Summary: While at the Secret Library, Sofia learns that the long-lost Princess Elena of the kingdom of Avalor has been trapped inside her amulet for forty-one years, and Sofia is up to the task to free her and battle the sorceress Shuriki to save the kingdom.
The premier movie provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: With the exception of Esteban (who has other reasons to follow her, though he ultimately doesnt like her either and ends up coming around), Armando (who switches sides once Elena returns), and the guards (who are implied to be from where Shuriki came from as opposed to locals), people of Avalor do not like Shuriki at all. When they learn that Elena has returned, they don't hesitate to side with her and make a stand against Shuriki for once and for all.
- An Aesop: If you did something bad to achieve success, your past will catch up with you.
- Chekhov's Gun: The song that the flute boy plays when Sofia and her family arrive in Avalor is "My Time". In addition, while the flute boy is playing, Shuriki says "[...] to the palace [...]" at roughly the same time where that lyric would be in the song. The flute boy also returns in the climax, helping lead the crowd to the palace.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Esteban is stuck between helping Elena or continue serving Shuriki, because while he wants to help his family retake the throne, he believes it to be a hopeless fight.Armando: So Princess Elena lives!
Esteban: Apparently so...
Armando: She's the rightful heir to the throne! We should be helping her!
Esteban: And what do you suppose we do? Fight the queen? Because we will lose!
Armando: But Elena is your cousin, Esteban!
Esteban: And our grandparents raised me like a son, and I think about what happened to them everyday, so I do not need you to remind me, Armando.
- Continuity Nod:
- The events of the episode take place in Sofia's summer vacation in Season 3, following "Camp Wilderwood" and "Royal Vacation" in airing order or followed by said episodes in production order.
- Shuriki has banned music from her kingdom.
- Shuriki is an evil queen (and is only a queen by technicality) and Princess Elena had been driven out of her own country and deemed a criminal by this evil queen. Sound familiar?
- Shuriki, being Really 700 Years Old, rapidly ages after losing her source of magic and tumbles down a tall height to her (supposed) death, much like Mother Gothel.
- Covers Always Lie: The boxart shows Elena front and center with Sofia barely noticeable in the distance, when Sofia is really the main star and Elena is the deuteragonist.
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe. Apparently, no one outside of Avalor knew that Shuriki usurped the throne from the real royal family four decades ago. Possibly justified, since this is medieval times and Shuriki could have placed a censorship on that kind of information. Or, she used her magic to alter information and likely people's memories.
- Dark Is Evil: Shuriki's guards and Esteban wear black and dark colors. Inverted with Esteban, who is a Punch-Clock Villain and is otherwise a rather reasonable and friendly guy, then subverted at the end when he returns to the side of good.
- Daylight Horror: King Raul and Queen Lucia were coming home for dinner when Shuriki killed them.
- Deadly Euphemism: King Raul and Queen Lucia's lives were taken by Shuriki or that they're gone now.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- To imperialism. Shuriki, a foreigner of white skin, invading a country of another race and usurping its leadership (the royalty, in fact) and oppressing its culture. Also, it happens in the first place because someone with connections to high-ranking officials (Esteban) was ambitious enough to betray them to the invaders.
- The king and queen being suddenly murdered by a shot of magic on a seemingly ordinary day in broad daylight by a political enemy is reminiscent of real-life assassination attempts on political figures.
- From what we see of Shuriki's rule, she will absolutely not tolerate music, and people are scared of leaving their homes, as well as talking too loudly in fear of being taken as treasonous. People even have to be forced to attend the welcoming for Sofia's family and are also forced to cheer and applaud.
- Extremely Short Time Span: The visit to Avalor takes place in one day, with Sofia and her family arriving in the morning and Shuriki is overthrown later that afternoon.
- Fantastic Racism: Shuriki sees the jaquins as annoying pests. Esteban doesn't seem to like them that much either, as he appears annoyed when they show up and when Armando gushes about how they're a symbol of Avalor to the Enchancian royal family.
- Shuriki is seen using her magic wand to remove her wrinkles and blemishes early on. When Elena destroys her wand at the end, she rapidly ages.
- James tries to look behind a curtain in the throne room, which Shuriki and Esteban immediately stop him from doing, claiming that it is a delicate fabric. It turns out later that behind it is the magic painting that Isabel, Abuelo, and Abuela were sealed into by Alacazar to protect them.
- When Shuriki reveals that her second-in-command is Elena's cousin, Esteban, he claims to Elena that he had no choice but to join Shuriki, which Shuriki laughs at and denies. We learn shortly later that he helped Shuriki take over Avalor in the first place before he actually joined her.
- Framing Device: The plot is told in flashback by Elena to Naomi as they visit a waterfall.
- HeelFace Turn: Esteban pulls through for Elena in the end, grabbing Shuriki's wand before she can cast a spell and throwing it to Elena, allowing her to destroy it and defeat Shuriki. Though he lied to her about the fact that he helped Shuriki take over Avalor in the first place, staying by Shuriki's side in case the rest of the family got hurt seems to point that he had a legit reason to stay.
- Musical World Hypotheses: All-Maestro Cast.
- The jaquins sing about how they sing in defiance of Shuriki's rule and ban on music.
- Near the end when the people of Avalor march to the palace, they sing a reprise of "My Time". Shuriki notes that they are singing, having banned singing and dancing from Avalor out of hate.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Esteban, who betrayed his family to Shuriki in exchange for power. Shuriki had promised to spare them, but killed his aunt and uncle, and attempted to kill the rest of his family too.
- Never Trust a Title: Contrary to the title, Elena is the subject of the plot, but its Sofia whos the main star.
- Never Say "Die": This being a show for younger children, Shuriki killing King Raul and Queen Lucia is never referred to as such despite being killed onscreen, instead referred to as her having "taken [their lives] away" or that they're "gone" now.
- Never Trust a Trailer: As the promos may concern, the movie really counts as a Sofia the First episode since the animation is based on that show and said credits are used at the end.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: After Shuriki's defeat, Esteban assures Elena that he was always on the side of family, but looks down at the ground. The viewers already know from earlier that he had betrayed his family, though know that he does regret it.
- Obviously Evil: Shuriki puts on a facade of being a kind old queen, but she lets it slip a few times like ordering Esteban to have the guards snatch a young boy's flute for playing it and snapping at Sofia when she "accidentally" steps on her foot while dancing with her. The Enchancian royal family notice this, but decide that it's Probably Just Nothing and Sofia is the only one who sees through it.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Shuriki and Esteban have one when Elena returns to the palace after being presumed dead for the last forty-one years.
- Shuriki and her men when the people of Avalor march to the palace.
- Poor Communication Kills: The jaquins know the truth about the Avaloran royal family and that Shuriki isn't the genuine ruler of Avalor, but they don't inform the Enchancian royal family of this. It could be assumed that they thought they already knew, since they initially dismiss Sofia as a supporter of Shuriki and it is only after she tells them what she knows that they cooperate with her.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: Or at least that was the original intention. It's quite clear that Elena and the other Avalorans are heroes of another story, one that begins here with Sofia saving Elena.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Esteban does his best to be this while appeasing Shuriki at the same time.
- The Reveal: Assuming that you haven't watched Elena of Avalor yet...
- There's a princess inside of the Amulet of Avalor — a princess named Elena.
- Avalor is a location, and in fact, the homeland of Princess Elena.
- When Elena confronts Shuriki in the throne room, Shuriki reveals that her chancellor is Elena's cousin, Esteban, having aged forty-one years since they last saw each other.
- Rightful King Returns: Elena, the crown heir to the throne of Avalor, returns home to take back the throne from Shuriki. She succeeds, thanks to the help of the Enchancia royal family and the people of Avalor.
- Secret Test of Character: All of the blessings and curses Sofia received from the amulet were all revealed to prove if she is the one who can free Elena from it.
- "Setting Off" Song: "The Great Unknown" for Sofia, as she decides on the family trip to Avalor.
- Stating the Simple Solution: When Shuriki's guards close the castle gates on the uprising, Elena wants to barge open the gates with the jaquins, but Sofia points out that they can just fly over the gates and open them from inside, which Elena agrees to.
- Tempting Fate: Elena believes Shuriki isn't powerful without her wand, and can use the wand against her. But Elena finds out the hard way she doesn't know how to use the wand.
- Token Good Teammate: Esteban and Armando are this to Shuriki.
- Voice of Reason: Esteban keeps Shuriki in line while in the presence of their guests so to keep up a good impression. When she almost pulls out her magic wand to lash out at the jaquins, Esteban manages to prevent it and instead reasons that they'll just leave the jaquins alone by going back inside.
- Wham Episode: Elena is freed from Sofia's amulet after being trapped there for so long.
- Wham Line: Shuriki revealing that Esteban is Elena's cousin.Shuriki: [to Elena after she learns about the painting] Besides, you haven't said hello to your cousin, Esteban.
- Wham Shot: The curtain being removed in the throne room, revealing a painting of Abuelo, Abuela, and Isabel behind it.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: After Esteban learns that Elena, Isabel, and their grandparents were alive this whole time, he confronts Shuriki, saying that when they made the deal, she promised to not harm his family. She lied, of course, and if he doesn't watch his step, he'll end up just like his aunt and uncle.