If you were wishing for something that's strictly a tribute to the Disney Princess characters, then I have some bad news... Sofia the First is from Disney Junior, the same network that brought us Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Why is this network punishing us? And is this any surprise, this is one of the more painful preschool shows of the year. The Princess characters are not treated with very much justice. Filled with the typical Dora the Explorer plotlines including the loud and obnoxious child, and of course that tired cliche of "breaking the fourth wall to the audience", Sofia the First is a cynical mess that can't even be saved by the voice talents of Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, and Wayne Brady.
When I first saw the title character of "Sofia The First", my initial reaction was "Aw, what a cute little but then I saw that it was going to be shown on Disney Junior, and that's when I started fearing for the worst. I feared that Disney would just make a total mess of it, just like they had done with all of their previous Disney Junior shows. But I'm delighted to tell you, that they haven't messed it up at all. It's just simply beautiful.
"Sofia The First" is the story about the little girl Sofia, who lived with her mother Miranda above their shoe shop in the little village in the Kingdom of Enchantcia. Sofia's life changed forever when her mother married the kingdoms king, Roland II, and Sofia became a princess, and her new father, king Roland, gives her the amulet of Avalor, a magical amulet that grants a power for every deed the wearer performs, a blessing for good deeds, or a curse for bad deeds. But what Sofia, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't know, is that the king's royal sorcerer, Mr. Cedric, wants to steal the amulet in order to use its power to take over the kingdom.
All of this I've just written is one of the things that makes "Sofia The First" so special for a Disney Junior series, namely the fact that it has an actual story. One other thing I like about this show, is the fact that the show has no annoying "4th wall-breaking". They don't interact with the audience at all, and that's terrific. And Sofia is wearing pretty dresses and tiaras, but those superficial trinkets are not what this story is about. It's about the fact that being a princess is not about how you look, it's about how you are inside as a person, and that's a wonderful message.
The characters are by far the best part of this show. Sofia is cute, but she's not a "Dora The Explorer" type of character. Her mother Miranda is the most lovely mother I've seen in a Disney production for quite some time, next after Dr. McStuffins in "Doc Mcstuffins". Oh, and the classic Disney princesses are making guest appearances, when Sofia needs to learn from an experienced princess. But the best character of them all in this show is Mr. Cedric, the show's villain. That's right, for the first time in a long while, Disney has finally made a true villain, and a great one at that. He is a slapstick kind of character, but he still feels evil, because he is strongly determined to steal Sofia's amulet and intend to use it to take over the kingdom. He even has a pet raven named Wormwood.
The music in this show is truly wonderful, with songs that really feels like they come from the good old days of Disney, just like it should be. The animation is okay, it's not that revolutionary, in terms of the technology. But hey, since when has feature film quality animation been necessary in order to tell a great story? Because, like the great John Lasseter says "Technology doesn't make a movie entertaining, it's what you do with the technology that makes it .
In conclusion, what "Sofia The First" is, is an extraordinary wonder, a triumphant return to the old Disney-Spirit of storytelling. And that's something I feared we would never get the chance to see again. At least not for more then 150 years, or so. While this show isn't exactly contributing anything to the technological development of the art of animation, it does what no other modern Disney Tv series has succeeded in doing for many years, namely truly return Disney to its origins in storytelling. Lovable characters, a great plot, and wonderful music are the main reason why I feel that Disney should use this show as their main template for how to produce their animated TV series. And if they don't do it, then I will sue them. That's how good this show is. With more shows like this, Disney's future would be safe.
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