There are times that I'm reminded that I'm truly not in the target audience for most dolls anymore. Disney Descendants is one of those franchises that does that for me. For those who aren't aware, Disney Descendants is a franchise created to supplement the Disney Princess franchise, all about the children of our favorite Disney heroes and villains. The main form this takes is a series of three live-action films and a web-cartoon "Wicked World", but there's also a toy line, which includes dolls, costumes, playsets, and more.
What makes this one of those franchises that remind me that I am so totally not the target audience is that I can see all the flaws in the storytelling and how this was a low attempt to cash in on Mattel's Ever After High and Monster High lines. I hate to sound like a cynical grown-up, but it's true.
However, if there's one thing I can't resist, it's anything Mulan or Aladdin related. And one of the stars of Disney Descendants is Mulan and Shang's daughter Lonnie. I was fortunate enough to score a Lonnie doll used from my favorite Ebayer, Alaskanan. If you're looking for great deals on vintage toys, look her up!
But enough commentary, let's take a look at Lonnie, who I subsequently renamed Lihua, which means "pearl-blossom."
Over the Halloween weekend, the Monster High girls (Plus Gil) decided to watch some classic monster movies and see what humans thought about monsters like themselves. I warned them that what they see might not be too flattering, but they were still curious. I sat in to document the results.
As movies about sea monsters are rather few and far between, Lagoona settled on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
Thrifting and rummage sale-ing can be loads of fun. Take this past October, for example. My church had it's rummage sale, and it's always a bear. While helping set up, I discovered an interesting set of items. Two seemingly random backdrop pieces and a house shell for 12 inch fashion dolls. I could tell by the stickers in the picture frames and the quality of the craftsmanship that it was genuine Barbie stuff, but I'd never seen anything quite like it. I took to the trusty Google and searched for it as soon as I found the date stamped on the bottom of 2004. To my delight, I found it to be a Barbie My House playset! Produced twice, in two different styles, this playset allowed girls to configure the house however they desired, and conveniently put everything away in one flat package. Mine is now missing the chairs, bed, and other accessories that once went with it, but all the same, it's a great piece of equipment.
Last year, I received a Forces of Destiny Princess Leia and Wicket doll set from my good friend Isabella. I loved how Leia looked exactly like a cartoonish Carrie Fisher, and planned on designing a line of clothes for them. As it seems the line is on shaky footing (I haven't seen a single one in Walmart in forever), I decided to hold off on that. That however has not stopped me from having fun with this doll and her companion!
My favorite of Shakespeare's plays is "Much Ado About Nothing", the story of the witty Beatrice and Benedick, who are tricked into love by a group of friends and family. In act four, Beatrice's cousin Hero is slandered at the altar by her groom to be, Claudio, who was deceived by the villain Don John into thinking her a cheat and a liar. After Hero is taken away to recover from her shock, Beatrice who loves her like a sister, sits in the chapel weeping, when Benedick arrives to comfort her.
In my little version of this scene, Hero is played by Draculaura, while her bridesmaids and friends are played by Clawdeen, Apple, Raven, Lizzie, Rosabella, Blondie, Frankie, Cleo, and Darling.
Beatrice is played by Lagoona.
Benedick is played by Gil.
From the studio that would (eventually) bring you Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure, comes 1981's fully animated adaptation of Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake. Superior in nearly every way to "The Swan Princess" and it's creepy amount of sequels, this adaptation gives us strong willed Prince Siegfried, who undertakes to rescue the lovely Princess Odette from the wizard Rothbart. The classic fairy tale is adapted into atmospheric anime style that will seem familiar to Toei fans, and though not as masterful as Studio Ghibli works, is quite serviceable and pretty. The music is haunting adaptations of the famous music from the ballet, and as for the voices, they can be a bit over the top but not all that horrible. The movie is appropriate for all ages, though some children may be sensitive to Rothbart's abusive tirades.
You can view the film in English on YouTube!
Toei's Swan Lake Part 1
Toei's Swan Lake Part 2
Toei's Swan Lake Part 3
Sakura Kinomoto is a normal 13 year old girl. Oh, yes, perfectly normal… until you realize she’s a powerful magician. During her Elementary school years, Sakura was selected to be the wielder of the Clow Cards, a series of magical cards that give her control over various items in the natural world, such as the classical elements. On the night before her first day of middle school, her original deck of cards turn clear and lose their power, in their place, Sakura is given a new medallion that turns into a staff used for catching a brand new batch of cards. Sakura, her magical guardian Kero, and her friends Tomoyo and Syaoran, (say it SHAO-ran) race against the clock to gather the new cards and keep them safe from an evil enchanter who would use them for his own gain.
In the third original Barbie movie, we meet the charming and beautiful Odette, (Kelly Sheridan) who bites off a little more than she can chew while trying to rescue a unicorn. The unicorn leads her into the magical hidden valley ruled by the Fairy Queen, (Kathleen Barr) who was overthrown by her treacherous cousin Rothbart. (Kelsey Grammer) Rothbart has turned all the Fairy Queen’s faithful servants into animals who can return to their original forms from sunset to dawn each night, a fate he also places on Odette, changing her into a swan, when it is found that she can touch a magic crystal that can destroy Rothbart’s magic. Odette then meets Daniel, (Mark Hildreth) the gallant prince of the kingdom she lives in, and finds out that only true love can give the crystal it’s power. Of course, Daniel and Odette have the true love that can supe up the gem to it’s full power, and Rothbart can’t have that!
In Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, we meet Sarah, (Jennifer Connelly) a young teen who would like nothing more than to live in a fairy tale, believing that her father and stepmother make her do awful things like babysit and interrupt her playtime. (They are in fact very reasonable in their requests.) When Sarah makes a foolish wish to have her baby stepbrother taken by the goblins, the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) steps in to deliver. Sarah regrets her choice and has to run the treacherous Labyrinth to rescue the baby and learn to grow up.
Like the heroes and couples I've written about previously, many heroines inspired me. Some of them will be obvious, but some will not. There are no one-to-one comparisons here, each girl is heroic in her own way, but not the same as any man. I admire girls in media who are more than pretty faces, I admire their kindness, their compassion, their skill or their intelligence more than anything else. You may find that they are all fighters... but not all in the same way.
15: Princess Ariel of Atlantica, from Disney's The Little Mermaid.
I was three, OK? For a long time I admired Ariel for her take no crap (not even from her father) attitude. I wanted to be her... well, be a mermaid anyway! But as I got older, I turned away from Ariel as a role model and turned to a more appropriate princess. The less said about this brat the better really. Sorry, Ariel Fans...
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Fridays.