Love Letter to Disney Channel Movies


“Sneakerella” is the latest original movie offering on Disney+, the House of Mouse streaming service famous for giving the world Star Wars and Marvel TV series.

This movie is essentially a love letter to Disney Channel Original Movies that should resonate with millennials and zoomers who grew up watching cult hits like “Halloweentown”, may/13/sneakerella-love-letter-to-disney-channel-movies/”Zenon,” channel-movies/”The Thirteenth Year”, and more.

I was lucky enough to grow up with cable in the 90s and early 2000s, which gave me access to a bunch of these made-for-TV movies on the Disney Channel. Ask anyone today between the ages of 25 and 35 (I won’t tell you where I fall on that spectrum), and they’ll probably remember growing up with classics ranging from “Mommy’s on a date You With a Vampire” to “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.”

And “Sneakerella” feels like an homage to those earlier films that may not have had the budget for a theatrical release but nonetheless brought something enjoyable to the table. I’ve always found the magic of Disney Channel Original Movies to be the memorable moments they create for viewers by wholeheartedly embracing their campy tone and dime budget.

“Sneakerella” is a musical that offers a twist on the classic “Cinderella” story by following a boy’s adventure with evil stepbrothers and a strict stepfather.

Instead of a girl in glass slippers who goes to the ball to get a prince’s attention, it’s the story of a shoe store employee who designs amazing sneakers and goes to a charity event to attract the attention of a wealthy heir to a big shoe store. Design company.

The main character is a self-proclaimed “stock boy” named El (Chosen Jacobs) who grew up in a shoe store in Queens with his beloved mother. She taught him from an early age that sneakers are a window to the soul, and he learned to read people by the designs of their shoes, making him a “sneaker psychic”.

But readers probably know how Cinderella is doing. The loving mother dies, leaving El to deal with a tough stepfather, Trey (Bryan Terrell Clark) and two nightmarish siblings who work to make every moment a living nightmare. Instead of having a fairy godmother, El has a fairy godfather named Gustavo (Juan Chioran) who works magic to help our hero get to the charity gala so he can show off his handmade sneakers. and seduce a girl named Kira King (Lexi Underwood), daughter of Darius King (John Salley), a sneaker mogul and former NBA star.

Gustavo warns El not to stay out after midnight, the magic begins to wear off, and while fleeing the gala, El leaves behind one of his special sneakers, which Kira uses to try to track him down for a big contract. of design.

“Sneakerella” is an interesting twist on an age-old fairy tale. And it’s an important film for several reasons.

First, this movie depicts Disney investing its money to produce a movie with a mostly black cast. And in a world of American entertainment that is still wildly white in 2022, this represents what we need most in the world of cinema.

Second, “Sneakerella” shines a light on a subculture of sneaker collectors called sneakerheads.

Here’s an excerpt from an article titled “Sneakerheads, not hypebeasts: Defining a sneaker-driven subculture”:

“A new study reveals that for ‘Sneakerheads,’ sneakers are an important facet of their identity, especially for African-American men who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s coveting the sneakers popularized by hip-hop stars. hop and basketball legends.”

I cited this article because I am largely unaware of sneakerhead culture, and since this is a large part of “Sneakerella”, I wanted to define the importance of this theme and this subject for d others, like me, who are not part of it. subculture.

What makes sneakerheads fascinating isn’t just the wildly creative artwork that goes into their shoes, but the fact that the best shoes will have a personal story behind them from the designer.

And the story of El is that of a talented entertainer who only needs one shot to achieve his dreams and how his socio-economic and family circumstances work against him, adding to his charm when he wins victories big and small.

El is a charming child, and Jacobs does a good job portraying his desire to create art and the teenage excitement that comes from falling in love after revealing his authentic self. Underwood plays a fierce future entrepreneur eager to forge her own path within her father’s company. El and Kira make a cute couple with obvious chemistry.

One of the best parts of “Sneakerella” is the artwork itself, especially when El’s designs come to life and move across the screen. It really provides a window into his creative process and lets viewers know exactly what he imagines in his mind when he’s inspired to create.

The film’s downside is its music. The soundtrack isn’t bad. It just seems generic and unnecessary. None of the tracks are memorable, and they all sound like a standard pop song one would expect to hear on a Disney TV movie soundtrack. “Sneakerella” would have worked much better as a simple movie without any song and dance numbers.

Still, the film has some great moments. I cried during El’s flashbacks to his mother getting sick and dying. Disney earned a tear, which is impressive for a made-for-TV movie. And I shed another tear for El’s best friend Sami (Devyn Nekoda), who’s probably gay but doesn’t really get to show it other than the rainbow hair, the makeup and pins. Throw us gay viewers a bone, Disney.

I watched this movie and it reminded me of movies that I watch with emotion like “My Date with the President’s Daughter” and “The Other Me”.

The film is available on Disney+ today.


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