November 22, 2012 – The Animated Movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess Premieres on Disney Junior
“I’m not ready to be a princess, I don’t have what it takes. I’m too short for gowns, I look bad in crowns, and I’m gonna make a bajillion mistakes.”
On November 22, 2012, the animated movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess premiered on Disney Junior after a premiere on Disney Channel on November 18th. It was created as the lead-in to the animated series Sofia the First, which premiered on January 11, 2013. The movie was directed by Jamie Mitchell, and was written by Craig Gerber. It stars Ariel Winter as Sofia, Darcy Rose Byrnes as Amber, Sara Ramirez as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady as Clover, Travis Willingham as King Roland, Tim Gunn as Baileywick, Russi Taylor as Fauna, Barbara Dirickson as Flora, Tress MacNeille as Merryweather, and Jennifer Hale as Cinderella.
The movie begins in with Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather introducing the story of Sofia, who lives in a kingdom of Enchancia. She lived a simple life with her mother Miranda, a shoemaker, and one day they are summoned to the castle to make shoes for King Roland the Second. The moment Miranda and Roland’s eyes meet, they fell in love, and are soon married. Sofia and her mother are soon taken to live at the castle, and are joined by several woodland creatures, unbeknownst to Sofia. Roland’s children Amber and James are asked to make Sofia feel welcome, but Amber is not quite warm to the idea of a new stepsister. As the crowd cheers for the new additions to the royal family, the Royal Sorcerer Cedric makes a large storm appear, although Roland informs him that he wanted “flowers,” not “showers.”
After the family heads inside, Sofia bumps into Cedric, and she is excited to meet him, although he gets angry about the “parlor tricks” he’s performing for the king before he makes himself disappear. Sofia then meets Baileywick, the Steward of the Castle, and directs her to the banquet hall. During their meal, Roland lets Sofia know that they will be throwing a ball in her honor as a way of welcoming her into the family. She and Roland will be dancing the first waltz, and Sofia is nervous about this. She is then taken to her own room, and she is shocked at how large it is. Although she is grateful for her new life, she’s still nervous about everything and thinks she’s not ready to be a princess. She goes to talk to Miranda, who reassures her that she’ll be fine. Roland then gives Sofia a present of a special amulet, and she must promise to never take it off. Amber sees Sofia receive the gift and storms off in a huff of jealousy. Sofia is once again reassured that everything will be okay, and heads back to her room. She runs into Cedric again, and he is very interested in her amulet. Cedric heads back to his room and reads up on the amulet, known as the Amulet of Avalor, and vows to take it from Sofia so he can take over the kingdom.
The next morning, Sofia is woken up by the woodland creatures that had followed her, but they are soon driven out of the room by Baileywick. Soon after, Sofia heads off to school with Amber and James in a carriage pulled by flying horses. When they arrive at the school, she meets the headmistresses Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. They give her the tour of the school, and take her to her first class. She is greeted by her classmates, including Amber, but drops all of her books when she reciprocates. Amber smirks, but soon her jealousy grows when other students rush over to help Sofia. Amber gets James to take a ride on the enchanted swing set, and everyone watches as the swing throws Sofia into the fountain. Sofia tries to take it in stride, but one of the other students gives James a hard time for tricking his sister in such a mean way. As Sofia walks away, she hears a strange sound, and finds a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. She returns the baby to its mother, and her amulet glows. As she heads back to the school, she hears the mother bird say her thanks, but she thinks she imagined it.
After school, Sofia rushes inside without a word to her siblings, although James wants to apologize. Sofia runs into Cedric again, who offers to give her a private tour of his lair, and she accepts. She discovers the book he has about her amulet, and he explains the powers of the amulet: “with each deed performed for better or worse, a power is granted – a blessing, or a curse.” He tries to take the amulet for her, but she remembers her promise to never take off the amulet, and is quickly shown out. The next morning, the animals wake her up again, and she can hear what the animals are saying. The rabbit, named Clover, explains that the animals always help the princesses, but all they want is a little bit of food for their trouble. Sofia prepares the animals a basket of food, and they set up a picnic outside. Soon, she has to go to school, but Clover reminds her to keep her eye on the ball – the royal ball. She is cheered by his pep talk, and heads to school with renewed enthusiasm. After making several mistakes, she soon masters the skills, and makes several new friends.
Sofia arrives home, exhausted, and is cheered up when she sees her friends Jade and Ruby waiting for her in the garden. While attempting to pour tea, James comes over and assists her as his way of apologizing for the prank. He offers to help train her for the ball, and Sofia accepts. Amber is strolling through the garden and overhears Sofia admitting she can’t dance, and gets a wicked idea in her head on how to embarrass Sofia. The next day at dance class, Sophia is given a special pair of shoes to wear by Amber, and when she dances with the teacher, the shoes start acting up, making Sofia jump around the room like crazy. She realizes that Amber has tricked her, and after she is able to get the shoes off, she heads to the carriage, upset. She goes to see Cedric before the ball, asking for a spell to make her a better dancer. He gives her a spell to say when the waltz starts, but he gives her a spell to put everyone to sleep, and will only reverse the spell if Sofia gives him the amulet. Before the ball begins, James confronts Amber, angry at his sister’s actions, and is hurt when he tells her that everyone likes Sofia more than they like her, especially after her horrible actions.
Sofia attends the ball and is greeted by Roland, who takes her to the floor for the first dance. Sofia recites the spell, and is shocked when everyone falls asleep. Cedric, excited that his spell worked, didn’t count on the spell working on him as well, and falls to the floor in a sound slumber. Sofia frantically runs around the castle looking for help, and a tear lands on the amulet. She turns around to find Cinderella there waiting to help her. Cinderella can’t undo the spell, but can help her find her way. Cinderella relates her only regret: not making amends with her step-sisters. After her story, she takes her to see Amber, and convinces Sofia to give Amber a second chance. She takes Amber to the ballroom, and explains what happened. Amber apologizes for her prank which caused Sofia to get a spell, and the two make amends, with Amber calling Sofia her sister for the first time. The two head to Cedric’s lair to find a counter-spell, with some assistance from Clover and the other animals. Amber and Sofia find the counter-spell book, and before they wake everyone, Amber helps teach Sofia how to dance. After reciting the counter-spell, Sofia has her first dance with Roland, which goes off successfully, except that Roland admits that he can’t dance very well. During the dance, the whole family dances together, and all is well.