Here's our review of Disney's "Elena of Avalor: Realm of the Jaquins" on DVD!
Princess Elena of the kingdom of Avalor travels to the land of Vallestrella, the magical home of the Jaquins. While there, she learns of a threat that could destroy the realm, and she must go on a quest to save it. Stars the voices of Aimee Carrero, Joseph Haro, Chris Parnell, and Lou Diamond Phillips.
This DVD contains the following episodes: “Realm of the Jaquins Parts I & II” (Episode 1.22), “Three Jaquins and a Princess” (Episode 2.3), and “Shapeshifters” (Episode 2.8).
This Disney Channel princess offers a unique take on the princess genre by dipping it into Latino culture and mixing in some magic and mythological creatures. For this DVD release, episodes focusing on the “Jaquins,” which are jaguars with wings like macaws, are featured.
I had not seen a single episode of “Elena of Avalor” before reviewing this DVD, so I cannot comment on the series as a whole - I’ll only comment on the episodes contained on it.
Elena, as the new Crown Princess of the land of Avalor, is ruling at a time of peace, after an evil sorceress (voiced by, believe it or not, Jane Fonda) is overthrown from her wicked rule. The peace in the kingdom is protected by the Jaquins from the mystical realm of Vallestrella.
In the “Realm of the Jaquins” episode, after a thief set on vengeance sets an evil garden sprite loose on Avalor, Elena and the Jaquins must work together to stop her.
In a second episode, Princess Isabel (Jenna Ortega), who happens to be Elena’s younger sister, runs into trouble when three new Jaquins hatch from their eggs and she has to take care of them.
The third episode finds Elena trying out a new shapeshifting potion, which turns her in a Jaquin. She then tries to blend in among the Jaquins in their realm, but when she is framed for a crime against their kind, however, it all goes wrong.
The episodes appear targeted to the eight to twelve-year-old range, as the stories and dialogue will likely go over the heads of younger children. The animation and character design, however, are colorful enough to entice little ones, and the music, while not entirely memorable, is catchy enough to entertain. The songs lean towards the modern show-tunes style with some Latin infusion, which isn’t bad at all.
The show does a very good job at presenting elements of Latino culture into the stories, the characters, and the fictional realm of Avalor. It offers up some solid, entertaining episodes with some well-written storylines. The voice acting is strong, and features a nice roster of Latino actors. Aimee Carrero does well as Elena, and she has a great singing voice. The character of Elena exhibits the right kind of girl power - she works hard to lead her kingdom, and she doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes, having too perfect of a character not only panders to impressionable kids, it bores them.
As a sampler for the series (which has been renewed for a third season), "Realm of the Jaquins" serves as an entertaining introduction to the newest Disney princess kids who have yet to give the series a look.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
For a standard DVD, don’t expect a mind-blowing image, but as I was playing it on a LG 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray player on a 4K TV, I was pleasantly surprised at the image. I saw some excellent sharpness, bright colors, and nice depth in the CGI animation. It’s a solid transfer, even in standard definition.
The audio is only a 2.0 Dolby Digital track, which is a bit disappointing, but the songs sounded surprisingly good on my system.
Ten bonus shorts are included on the disc as extras. They each run about two minutes apiece. There are five shorts under two different themes: “Adventures in Vallestrella” and “Scepter Training with Zuzo.”
The shorts work very well. They are fun and gag-filled, and an entertaining sidebar for times when a full episode is just too long.
The “Adventures in Vallestra” shorts include:
*”Flight of the Butterfrog”
The “Scepter Training With Zuzo” shorts include:
*“Royal Treasury Escape Room”
*”Nothing But Blaze”
*“Don’t Be Our Guest”
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Running Time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English, French, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, French, and Spanish
Special Features: Ten animated shorts
Label: Walt Disney Home Entertainment