Review: Elena of Avalor “Song of the Sirenas”

Elena finally vanquishes Shiriki with help from her family and some new flippered friends.

Overview (Spoilers Below):

Elena and the whole crew are off to see her cousin Cristóbal in Nueva Vista. Everyone is excited to take a relaxing vacation and see some beautiful sights. On the ship ride over, however, they run into a pair of sirenas. In the past, these sirenas had tried to sink ships by singing their mesmerizing songs to hypnotize sailors. They’ve turned over a new leaf, though, and Elena becomes determined to make peace with them.

Upon reaching Nueva Vista, she learns her cousin is not so eager to welcome the sirenas into his good graces. After a failed meeting with Marisa, princess of the sirenas, Elena and co. attend a parade through the canals of the city. Unfortunately, the streets are filled with people wearing Shuriki’s masks. Elena is almost drowned by Shiriki when Cristóbal betrays her to the sorceress. Luckily, she survives thanks to the sirenas.

In a thrilling final act, Elena and her family escape to the sea in order to evade Shuriki and her cohorts. When they’re followed by the villains, the sirenas come to their rescue, causing one final shipwreck in order to prove their commitment to Elena and Avalor. A new era of peace is ushered in – on land and in the sea.

Our Take:

This wasn’t the first TV movie starring Elena to grace our screens, but I think it’s safe to say it is the best yet. (Last years Realm of the Jaquins felt like the crew was struggling to figure out how to make Elena work in a longer format.) Song Of The Sirenas is a tightly-plotted double-length special that succeeds in entertaining viewers while also wrapping up Shuriki’s plot for the foreseeable future.

The plot of Song of the Sirenas included a few unexpected surprises, while still being easy enough for younger kids to keep up with. Cristóbal’s betrayal felt a bit out of the blue after his big showy song about family, but his reasoning makes sense in a money-hungry sort of way. I still have questions about what happened to Shuriki and that purple ball, but Elena is apparently convinced that it’s nothing to worry about. The role the sirenas played at the end was a cool way to tie everything up nicely and make Marisa and Elena’s attempts to make peace a rousing success.

As far as characters are concerned, we’re introduced to a lot of new folks in a short time frame. The sirenas may look like your basic mermaids, but the twist in giving them a sordid history of luring sailors to their doom (including Elena’s uncle!) makes them more interesting and adds more complex shadings to their motives. (Did we ever find out why they sunk so many sailors in the first place?) Marisa and her brother have a fun dynamic that instantly differentiates them from Elena and Isabel. Cousin Cristóbal comes across as a very loving and family-oriented guy at first but turns tail once Shuriki enters the picture.

Visually-speaking, the movie didn’t attempt any new styles, looking exactly like the show itself. That’s a good thing, though, I think. Even if the movie didn’t depart from the established look, there were a lot more dynamic battle scenes in Song of the Sirenas. Specifically, Mateo and Fiero’s battle was well-staged, with lots of dramatic movement and colorful explosive blasts. (That entire teamwork sequence where Naomi, Mateo, and Gabe worked together to bring Fiero down was amazing!)

My favorite part of the movie was probably the music. Elena has done great songs before, but I feel like these are definitely some of the best in a while. The first number, Familia Forever, is the most upbeat and pop-y thing the show has ever done, and the fun choreography once Elena joins in only makes it better. (Even Esteban starts dancing!) The two other songs are good as well, with A New Tale including clever lyrics and Elena’s big song to the sirenas teaching the valuable lesson that actions speak louder than words sometimes.

Song of the Sirenas is basically a double-length episode of Elena of Avalor that also provides double the humor, stakes, and excitement. The sirenas are an interesting addition to the world of Avalor, but they don’t overwhelm the story or distract from Elena’s fight with Shuriki at all. Shuriki and her plot to overthrow Elena appear to have been foiled for now, and it’s all thanks to Elena, her family, and the friends she’s made along the way.

Score
8.5/10

Caleb

graphic designer, writer, and animation addict. when i'm not writing words about my favorite shows, you can usually find me skulking about on Twitter. if you want, leave a comment or send me a tweet; i'd love to chat!

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