in 2001 and more or less forgot about it for at least five years until I had several hours to kill at Barnes & Nobles one day and read the a handful of the books by Meg Cabot. So, unlike many fans of the series, I didn't get into the books as a result of the movie or vice versa. I simply happened upon them at different times because I was bored and looking for entertainment. Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against The Princess Diaries. It just isn't one of my favorite live-action princess movies. It wasn't until at least another five years after I read the books that I saw the movie again, so there had been too much time between viewings for me to properly compare the two mediums even though I knew Disney had changed a lot of the source material. I decided to remedy that yesterday and by rereading the first book shortly after another viewing of the film on Ne…

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Just Dropped a New Trailer!

Eight months after the first trailer for Disney's upcoming movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realmsand my foray into the origins of "The Nutcracker," Disney finally released a second trailer. The new one is visually similar to one that was released last December, but it contains significantly more dialogue, giving us a glimpse at the story changes to original fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffman. Just in case anyone was concerned about the validity of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms as a live-action princess movie as opposed to a regular fairy tale adaptation, Disney makes Clara's status crystal clear by showing a soldier, who is probably the Nutcracker in human form, refer to her as "princess" after being told that her mother created the magical realms and is considered their "queen." Was it really necessary to solidify Clara as a Disney Princess? Probably not, but it was a clever marketing move considering how big of an impact princess culture has h…

Disney Princesses Break the Internet!

With only three months to go until the highly anticipated Wreck-It Ralphsequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, the Disney gods have taken pity upon us mere mortals and graced us with yet another screenshot of the highly anticipated princess scene that was previewed at the D23 Expo last year. This preview shows us what happened after the first official screenshot that was released, in which Vanellope unexpectedly invaded the princesses' private dressing room, making way for the hilariously defensive antics that we see clips of in the trailer. This newly released image from Entertainment Weekly shows us what happened after Vanellope got on the girls' good side, convincing them that she is a Disney Princess as well.

In this image, we see the classic characters convert to Vanellope's casual style of clothing as they lounge on bean bag chairs for what looks like your average teen slumber party. Missing from this particular image are Jasmine, Aurora, Merida, and Belle, but we know t…

Review: The Little Mermaid (2018 Indie Flick)

Of the three live-action adaptations of "The Little Mermaid" that were announced within the past couple of years, only one of them has already finished filming and has a limited release in AMC theaters as of last weekend. Many of us who are fans of the original fairy tale took issue with Armando Guttierez's The Little Mermaid trying to market itself as a new take on Hans Christian Andersen's story when the trailer bears virtually no resemblance to it. I liked when their Facebook page had the title A Little Mermaid, as that was more honest and made it sound like an original story, but it was soon replaced with the attention-grabbing title that would hopefully confuse people just enough into thinking it was made by Disney and convince them to go and see it. Ordinarily, I wouldn't even bother reviewing such a mediocre low-budget production that was made by someone without any prior film experience, but the fact that it had a theatrical release and marketing campaign…

How Princesses Represent Hope

The final trailer was just released for Disney's latest fairy tale endeavor, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. This trailer gives audiences more insight to the content of the four realms of snowflakes, flowers, sweets, and the creepy distorted land that was taken over by the movie's villain, Mother Ginger. The trailer also confirmed that the black man with the eye-patch from the previous trailer was in fact Clara's godfather, Drosselmeyer. While it still hasn't been confirmed in the dialogue that the soldier accompanying Clara in the trailers is Drosselmeyer's nephew, the Nutcracker turned human, it's fairly obvious at this point. Some people have commented that this movie looks like a remake of Tim Burton's 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland. Both portray a classic heroine donning the uniform of a soldier to save an enchanted realm from evil. This feminist answer to the "one man's journey" trope brings in a new era that shifts the method …

Review: Charming

It took a lot of patience, but I finally had an opportunity to watch 3QU Media's animated film, Charming, which still has no known release date in America. The movie was exactly what it looked like from the trailer--a mildly entertaining and predictable Shrek wannabe with very little replay value. Considering that it was 3QU Media is still struggling with distribution on their first attempt at a film, I doubt we'll be seeing much else from them. The rudimentary animation was a dead giveaway for the studio's lack of experience. The fact that they incorporated watered down versions of Disney Princesses also shows that they didn't have enough faith in their own story. Even though the princesses did draw me in, I was hoping for a more fulfilling experience than this movie was able to provide.

To its credit, the story behind Charming is pretty original. Most fairy tales of old portray princes rescuing princesses and marrying them with the automatic assumption that they fall…

Review: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

When I learned that Disney was making a movie based on "The Nutcracker," I did some research to become more acquainted with the original fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffman. That research may have gotten in the way my future enjoyment of the movie. Then again, I'm not sure there's much in it for adults to enjoy regardless of how much they know about the original story. That said, I think I may have liked it if I saw it as a kid even though it would not have been one of my favorites because I'm a sucker for stories about girls who journey to fantasy worlds and discover that they're princesses. It has the same sort of whimsical charm as The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland, but without the emotion or heart that would have made it a true classic.

By far, the movie's greatest strength is its visuals. This film has one of the most beautiful posters I've ever seen, filled with varying shades of pink, lavender, teal, and blue with the characters blossoming into …

November Is Basically Princess Month Now

Last November, I posted about all of the festivities that took place for various princess movie anniversaries. Did you know that an overwhelming majority of Disney Princess movies were released in November of their corresponding year? That makes it a huge month for celebrating many of our favorite theatrical releases. Sometimes people ask why that is, and I think it's mainly about accessibility. Disney likes to release their biggest blockbusters right before holiday vacations so that parents and kids will be available to go out and see them, guaranteeing a successful run. You might be wondering why these movies don't open in December so they're closer to the bigger holidays, but most blockbusters stay in theaters for at least two months, which means that opening in November will bring in both the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation crowds. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which came out last week, and even though it was somewhat disappointing, Disney's most anticipa…

Review: The Princess Switch

Today, Netflix dropped The Princess Switch, a low-budget modern-day knockoff of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper. Was it just as cheesy and predictable as it looked in the trailer? Well, yes. Does that make it completely unwatchable? Surprisingly, no. It's normal to see a lot of fluffy feel-good family movies out around the holidays, so setting the film during Christmastime and releasing it right at the start of the holiday season may have been just the right touch to prevent it from being a huge disaster. Since we've already seen movies about twins or lookalikes switching places so many times, it's the perfect flick to play if you're busy cleaning or doing your nails or reading articles online and want to have something on in the background.. Trust me, you won't miss anything if you need to run to the microwave and grab your popcorn. No need to pause it.

Thanks to the magic of green screen technology, Vaness Hudgens plays both Stacy De Novo, a baker from Chic…

Review: Wreck-It Ralph 2 - Ralph Breaks the Internet

Today is the day we have been waiting for since last year's D23 Expo, where it was revealed that the original voices of the Disney Princesses would be reunited for the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet. There are a lot of different things I want to comment on after seeing this movie last night, so my review is going to cover two very different aspects. Since this is a princess blog, the first half of my review will cover the Disney Princess scenes in the film, which is the reason that many of us were excited about seeing it in the first place. If you just want to know about the movie itself, feel free to scroll down to the second half of my review, where I will discuss the plot and my overall enjoyment of it.

Ralph Breaks the Internet foreshadows its big princess reveal by showing two generic video game princess characters in the background of the opening scenes. Is Wreck-It Ralph a Disney Princess movie? Technically, yes. Vanellope is revealed to be a princess at th…

Is Hollywood Out of Ideas?

I was thinking about writing a review of Netflix's sequel to A Christmas Prince, but it really speaks for itself. It's a cheap sequel to an already low-budget movie that isn't worth anyone's time. A better thing to discuss is why Netflix bothered making a sequel to A Christmas Prince at all, especially after they already contributed a low-budget movie to the princess-filled month of November, which, while not exactly original, was at least not a sequel. Netflix produces a ton of content. Even Disney Legend Glen Keane is working for them now! Even though everything they produce is not guaranteed to be a high-quality blockbuster, this unwanted and unnecessary sequel is just the tip of the iceberg. A bigger problem lies below the surface. The best new princess show Netflix has made is actually a reimagining of something from the '80s, and almost every Disney movie in production right now is either a sequel or a live-action remake. Are there truly no more original idea…

The New Princess Jasmine

The internet went a little crazy when Entertainment Weekly released Disney's first promo photos of the fully costumed actors from their upcoming Aladdin remake last week. Many were disappointed with what they saw, which unfortunately tends to be the case for live-action remakes. For instance, Aladdin's signature purple vest was changed to red, making it closer to the Broadway version of the show. He was also given a relatively nice shirt underneath, which is more than a little confusing for those of us who remember how poor he was in the original film. Will Smith as the Genie looked a little too much like a normal human instead of a mystical blue entity, but apparently that's still coming. Princess fans were most excited to see previews of Jasmine's wardrobe. In terms of quantity, the internet did not disappoint. We now have images of three of Jasmine's looks that will be featured in the movie as well as a peek at her new handmaiden.

For me, this regal red gown wa…

The Frozen 2 Hype Is Real

I had barely woken up this morning when I discovered that nearly all the fan blogs I follow had already posted an update about the trailer for the highly anticipated Frozen 2 before the sun had even come out. Either Disney is really good at building hype or most bloggers don't sleep. This movie has been teased since the last D23 Expo back in 2017, but the details were shrouded in mystery until today. A few images of Anna and Elsa's new look got leaked early, but today we were finally able to see where these leaked images came from. Wreck-It Ralph 2 played fun with the way Disney had been keeping this project under warps by teasing a preview of it after the credits and rickrolling the audience. The real teaser trailer pulls Frozen fans further down the rabbit hole of Arendelle by making us ask more questions than it actually answers. With its adrenaline-fueled score and lack of dialogue, it poses the question "What is Frozen 2 about?" See if you can figure it out bel…

The Little Mermaid Anniversary Edition Is the One You've Been Waiting for!

Back in 2006 when Disney released The Little Mermaid on Platinum Edition DVD, I wrote my concerns to their marketing department about the dim colors during certain pivotal scenes of the film's restoration as well as the lack of behind-the-scenes footage in their bonus features. A few years later, the film was restored again and released on Blu-ray for the Diamond Edition. That version cleaned up the colors and contained a few behind-the-scenes bonus features. However, I did not own a Blu-ray player at that time. Today, my ship has arrived because the PlayStation 4 I purchased to play Kingdom Hearts III on also works as a Blu-ray player, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy the latest Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release of The Little Mermaid. With Disney's marketing department on overdrive this year, there are three versions available of this release. The Target edition features exclusive cover art and a gorgeous booklet containing concept art, trivia about the film, and an illustra…

Sequels and Remakes and Trailers, Oh My!

Is Disney ever going to slow down? You would think with all the live-action remakes and sequels that they are releasing this year, they would want to save something for the next year or two, but you would be wrong. It isn't enough that 2019 is jam-packed with live-action remakes and animated sequels because Disney announced last week that they are pushing up the release date for a sequel to one of their live-action remakes. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the next chapter to their 2014 flick that told the story of Sleeping Beauty from an new perspective, is coming this October. To be fair, Maleficent is different from Disney's other live-action remakes because it is not an unapologetic carbon copy that is doomed from to be inferior to the original from conception. With a script by the Disney Princess of screenwriting, Linda Woolverton, the movie puts a feminist spin on a fairly outdated tale about a damsel in distress who needed true love's kiss to restore her vitality. With…

Let's Talk About These New Aladdin Clips

By now, I'm sure I've made my feelings about Disney's live-action remakes perfectly clear. In fact, when I saw the first trailer they released for their upcoming live-action Aladdin remake, it only reassured me that this would be a bland shadow of the original 1992 animated classic. However, Disney's clever marketing team has been stealthily dropping TV spots and other campaigns for the film over the past few weeks that make it look like it might be worth watching as its own entity. That's not to say that it won't be comparable at all since it does still feature the same songs, characters, and plot. Yet, there appears to be a bit more creativity in this remake than the watered down Beauty and the Beast clone they released in 2017. Of course, that could also be the result of a very well edited commercial. This "Rags to Riches" promo shifted many of expectations about the movie I will be seeing on May 24th in a good way.

The promo starts with Aladdin so…

That New Maleficent Trailer Though

I posted not too long ago about how fed up I was with all the Disney live-action remakes, sequels, and sequels to live-action remakes. Then I pointed out that many of the new clips from the upcoming live-action Aladdin movie look amazing (and they keep getting better). That movie has a week to go before the general public will be able to see it, but Disney has already gotten down to business in promoting Maleficent: Mistress of Evil with our first teaser trailer earlier this week. I have to say, it looks promising. The teaser reveals virtually nothing about the plot, but it does drop some hints about the new setting and thematic elements. A lot of plot devices will need to be created from scratch after the conclusive ending of the original film in which Maleficent became a mother figure to Princess Aurora, who was crowned queen of the Moors to unite the magical and non-magical kingdoms

It would be impossible to tell the same story again after how much has already changed by the time t…

Review: Aladdin (Live-Action 2019)

I think it goes without saying that Disney's 1992 Aladdin was a childhood staple for anyone who grew up in the '90s, and I am no exception. Therefore, my initial reaction when I found that they were doing a live-action remake was rather cynical. I have not been a fan of the remakes Disney had done in the past, and the last original live-action princess movie I saw from them left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Therefore, I went into the Aladdin remake with high hopes and low expectations. Is it possible to recapture the magic of the original film without coming off as lifeless clone like the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast? Spoiler alert: The answer is an enthusiastic yes.

After seeing one Disney disappointment after another and spending a great deal of time studying the art of screenwriting this year, I was beginning to think that perhaps I was becoming jaded. Maybe the sense of wonder I felt after seeing a new movie for the first time simply ceased to exist as I became…

Frozen 2 Trailer Analysis

We now have our first official full-length trailer for Frozen II. This trailer expands on some of the images we saw in the teaser along with strategically chosen dialogue to keep us guessing about the story. Though it does not contain any additional footage of the mysterious girl and boy from the initial teaser, we do see a new character in the form of an underwater horse spirit revealed to be a Nokk, a mythological creature from various European cultures. Reminiscent of the will o' the wisps from Brave or the blowing leaves from Pocahontas, this shapeshifting spirit appears to be Elsa's guiding force to the magical elements of the film. We see a similar horse appear again later in the form of glittering lights alongside illusions of other creatures that later transform into sparkling silver leaves. The Nokk's magic will likely lead Elsa to her mysterious destiny that will be presented in this film.

A major focal point of Frozen II is the inception of Elsa's powers. Th…

We Have Our Ariel!

Love them or hate them, remakes are flooding Disney's market. One of their most highly anticipated upcoming live-action remakes just happens to be my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. There has been a great deal of speculation behind who Disney might cast to play Ariel, the passionate redheaded mermaid, especially after they announced that they were focusing mainly on actresses of color for the role. A long-standing rumor was that they had their eye on Zendaya, the talented star of Disney Channel's K.C. Undercover, which concluded last year. There were no further announcements about this casting decision until today. True to their word, Disney is sticking to their intention to cast an actress of color. The internet is now buzzing with the news that the role of Ariel has officially been granted to Grown-ish actress Halle Bailey. It appears that Zendaya was either unavailable or deemed too old with the announcement of this newcomer.

I never watched the show Grown-ish, which is…

Thank the Ancestors! Mulan Has a Teaser!

So little has been revealed about the production of Disney's live-action remake of Mulan since Chinese actress Liu Yifei was cast for the rule that I was surprised to see that they released the first teaser today. Riding on the coattails of The Little Mermaid controversy, the Disney hype train continues to chug along in the hopes that people will stop arguing over their last announcement. There have been a few rumors about Mulan before today, but this teaser was our first true sample of the look and feel of the film. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Mushu, everyone's favorite dragon sidekick, would be replaced by a phoenix. I loved that Mulan had a dragon in the original film, but the phoenix has had a personal meaning to me ever since I wrote the novella Rebirth: A Faery's Tale. It was also announced that the remake would not be a musical, eliminating the need to cast people who can sing as well as act. It looks like they learned their lesson from casting Emma Wats…

Maleficent Fights Against Love in the New Trailer

Is Disney ever going to run out of princess news this month? Just a few short days after the Halle Bailey controversy, they released the first teaser for their Mulan remake. Barely 24 hours have passed since then, and we have a new trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This trailer reveals a lot more about the story than the last one did. We now see that the movie's central conflict revolves around Princess Aurora's engagement to Prince Phillip. As irritating as it is to have a sequel to a remake instead of introducing new characters and stories, this movie is shaping up to be quite good for what it is. Initially, I wasn't particularly excited for this sequel that nobody asked for, but the plot is surprisingly inspired and unlike anything that we've ever seen before from a princess story, not to mention that exciting revelation from the end of the trailer. You can see for yourself below.

What makes this different from other stories about princesses falling in love …

Five Times Disney Race-Bent a Princess and Nobody Complained

With all the controversy over Halle Bailey getting cast as Ariel, I wondered why nobody made such a big deal out of all other times Disney race-bent a fairy tale princess. This is not intended to be another post about why we should support Halle but instead an analysis of all the other times this happened in a Disney production. This is such a hot button issue right now that people are talking about it when they don't even have all the facts. ABC's The View aired an episode in which Whoopi Goldberg claimed that Halle was voicing the character for an animated production, and other people are making videos where they claim that Ariel isn't a princess or that she had green skin in the original fairy tale. Let's take a moment to get our facts straight while we explore how this is something that Disney has been doing for over 20 years.
Cinderella - 1997
This is the one that people remember the most fondly, and for good reason. Whitney Houston's passion project to produc…

Princess Audrey Becomes the Queen of Mean in Descendants 3!

It's hard to get excited about something as cringe-worthy as Descendants, which premiered on Disney Channel in 2015 as a blatant ripoff of Mattel's Ever After High. It was followed up with an even more cringe-worthy sequel in 2017 that barely had any semblance of a plot. These movies seemed like an easy cash-grab to show off the singing and dancing talents of various Disney Channel teens by turning them into rebellious offspring of classic animated Disney characters who jump around in leather '90s grunge and brightly colored hair. They focused mainly on the villains' kids, with the cliché message that you shouldn't judge people by first impressions. That's all well and good, but there weren't many royal children to demonstrate that princesses aren't always sugar sweet either. The only token princess to fill this role was Audrey, the daughter of Princess Aurora from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Instead of being polite and loving, Audrey comes off as a s…

Review: Kingdom of Music (The Swan Princess 9)

The Swan Princess has released yet another sequel in their never-ending franchise. Fortunately, the last one was such an unfathomable disaster that the story had nowhere to go but up. I was pleased to find that Kingdom of Music was an improvement over the last few CGI direct-to-DVD sequels. This is in part thanks to its throwbacks to the original "Swan Lake" inspired story as well as cultural diversity, which is trending right now in the world of fairy tale princesses, and the coming of age for Alyse, Odette and Derek's adopted daughter. Actually, I think they could have generated more interest among the Swan Princess crowd if they had made her grow into a teenager a bit earlier, since that is the classic age for fairy tale princesses. They decided to go the Sofia the First route instead by making her an ordinary little girl who falls into royalty without the obstacle of romance getting in the way. However, Lucas, the orphan boy Alyse met in Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Tod…

Everything Princess So Far on Disney+

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you've probably heard about Disney's upcoming streaming service that plans to give Netflix a run for their money. I already signed up for a three-year subscription to Disney+ at the D23 Expo this year, but like most people, I will have to wait until November 12th before I can access it. That is not the case for the lucky residents of the Netherlands, who woke up this morning to a free trial of the service. They must have felt like they won the lottery as Dutch residents now have access to a vast library of Disney movies and shows spanning across generations. Word spread like wildfire about this, and many sources are already listing some of the content that is confirmed to be on the app now through the November 12th launch date. I made sure to gather as much information as I could about the princess-related content that was released in this trial. The biggest news is that the service has its very own "Princesses…

Frozen 2 Trailer 2

The Frozen 2 hype comes to a crescendo today with with the second full-length trailer that gives us more information about this upcoming sequel than ever. Other sources reveal names for several new characters from the movie, including Honeymaren, a young woman who was in the first teaser, and her brother Ryder, who is similar to Kristoff in both appearance and personality. This trailer also reveals footage of Anna and Elsa's parents, who were reported to be part of a flashback sequence at this year's D23 Expo. Couple that with some adorable Anna dialogue and more epic footage of the Nokk, and we have the best trailer Disney has released for this movie so far!

It starts out with a traditional narration that foreshadows the Enchanted Forest that Anna and Elsa would travel to later on. The narrator is then revealed as their father, King Agnarr, who tells them a bedtime story in a flashback from when they are children. We also briefly see their mother, Queen Iduna, even though sh…

Review: Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs

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 skinn

Thoughts on a Live-Action Snow White

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: Maleficent 2 (Mistress of Evil)

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 …

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…

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. Without Mushu's antics, …

What's Coming in 2020

Last year was quite possibly the biggest year for princess media ever. I don't think anything from 2020 will compare to the sheer number of princess anniversary events, TV shows, books, and movies that 2019 bestowed upon us, but that doesn't mean we won't have anything to look forward to in the coming year. Two of our favoriteDisney Princess cartoons will be ending soon, leaving us with a tiara-shaped hole in our hearts. Fortunately, the advent of Disney+ allows for even more original content from the studio than feature films or Disney Channel specials, promising some low-key princess entertainment while the cinemas get overrun with live-action remakes. One such upcoming Disney+ original princess movie is Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.

Secret Society of Second-Born Royals stars the immensely talented Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who played the title role in Andi Mack, one of my favorite shows from the last decade. In this upcoming Disney+ original movie, she will take on t…

How Can We Modernize The Princess Diaries?

The past few years brought us a myriad of rumors about another sequel to the beloved 2001 Disney classic The Princess Diaries. In 2017, Anne Hathaway reported that there was already a script for The Princess Diaries 3 and that most of the talent behind the original including Queen Julie Andrews herself were interested in participating in the project. Of course, it's one thing for them to say they're interested and another for Disney to actually produce it, especially when they are already up to their eyeballs in sequels and remakes. The advent of Disney+ gives them a new platform for original content that makes the distribution of their smaller films easier and cheaper than worldwide theatrical releases. They are already taking advantage of this with several upcoming princess-related movies that will be exclusive to the new streaming platform. Whether or not The Princess Diaries 3 will be released in theaters remains to be seen, but it was announced last week that Disney+ has …

Where Did Princess Barbie Go?

It's been almost three years since the last Barbie movie dropped on Netflix. Since then, it appeared as though she retired from her fairy tale princess days in favor of the Dreamhouse Adventures series, which also premiered on Netflix shortly after Dolphin Magic. This was a big disappointment to those of us who loved Barbie's magical and sometimes musical masterpieces that came out two to three times a year between 2001 and 2017. Seeing Barbie hanging out with her sisters in modern-day Malibu in Dreamhouse Adventures isn't nearly as interesting or exciting as discovering an enchanted realm, saving the world, or switching places with a princess. That's why I was elated to learn that she would release a 72-minute feature this year called Princess Adventure. Is Princess Barbie back?
Barbie discovers what it means to be a modern princess in this full-length, original musical when she switches places with her royal doppelganger. Barbie helps a young monarch find her voice …

COVID-19 Updates from the Kingdoms

We've been locked in our towers for weeks now with no word from Mother Gothel on when we can go back outside. This is a hard time for everyone, including fairy tale princesses. If you've been too stressed to keep up with the ever-changing schedules for upcoming princess movies and events, don't worry. I've got you covered. As we all know, the Disney Parks are now closed indefinitely around the world. However, Disney cast members are being placed on furlough so they can still get paid during these uncertain times. Movie productions have been delayed as well. The live-action Mulan, which was supposed to come out in theaters on March 27th, is now set for theatrical release on July 24, 2020. Another upcoming princess remake, The Little Mermaidstarring Halle Bailey, has also halted production indefinitely. The project was supposed to start shooting earlier this month in London. There are photos circulating of a boat set in Pinewood Studios that has been temporarily abandone…

Disney Is Celebrating Cinderella's 70th All Year Long!

Disney loves celebrating anniversaries for their animated princesses, especially when they hit a new decade. This year's princess of honor is Cinderella from the 1950 animated classic of the same name. Cinderella had a major impact on many people's childhoods, including my own. It was released before I was born and went back in the vault before I could obtain it on VHS, so I watched it for the first time on a copy that my uncle recorded for me from a Blockbuster rental, which I suppose was the '90s version of piracy. Of course, I was first in line to purchase it years later when it came out on Platinum Edition DVD. Though it was not my favorite version of this overexposed fairy tale, there were things that made this particular adaptation stand out from the many live-action adaptations released over the following years. Cinderella's dress transformation sequence is one of the most famous and beautiful pieces of animation ever made. I remember being enamored as a child b…

The Secret Is Almost Out!

Reports of recent production delays made me question whether or not the upcoming Disney+ original movie Secret Society of Second-Born Royals was far enough along to premiere this summer as initially promised. Two days ago, I received my answer when a long-anticipated trailer for the action-packed princess flick was finally dropped alongside a release date of July 17th. I was excited about this movie not because I have a preference for princesses who kick butt, but instead because of its lead actress, Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who starred in the brilliant Disney Channel sitcom Andi Mack. Peyton is an endearing and talented actress who will take on the role of Sam, the younger sister of the crown princess of Illyria. Another familiar face in the Secret Society is its teacher, Skylar Astin, the second actor to take on the role of Greg in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that currently portrays the character of Max in another musical drama, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The trailer gives us a first g…

Will We Ever See These Princess Movies?

The virus in Corona has drastically changed life as we know it. One of the industries that got hit the hardest by this pandemic was the entertainment industry. Back in April, Disney announced that their upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan would be delayed until July 24th. Now, it has been delayed again to August 21st. How much faith can we place in this new release date after so much disappointment? Theatrical delays are at least understandable due to the difficulty of social distancing in a crowded theater. I thought that Disney would at least stick to their July 17th release for Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, since that was going to be uploaded to their Disney+ streaming service to watch from home. Yet, it seems that even superheroes lack the powers to maintain their release as this action-packed fairy tale has been pushed back to September 25th.

Disney isn't the only studio to deliver broken promises. A lot of people enjoyed my review of Red Shoes and the Seven Dwar…

Hallmark Princesses

I've made some posts in this blog about live-action princess movies, but I failed to mention a newer collection of princess-themed films that has grown exponentially within the past decade. Owned by everyone's favorite greeting card company, the Hallmark Channel is famous for fluffy feel-good low-budget films that usually take place around Christmastime. Hallmark has released a dozen or so princess movies over the past decade, most of which are Christmas or winter-themed. The two I have seen are A Princess for Christmas in 2011 and A Winter Princess, which came out in early 2019. Both of these movies were similar in tone and plot to the 2017 Netflix original, A Christmas Prince. Aside from the lack of creativity when it comes to titles, all of these movies are have predictable storylines and are not terribly memorable, but don't worry. If you forget one, there are plenty more to take its place.

A Princess for Christmas stars Katie McGrath, who was in the middle of her succe…

Barbie Goes on a Princess Adventure in September!

After months of speculation about whether the next Barbie movie was undergoing the same virus-related delays as other upcoming princess titles, a new preview went up on YouTube this past Sunday revealing that Barbie Princess Adventure will drop on Netflix on September 1st. The teaser also revealed a first look at some footage from the movie, which is set in the world of Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures and features Barbie and her friends Nikki, Daisy, Renee, and Teresa getting in on all the princess action. It is a rather odd setting for a Princess and the Pauper remake since there aren't that many princesses around today, but I suppose that's where the fantasy elements come into play. What disappointed me the most about the teaser was the complete lack of "new music" they teased in it. However, there have been some leaks of the original soundtrack, which I would describe as poppy and generic.

Barbie Princess Adventure is being promoted as a movie and not a multi-part Dre…

Review: A Royal Wedding (The Swan Princess 10)

Like them or not, the endless CGI sequels to The Swan Princess are here to stay. The only thing we can hope for at this point is that the movie's creators are capable of continuing to add fresh new stories to the franchise and improving their skills in what was once a brand new style of animation for Princess Odette and her friends. After seeing the last two installments, I believe that they have. A Royal Wedding is the tenth movie in the Swan Princess series and a direct sequel to the previous film, Kingdom of Music. I found both of these sequels more enjoyable than the older CGI sequels that began in 2012 with The Swan Princess Christmas, which was so bad that there was really nowhere to go but up. The improvements to the latest sequels were accomplished by introducing original new mythology that was inspired by "Swan Lake" and allowing Odette and Derek to step into the background for supporting roles, something that was well deserved after eight movies that revolved a…

Why the Cinderella Trope Doesn't Work in Modern Settings

After I shared my post about Hallmark princesses, I went ahead and watched every Hallmark movie I could find that involved royalty. Let me tell you; there are a lot. Sitting through one low-budget romcom after another, I found that the overwhelming majority of them have the exact same plot. A quirky American career woman falls in love with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a prince from some obscure nation. She goes to live with him at the castle, finds that she doesn't fit in, runs away, and eventually, the prince comes back to her and proposes. At first glance, these movies appear to be attempts at modernized versions of "Cinderella," but upon closer inspection, they are vastly different. The protagonists in these romcoms are not being oppressed by abusive family members, nor are they living in a time period where the only way for a woman to get ahead in the world is by marriage. In fact, most of these women are doing just fine long before the dashing love inte…

Review: The Fairy Princess and the Unicorn (a.k.a. Bayala: A Magical Adventure)

This movie is a bit of an enigma. The animation is more beautiful than it has any business being, but the script feels like something that came straight out of a 1980s marketing team solely for the purpose of selling toys. And that appears to be exactly what it was. It has the look and feel of a Barbie Fairytopia movie from a bygone era. While it's nice to know that there are still movies like this being made, would it be too much ask for them to be made better? The Fairy Princess and the Unicorn is an extremely misleading title. The movie was not about a single fairy princess but, in fact, many winged elf princesses, most of whom were sisters. A unicorn appeared in one scene for about ten seconds and had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. The movie was apparently renamed from the more fitting title of Bayala: A Magical Adventure, which would have been a perfect fit for it. I guess their marketing team was worried that a movie named after a world no one has ever heard of woul…

Review: Anastasia Once Upon a Time

You know those movies that you watch with your friends because they're so hilariously bad that you can spend the entire time making fun of every single thing that comes onscreen? Well, that's what this is. I had heard about Armando Gutierrez's time travel Anastasia movie shortly after he released his weird experimental film of The Little Mermaid that takes place in a modern circus. Anastasia: Once Upon a Time is an outlandish interpretation of the theory that the Anastasia Romanov escaped the fall of the Russian Empire, except that here, she was sent through a time portal to the year 1989 that was created by Rasputin. The spark to create this movie probably came from Don Bluth's 1997 animated classic, but the two films have very little in common. You can tell that it came from the same creative minds as 2018's The Little Mermaid because both stories have a mythical princess befriend a young blonde girl who is obsessed with royalty and magic. I guess their thesis is…

Yes, We Will See These Princess Movies in September!

After much speculation and delay, three princess movies that once had uncertain futures are now officially coming to streaming services next month. Two will be on Disney+, and the third will stream on Netflix. We now have confirmed release dates for these movies with new trailers and previews released for all three within the last week to build up excitement for the next month. The traditional November of princess events and releases probably won't happen this year, so September is going to the final frontier of princess movies for 2020. With the current stigma against going outside, streaming services will become the primary medium for all our princess content, at least for a while. Of the three princess movies coming out next month, none has suffered more with its release than the live-action remake of Mulan. Disney desperately wanted this to be a theatrical release, which is clear from the fact that they delayed it three times before ultimately deciding to make it an optional pu…

Review: Barbie Princess Adventure

Princess Barbie is back with a modern new makeover. Barbie Princess Adventure premiered on Netflix today, and it made me miss the old Barbie more than ever. This musical princess adventure played like an extended episode of the Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures series rather than a remake of the fantastic Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper movie from 2004. If anything, it was an animated version of Netflix's The Princess Switch from 2018 with songs inspired by Disney's 2006 High School Musical. It was more modern than Barbie's 2012 princess doppleganger remake, The Princess and the Popstar, speaking to a new generation of girls who grew up surrounded by technology and social media. I understand that I am far from the target age group for this movie, but I feel like movies set in modern times will inevitably feel dated over time, whereas those set in an era long past like The Princess and the Pauper come off as classic and timeless.
Barbie Princess Adventure begins when Barbie…

Review: Mulan (Live-Action 2020)

It's been well over a year since the first live-action Mulan teaser. As of today, the latest Disney remake is now available on Disney+ as their first premier access original. That means that for $29.99, less than what the cost of a day at the theater for the average family, you can add the new Mulan to your Disney+ library to watch as many times as you want. There have been some complaints about the additional fee to the paid subscription service, but it was something Disney needed to do in order to even come close to making back their budget after the film got delayed from its March 27th release due to COVID-19 complications. If you don't think it's worth paying extra, the movie will be added to the regular Disney+ catalog on December 4th for no additional charge. After watching it myself, I have to admit that it probably is not worth the extra fee to stream it early unless you are a die-hard fan of the Ballad of Hua Mulan or want to help support Disney's COVID losses…

Review: Rolf Kauka's Once Upon a Time

One of my readers informed me about Rolf Kauka's Once Upon a Time, an obscure German animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Frau Holle." After a quick search, I was pleased to discover that someone had uploaded a nostalgic VHS recording of the entire film on YouTube. The animation reminded me of the old Disney knock-off tapes I used to watch when I was a child, but the storytelling and music were several notches higher in quality. Since there are no other famous adaptations of this fairy tale, I can see that the filmmakers worked very hard to do it justice. They did a terrific job for the time period and what I can only assume was a humble budget. The story has a lot of heart and a unique presentation. What sets Once Upon a Time apart from other animated fairy tales is that it completely excludes the protagonist from the first ten minutes of the movie. "Frau Holle," the story it is based on, is similar to "Cinderella" in the regard that …

Review: Secret Society of Second-Born Royals

After an annoying two-month delay, Secret Society of Second-Born Royals finally dropped on Disney+ today, marking the streaming service's first original princess movie. Secret Society was teased all the way back in January with a clip of Andi Mack's Peyton Elizabeth Lee in a gorgeous ice blue princess gown running for her life on some sort of important mission. That sequence was featured as promised, but the rest of the film had little to offer in terms of princess content. Secret Society is the first princess/superhero movie since Barbie's Princess Power in 2015 and is a far cry from the animated heroine who received her powers from a magic butterfly and went by the alias Super Sparkle. Oddly enough, I found the lack of humor or camp in Secret Society mildly disappointing. It takes itself too seriously to fall into the "so bad it's good" category and comes off instead as a high end Disney Channel Original Movie, which makes sense because it was made by the s…

Is Raya the Next Big Disney Princess?

The biggest princess news today is that Disney released their first teaser trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon, their next female-driven animated feature that is slated for release in March 2021. Early interviews have hinted that Maya might be joining the Disney Princess line as an adventuresome daughter of the village chief. The trailer does not look anything like a Disney Princess movie from eras past, but it does follow the newer trope of princesses who fight, wear pants, and rebel against society. In other words, it's an action movie that's trying to mooch off the popularity of the Disney Princess brand at the same time. I don't know what to make of these "princess" movies that no longer contain any of the things we love about princesses. However, it doesn't look like a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the animation in the teaser was stunning. It just doesn't look like the princess movie that it is implied to be. The beginning of …

Review: The Princess Twins of Legendale

For those of you who aren't savvy in the world of underground Hollywood, there is a studio called The Asylum, whose sole purpose is to create low-budget imitations of popular movies in the hopes that an old granny will forget her glasses while shopping and buy one on DVD for her grandkids, thinking it's that big blockbuster movie they're always yapping on about. When they set their sights on an upcoming release from a major studio, they rush to get their imitation out before or around the same time as the one they're mimicking so they can pretend that they came up with the idea first. The Twin Princesses of Legendale was not produced by The Asylum, but it feels like it easily could have been. In actuality, it was produced by a modern toy company called MGA Entertainment, which is famous for making Bratz and L.O.L. Surprise dolls. You would think that a toy company producing a low-budget movie would only do so with the intention of selling toys, but surprisingly, my onl…

Let's Give Thanks for These Princess Movies on Disney+ Next Month!