Home » word wide » Review: ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ sucks the sparkle out of cartoon origin

Review: ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ sucks the sparkle out of cartoon origin

The original “Winx Club” cartoon promoted female friendship with a healthy dash of glitter, but Netflix’s live-action series abandons any sense of color in a misguided attempt to age the show for a newer audience. Fate: The Winx Saga” premiered on Netflix on Jan. 22, and subsequently shot to #1 trending after nostalgic Winx fans devoured the series. The adaptation’s dark, mysterious tone earned comparisons to CW’s “Riverdale” and Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” and like those TV shows, Winx lost the original elements that made them lovable.

Created in 2004 by Italian production company Rainbow, many kids grew up watching the beloved animated series. The show was groundbreaking for its time, but its live-action counterpart retreats into tired tropes. Though both versions center on a group of college-aged fairies attending the magic school Alfea, it becomes clear in the first episode that “Fate” is not the “Winx Club.” The only similarities are the names of characters and places.

The original Winx Club protagonists were a diverse group of teen girls: Bloom, Stella, Musa, Flora, Tecna and Aisha. The group served as role models for young children worldwide. The live-action scraps Techna entirely, trades Flora for new earth fairy Terra and vastly changes the surviving characters’ personalities. While half of the cartoon six are coded as characters of color, Aisha was the only one to survive a baffling, disappointing display of whitewashing.

“Fate” follows 16-year-old Bloom, played by Abigail Cowen, as she discovers her power as a fire fairy and arrives at Alfea. In the primary plot, she attempts to discover who her parents are and who she is, amid threats from demonic, red-eyed monsters called “Burned Ones.” She meets her suitemate Stella, played by Hannah van der Westhuysen, the rest of the so-called Winx, and her love interest Sky, played by Danny Griffin, — a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Specialist that looks like he was pulled out of an Abercrombie catalogue.

Most Winx fans now are in their late teens or 20s, so naturally, Netflix thought that the correct approach would be to — literally — darken things. The glittery, colorful world of Winx is dulled into a British boarding school. Alfea abandons its pastel pinks and blues and sits in gray monotone, and the students’ fashion is equally dull. Someone should inform Netflix that “aging up” a show does not mean putting the Sepia filter over the camera.

The original “Winx Club” was about the power of friendships and believing in yourself, but these messages are lost amid teenage angst. In the cartoon, Bloom and Stella’s strong, supportive friendship is one of the show’s core relationships. “Fate” scraps this dynamic and pits them against each other for the affections of Sky. By trading their friendship for a guy, “Fate” reduces these two women to pawns in a love triangle, sweeping feminism several steps backward.

The thin, pretty blonde Stella could have been reduced to the classic mean girl in the original cartoon, but instead, she was supportive, upbeat and kind to other girls. “Fate” relies on the jealous but “hot” girlfriend trope for Stella. Sure, there’s some depth to her character in later episodes, but, like the rest of “Fate’s” Winx girls, she’s not the friend that she could have been.

Like its protagonist, “Fate” has an identity crisis. It doesn’t seem to know who its audience is, but it either greatly missed the mark for the nostalgic Winx fans, or it wasn’t aiming for them in the first place. The show is as indecisive as Stella is about her feelings for Sky and towards her suitemates. It certainly does not know what friendship is, and it’s difficult to root for the characters with their inconsistent personalities and lack of genuine interaction with one another. The passive- aggressive and hostile attitudes of the characters toward one another remains throughout the episodes. Pitting female protagonists against each other is not friendship.

For those with no attachment to its cartoon origins, “Fate” is sure to please those who love cliche plot lines and characters. The entirety of the season revolves around Bloom’s quest to discover the truth about her birth parents, until it leads her to put the entire university in danger. The specialists, elite soldiers, were unable to defeat “Burned Ones,” but Bloom was able to do so on her first try despite having no control over her magic or emotions. Love triangles, chosen ones, tragic backstories — “Fate” has it all within six episodes.

Conceptually, the world itself might be intriguing. The fairies’ differing powers and special effects that bring them to life are pretty to watch, whether it be fire on fingertips or plants blooming from stone. Humor peeks through the darkness every so often, and pleasant side characters are usually more endearing than the main ones.
That said, the series’ pros aren’t enough to warrant a rewatch. The world of Winx may be magical, but “Fate” is far from enchanting.


Check Also

Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn Can Be Heard Singing In Joker 2 Set Video

Joker: Folie à Deux is a musical, and the movie’s first snippet of Lady Gaga’s …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *