‘Steven Universe the Movie’ continues to use music to convey messages

“Steven Universe the Movie” was released Sept. 2. It is based off of its TV show “Steven Universe,” that recently finished its fifth season.

This article may contain spoilers for this movie.

Growing up isn’t easy.

It especially isn’t easy growing up when your mother was an intergalactic war criminal.

Looking at “Steven Universe,” you wouldn’t expect issues as serious as war crimes to be addressed.

However, over the course of its six-year run, the show has tackled topics that other shows targeted toward children wouldn’t dare touch, such as gender equality, sexual orientation, and depression.

Because of the show creator, Rebecca Sugar’s, mature approach, it’s no surprise that “Steven Universe” has grabbed the attention of audiences of all ages.

Following the season five finale, “Change Your Mind,” a 44-minute-long special, Cartoon Network started to promote “Steven Universe: The

Movie,” which had been previously announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2018.

The movie officially aired Sept. 2 as a feature length musical, with musical collaborations from artists such as Chance the Rapper, Mike Krol and Estelle.

Taking place two years after the events of “Change Your Mind,” we see a bright new future for Beach City and all the citizens that live there.

Steven (Zach Callison), now 16, shows visible aging along with a much deeper voice in comparison to the season five finale.

Relieved that the fight between the dictatorial Great Diamond Authority has come to a peaceful end, Steven is content to live out the rest of his life with his family, The Crystal Gems, comprised of Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), Pearl (Deedee Magno Hall), and Garnet (Estelle).

This is exemplified by the musical number the group sings titled “Happily Ever After,” which also serves as a quick introduction to the Crystal Gems as characters.

Unfortunately for Steven, his happily ever after lasts a little less than 30 seconds after the song, as a mysterious new threat looms over them.

Arriving from the clouds, a giant drill-like machine digs its way into the hill overlooking Beach City, commanded by an unknown Gem.

The movie itself was designed as an homage to musicals of the past, both from film and stage.

The film begins with a velvet curtain being drawn back and an orchestral fanfare, building up to an opening narration by White Diamond, providing a recap of the events of the past five seasons.

The Broadway vocal talent in songs such as “Let Us Adore You,” “Independent Together,” and “system/BOOT.PearlFinal(3).info” are another reminder of why many fans fell in love with the series in the first place, amplified by the Broadway-like tone of the film.

Aesthetically, the movie pays tribute to art and cartoons of the past.

The new villain, Spinel (Sarah Stiles), moves in a style reminiscent of old “rubber-hose” animation techniques used by Fleischer Studios and Disney.

Accompanying her retro animation, Spinel’s introduction song, “Other Friends,” is set to the beat of an electro swing tune.

Not a surprise to most, the movie tackles difficult subjects in a mature and thought-out way.

Like previous episodes, the motivation of the villain is based upon something that Steven’s mother, Pink Diamond/Rose Quartz, did that wronged her.

In the case of Spinel, that would be leaving her stranded on a planet for 6,000 years, patiently following orders and waiting for Pink.

This trust is then broken as Spinel learns that Pink Diamond had since moved on, making new friends and forgetting about her entirely.

Heartbroken and lost, Spinel attempts to destroy Earth to get her revenge on the “other friends” she was abandoned for.

Steven, as usual, does not attempt to fight her, even going so far as to only defend himself in the final fight with Spinel, rather than go on the offensive.

Instead, Steven tries to talk her out of getting her revenge.

He shows Spinel that only she has the power to change how she feels about the situation. She was wronged, but she can change and move past it rather than dwelling on it and taking it out on strangers.

“Steven Universe the Movie” is a labor of passion and love by everyone involved in the production.

It not only gives fans a glimpse into the future of the series, but is a solid standalone movie for newcomers as well.