After months of anticipation, Sofia the First premiered on the Disney Channel last night. To paraphrase a line from another Disney princess movie—Tangled—this princess was worth the wait. Sofia is a sweet, game, lively princess with a great sense of humor and loyalty; and she’s a good sport to boot.
|Darcy Rose Byrnes as |
the voice of Amber
|Travis Willingham voices|
King Roland II
Sofia gets to attend Royal Prep which is a cross between Hogwarts and a European finishing school. She’s whisked off to school in a chariot pulled by a team of Pegasus (What’s the plural of Pegasus? Pegasi?), so there’s an aura of magic everywhere. And sorcerer Cedric is introduced as the official court sorcerer, from a long line of sorcerers, which is the only reason they keep him. Cedric’s portrayed as more buffoon than menace, though he does covet Sofia’s magic amulet, but Sofia easily foils Cedric by sticking to her guns: she promised the king she’d never take off the amulet; so she doesn’t.
|He's Wayne Brady! And |
Clover the rabbit.
The animation is created by computer and is not as lavish as a feature film; and you can see that the program allows animators to give more graphic attention and detail to the main characters, with less important characters more simply rendered. Some of the background art is impactful, but other frames are very simple and symmetrical. You can tell they’ve created a style that will allow them to keep the series going without too much muss or fuss.
They toss a few bones to the parents, such as the moment when Baileywick tells the household staff to “Get it done,” when referring to preparations for Princess Sofia’s ball. And they certainly fold in a lot of references to other Disney features. I noticed a sun insignia in Cedric’s lair that was the same insignia used in Tangled. And Baileywick tells Sofia that when she figures out what she needs, she’ll know what to do; which is a reference to Mama Odie’s advice to Tiana in The Princess and the Frog.
|Jess Harnell is Cedric|
We hosted a premiere party through the group HouseParty who sent us supplies like cute Sofia the First cups and popcorn holders and wonderful Sofia the First carry bags and goodies for all the little girls who attended. It really made our premiere party special. Needless to say, the girls (all four-year-olds) just loved the show.
All art ©Disney. Not for reuse.