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Toon Talk: Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dream
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The next chapter features Jasmine in a solo outing while “Aladdin and Genie are away”. Which means the princess is left with Abu and Iago to pick up the sidekick slack. Saddled with an unending list of frivolous duties like an “opening of a camel show” (huh?), Jasmine puts her dainty foot down and announces, through a Bollywood-esque musical number, that she is “More Then a Peacock Princess” (I kid you not). She demands that her father, the Sultan, give her more meaningful work to do around the kingdom.
This may sound like the plot, but the real one involves a wild stallion named Sahara (who would only let Jasmine’s mother -- now dead -- ride him), who escapes from the palace stables, leaving it up to our heroine to “persevere” and not only find the horse, but tame him so she can ride him back to the palace before the Sultan finds out he is gone. Which she does. The end.
Make no mistake, these made-for-home-video productions are aimed squarely at their target audience. The animation, while not embarrassing, is strictly television-level, and the writing is not much better. The scripts, as they are, bend over backwards to conform to their “moral of the day” (“perseverance”, in case you missed it). There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to educate while entertaining, but there isn’t a whole lot of substance beyond the thin platitudes and even thinner characterizations.
I could see in the future DVDs like this and its ilk gathering dust in a corner like Jessie the Cowgirl under Emily’s bed. However, timeless titles like Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin will surely still be watched and enjoyed, again and again, regardless of how old your little girl gets.
Toon Talk Rating: C-
Fair Maiden Fairy Tale Edition
In this ‘Toon Talk’ feature, I will briefly highlight a recommended film or DVD, outside of the Disney universe, of similar interest to the main subject.
La Belle et la Bête
1946 - DisCina
That’s Beauty and the Beast for those of you who don’t speak French. This moody, atmospheric take on the classic fairy tale delves deeper into the romance between a woman and an animal then the Disney version ever could. In fact, the Disney take was heavily inspired by this French version (directed by the legendary Jean Cocteau), particularly with the enchanted objects. While there is no dancing cutlery or perky teapots, the Beast’s castle here has disembodied arms holding candelabras for a spooky effect, among others. Josette Day and Jean Marais (beneath his cat-like make-up) embody the tragic title characters, who face an ending that is anything but “happily ever after”.
In black and white with English subtitles. DVD available, in a restored edition, from the Criterion Collection.
- The Rock stars as a football super-star who meets the daughter he never knew he had in The Game Plan (Disney, September 28).
- Catch the jungle beat with the two-disc Platinum Edition Disney DVD of The Jungle Book (October 3).
- Just in time for Halloween: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is back in Disney Digital 3-D (October 19).
-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics, http://www.cafepress.com/MagicBear
Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.
Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.
The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted September 4, 2007