A few days ago I reviewed the soundtrack to the new Disney Channel series, Elena of Avalor. I mentioned in that article how much I loved Elena as a character and enjoyed her show. Well, today I am looking at her latest TV movie and DVD release entitled Elena and the Secret of Avalor.
For Elena fans, this TV movie was actually a long time coming. The series kind of awkwardly starts without much of a backstory or explanation of how Elena became frozen and then unfrozen from the Amulet of Avalor. Now, in this TV movie, we finally get that backstory and it definitely helps flesh out the show in a satisfying if imperfect way.
The basic story of Elena and the Secret of Avalor is that Sofia the First finds the amulet and is finally a brave enough princess to set Elena free. To do that, she must convince her parents to travel to Avalor so she can confront Shuriki, the evil enchantress who imprisoned Elena. Once Elena is free, she and Sofia must work with their families and the Jaquins (which are like flying cheetahs) to fight Shuriki and return Avalor to its rightful ruler.
Elena and the Secret of Avalor is an entertaining film. I really enjoy Elena as a character and will watch just about anything she is in. However, there is one big downside. For a good chunk of the film it feels like a Sofia movie. This makes the movie feel much more skewed to a younger demographic than the series typically does. Sofia is cute, don’t get me wrong, but not quite as enjoyable for an adult as Elena.
That said, there are still some nice moments and I particularly liked the songs, with “My Time” being one of the best in the series:
There are also some nice messages about family and teamwork, which will be good for children. On the whole, it is harmless, even if not quite as good as the show is.
As far as the DVD, that’s a little disappointing as well. There are only 3 special features:
First, there is a “My Time” music video, which can be easily obtained online (see above).
Then, it has 2 episodes of the show, which are very good but feel a little random as they don’t have anything to do with the TV movie and are better if watched within the context of the series:
Royal Retreat – Elena tries to reunite a sea creature with its mother much to the chagrin of King Hector.
Prince Too Charming – This is a really good episode where Elena has to deal with a spoiled Prince from a neighboring kingdom whose arrogance has drastic consequences.
While I still enjoyed Elena and the Secret of Avalor on DVD, I don’t think it is as good as the previous release, Elena: Ready to Rule. The backstory is great but this focuses a bit too much on Sofia over Elena. Plus, the special features were very lacking.
Purchase Elena and the Secret of Avalor on DVD at Amazon!
Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic that has loved animation since she was a little girl belting out songs from 'The Little Mermaid'. She reviews as many films as she can each year and loves interviewing actors, directors, and anyone with an interesting story to tell. Rachel is the founder of the popular Hallmarkies Podcast, and the Rachel's Reviews podcast/youtube channel, which covers all things animated including a monthly Talking Disney and Obscure Animation show.