The Story of Steven
Steven Universe is a Cartoon Network animated series created by Rebecca Sugar, that’s a combination of comedy, drama, science fantasy, action, and coming of age, while sometimes having song numbers thanks to some of the cast being singers. Centering on a teenage boy and his adventures with the Crystal Gems in Beach City.
Gems are magical mineral based aliens whose physical bodies are just hard light projections as their gemstones in their bodies holds their entire mind. Steven is half human and half Gem as his mother, Rose Quartz, was the leader of the Crystal Gems. Rose’s group rebelled against the leaders of the Gem planet, Homeworld, to protect Earth. She fell in love with Steven’s father, Greg, but had to sacrifice her physical form for Steven to be born and thus given her gem.
The other Crystal Gems include stoic leader Garnet, mischievous Amethyst, and technical Pearl. Gems can fuse together to form a more powerful character with its own personality.
What Makes Steven Unique
What makes Universe unique is that it’s an animated kids show that doesn’t just deals with issues of growing up, responsibility, and relationships but also relating to LGBTQ, as Sugar is a supporter and has come out as bisexual. Fusion is an example of this due to being done as an act of love, so it’s easy to see as they all resemble women. Best exemplified with Garnet, as she is a fusion of a Ruby and a Sapphire.
It also works with individual Gems, like Pearl being in love with Rose. The way Pearl talks about her, handling Rose’s death, and her bond with Steven emphasize it. This helped Steven Universe not only gain acclaim and fans, but also became the first animated show to win a GLADD Media Award, an LGBTQ themed awards show.
New Movie, Same Feel
Steven Universe: The Movie is set two years after the fifth season finale, with Steven now 16 years old. After helping the Gem Homeworld become more peaceful, Steven returns to Earth hoping to live in peace with the Crystal Gems.
Soon after, a giant drill lands, operated by a deranged gem named Spinel. Using a scythe-like weapon, Spinel damages the Crystal Gems enough for them to revert back to their gems to heal and only slightly hurt Steven, weakening his powers. Just as Spinel activates the drill, Steven grabs her scythe and uses it against her, but it doesn’t stop the drill.
Although Steven uses his powers to heal the gems faster, their memories had been erased. Spinel also heals without her memories, though has a more goofy and positive outlook who only wants to entertain. With help from other Earth based Gems, Steven learns that the drill is poisoning the Earth. Examining Spinel’s scythe, the only way to restore the Crystal Gem’s minds is to reenact moments from each of their lives.
Getting Back Memories
Amethyst’s memories come back when Steven recounts the crazy adventures they’ve shared, while Pearl’s memories are brought back when Steven fuses with his dad. Pearl remembers that Spinel was created for Rose as a playmate, which saddens Spinel. Using a portal to land in a space garden, with Steven following her, he learns that Rose had her wait for six thousand years until she learned what happened to Rose. This caused Spinel to want revenge against what Rose loved, that being Earth.
Regaining her memories, Steven promises that he will treat her better, which convinces Spinel to turn off the drill. When Steven checks on everyone else, Spinel feels used, reactivating the drill and attacking Steven, which helps regain Garnet’s memories. The Crystal Gems save the humans in town while Steven confronts Spinel. It’s during the fight that he learns why his powers aren’t healed, as his desire of keeping everything intact and not allowing for change reverted his powers. Once Steven accepts that change and growth are necessary, he regains all of his powers, defeats Spinel, and destroys the drill.
Spinel hates what she has become and believes there is no place for her to belong in. Immediaetly after, the Diamonds, leaders of the Gem Homeworld, arrive on Earth and become infatuated by Spinel. Finding someone intersected in her and willing to love and play, Spinel goes with them back to Homeworld. With the drill destroyed, everyone works together to fix the town and Steven uses his powers to heal the Earth.
Show to Movie
Even at eighty minutes, the movie manages to capture what the show usually does with every ten minute episode. The maturity and messages are told so beautifully, the animation and voice acting continues to impress, and the music and songs are well done. Just like the show, the mix of comedy and drama is perfectly balanced without one overdoing the other. As the show is still running, the movie does a perfect job at not only continuing Steven’s story but also keeping things open for what future episodes will deal with, especially with him accepting there’s a lot more growth and change he will have to deal with.
Spinel’s design is unique compared to most other Gems seen on the show as she has very rubbery and springy arms that let her jump around a lot. It also applies to the way she looks as her original form had a very 1930s Disney design, while the darker version has a bit of anime inspiration. Spinel’s voice actress, Sarah Stiles, does an awesome job at capturing the mentally broken modern version and the spunky and over the top rebooted personality.
The few complaints there are for it are that it relies a lot on continuity and can confuse new viewers and while Steven and his dad fusing is a cool but brief moment, knowing what fusion means for Gems can make it a little awkward.
Never forgetting what the show focused on, Steven Universe: The Movie is a beautiful and emotional chapter that accepts change. It looks into the future while also remembering the past and making sure it learns.
How did we rate the Steven Universe movie?
Rating: 6 Sodas
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