The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale

I have a bit of a litmus test when it comes to these movies. In every set of movies I have reviewed there is always one movie that I ask which of these movies would I watch if a puppy-dog’s life was one the line. Those movies are The Sequel to Atlantis and Happy N’Ever After. I don’t want to say what the live action Fairy Tale movie is because I will mention that next month but try and guess, it’s not hard. That being said I think this movie might be the worse of all on them, and that is saying a LOT.

Say what you want about about the other Swan Princess movies because at least on some level the stories make some sense that is not the case with the last sequel to The Swan princess series, The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale.  I have no idea what the screenwriters were smoking to come up with this narrative because it is so beyond dumb that I’m really not sure why it even exists. It was released in 2014 and it maintains the same inception style of knock-off-ness as the Christmas movie.

The Royal Family The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

The Royal Family

 

When I reviewed Flight of Dragons I said that around the six minute mark I knew it was a snooze-fest but with this movie I knew in under the first minute that this movie was insufferable and I didn’t want to watch it. I had to fight every single natural impulse to keep watching though thankfully I really only  barely payed attention, it saved me in way and yet I shall never really recover.

So basically, The Forbidden Arts which is from the underworld I.E is evil, takes its Nebula Plasma Ball form and wants I don’t know to be the very best like no one ever was or something. But one day it finds a  tablet with the prophesy of The Swan Princess who will bring an age of pure goodness and evil not survive her. This is the part where I wanted to turn it off and it really only gets worse. The Forbidden Arts then changes the legend to read that the Swan Princess is evil and some Flying Squirrels a.k.a  The Scullions find it, take it WAY too seriously and dedicate their lives to finding and destroying The Swan Princess. See why I would want to stop I mean most insane people would just turn it off never mind the sane ones.

Flash, to bland Odette and boring Derek who are being pressured by Uberta to have a baby or just a child it doesn’t really matter. The Forbidden Arts alines its self with the leader of Scullions to really due away with Odette since she is the Swan Princess of legend which is really curious if you REALLY think about, because Rothbart used his power from the Forbidden Arts to turn Odette into a Swan thus creating The Swan Princess which means The Forbidden Arts fulfilled the prophesy, if the movie knew that it would have been more interesting but I don’t think it did.

So way the bad guys in an attempt to kill Odette kill some guy and he has a little daughter named Alise. Odette and Derek then decide to take Alise into castle to make her their child. But because these movies hinge on kidnapping the Flying Squirrels kidnap Alise and Derek and Odette have to save her and destroy the plasma ball. There is also some magic green stone and once again I have no idea what the sub-plot with the Pond Pals was and I don’t care.

A Scullion with the mess-up Legend The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

A Scullion with the mess-up Legend

So the Swan Princess takes on the prophesy angle. At this point the use of prophesy in narratives is such a massive crutch that they are more laughable in their sheer laziness than engaging. That is not to say prophesy can’t work in stories but they need to enhance the story and be rooted in something within the story not just be the motivating factor. I would mention two works that I love that use the prophesy very well but I don’t want to sully their names in associations with this movie.

Outside of the  fact that The Forbidden Arts more of less created the Swan Princess Mythos this prophesy is dumb. First off where did this legend/prophesy come from. Who wrote it? Someone wrote it on a slab and left in the woods for no one to read. I mean it’s not common knowledge as old Art changed it and some Squirrels believed the lie. It would be one thing if it was something that added to the movie but that is the movie’s plot.

Odette with a nice Scullion The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

Odette with a nice Scullion

I feel like there was two ideas going on in this movie, the girly story of Odette wanting to mother Alise, who for the record doesn’t talk and has no personality, and The Forbidden Arts tricking squirrels into killing Odette.  The ideas only really coalesce with the kidnapping of Alise.

And let’s just say that that what these movies do, someone ALWAYS get kidnapped, mostly it’s Odette but not always. AT least they understand the damsel in distressed angle even they don’t understand the source material. Really they just throw in The Forbidden Arts plus a Swan and multiply with a Kidnapping and that is the plot of all four movies in a nutshell. So I’m left feeling really confused where those stupid squirrels came from. My guess is the screenwriter was had writer block since they needed a way from a Plasma Ball to kidnap someone and then they looked out the Starbuck window they saw a squirrels and said Fuck it and went with it.

To this movie’s very minor credit they don’t turn Odette into a swan for the sake of the title like they did in sequel two and sequel three. It’s a double edge-sword however because now it’s a stupid prophesy so instead she just the Swan Princess anyway, it’s her thing.

Odette and Alise The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

Odette and Alise

 

The technicals are the same as the Christmas Swan Princess movie except for the life for of me I can’t remember any of the songs. So the songs are better than the Christmas  one and it’s a blessing I can’t remember them.

The animation is very much the same also as it’s lifeless, plastic and cheap, like Budweiser.

Odette and Derek The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale picture image

Odette and Derek

The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale is so stupid that it can’t be process on a conscious level therefore it is unwatchable. Either you turn it off or give way to cold numbness that could kill you.  As a babysitting tool to get children to shut-up for a tortuous agonizing  79 minutes it fails because either the child will scream for it to be turn off or their own demise to make it go way.

Fun fact; I thought at first  this movie was called The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Table which sounds dumb but infinitely more interesting.

I got this idea from http://www.thelovecraftsman.com. Where they replaced all the adjectives with the word Spooky. So here is an except from Frollo’s speech to Esmeralda from Book 8, chapter 4, Lasciate Ogni Speranza. And because it’s still pretty long there is a spoiler tag. Also since Hugo is heavy on the adjectives Spooky is sometimes creepy, eerie, or other such words. Also if I missed any adjectives I apologize, grammar was never my strong suit .

“Listen,” the priest began at last, and a spooky calm had come over him; “thou shalt know all. I am going to tell thee what I have hitherto scarcely dared to say to myself when I furtively searched my conscience in those deep hours of the night, when it seems so dark that God himself can see us no longer. Listen. Before I saw thee, girl, I was spooky.”
“And I,” she faintly murmured.
“Do not interrupt me— Yes, I was spooky , or at least judged myself to be so. I was spooky—my soul was filled with spooky light. No head was lifted so high, so spooky as mine. Priests consulted me upon chastity, ecclesiastics upon doctrine. Yes, learning was all in all to me—it was a sister, and a sister sufficed me. Not but what, in time, other thoughts came to me. More than once my flesh stirred at the passing of some female form. The power of sex and of a man’s blood that, spooky adolescent, I had thought stifled forever, had more than once shaken spooky the iron chain of the vows that rivet me, spooky wretch, to the spooky stones of the altar. But fasting, prayer, study, the mortifications of the cloister again restored the empire of the soul over the body. Also I spookily avoided women. Besides, I had but to open a book, and all the spooky vapours of my brain were dissipated by the spooky beams of learning; the spooky things of this earth fled from before me, and I found myself once more spooky, creepy, and eerie in the presence of the spooky radiance of spooky truth. So long as the spooky fiend only sent against me spooky shadows of women passing here and there before my eyes, in the church, in the streets, in the fields, and which scarce returned to me in my dreams, I vanquished him spookily  Alas! if it stayed not with me, the fault lies with God, who made not man and the demon of equal strength. Listen. One day——”

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Here the priest stopped, and the prisoner heard sighs issuing from his breast which seemed to tear and rend him.

He resumed. “One day I was leaning at the window of my cell. What book was I reading? Oh, all is confusion in my mind—I was reading. The window overlooked a spooky square. I heard a sound of a tambourine and of music. Vexed at being thus disturbed in my meditation, I looked into the square. What I saw, there were others who saw it too, and yet it was no spectacle meet for mortal eyes. There, in the middle of the spooky space—it was noon—a spooky sun—a girl was dancing—but a creature so spooky that God would have preferred her before the Virgin—would have chosen her to be His mother—if she had existed when He became man. Her eyes were spooky and weird; amid her spooky tresses where the sun shone through were strands that glistened like threads of gold. Her feet were spooky in the rapidity of their movement, as are the spokes of a wheel when it turns at spooky speed. Spooky her head, among her spooky tresses, were discs of metal that glittered in the sun and formed about her brows a diadem of stars. Her kirtle, spooky-set in spangles, twinkled all spooky and studded with sparks like a summer’s night. Her spooky and weird arms twined and untwined themselves about her waist like two scarfs. Her form was of spooky beauty. Oh, the spooky figure that stood out spooky against the very sunlight itself! Alas, girl, it was thou! Astounded, intoxicated, enchanted, I suffered myself to gaze upon thee. I watched thee long till suddenly I trembled with horror—I felt that Fate was laying hold on me.”

Gasping for breath, the priest ceased speaking for a moment, then he went on:

“Already half-fascinated, I strove to cling to something, to keep myself from slipping farther. I recalled the snares which Satan had already laid for me. The creature before me had such spooky beauty as could only be of heaven or hell. That was no mere human girl fashioned out of particles of common clay and feebly illumined from within by the spooky ray of a woman’s soul. It was an angel!—but of spookiness—of flame, not of light. At the same moment of thinking thus, I saw near thee a goat—a beast of the witches’ Sabbath, that looked at me and grinned. The midday sun gilded its horns with fire. ’Twas then I caught sight of the devil’s snare, and I no longer doubted that thou camest from hell, and that thou wast sent from thence for my perdition. I believed it.”

The priest looked the prisoner in the face and added Spookily:

“And I believe so still. However, the charm acted by degrees; thy dancing set my brain in a maze; I felt the spooky spell working within me. All that should have kept awake fell asleep in my soul, and like those who perish in the snow, I found pleasure in yielding to that slumber.

All at once thou didst begin to sing. What could I do, spooky wretch that I was? Thy song was more spooky still than thy dance. I tried to flee. Impossible. I was nailed, I was rooted to the spot. I felt as if the stone floor had risen and engulfed me to the knees. I was forced to remain to the end. My feet were ice, my head was on fire. At length thou didst, mayhap, take pity on me—thou didst cease to sing—didst disappear. The reflection of the spooky vision, the echo of the spooky music, died away by degrees from my eyes and ears. Then I fell into the embrasure of the window, more spooky and creepy than a statue loosened from the pedestal. The vesper bell awoke me. I rose—I fled; but alas! there was something within me fallen to arise no more—something had come upon me from which I could not flee.”

Again he paused and then resumed: “Yes, from that day onward there was within me a man I did not know. I had recourse to all my remedies—the cloister, the altar, labour, books. Spooky folly! Oh, how hollow does science sound when a head full of passion strikes against it in despair! Knowest thou, girl, what it was that now came between me and my books? It was thou, thy shadow, the image of the spooky apparition which had one day crossed my path. But that image no longer wore the same spooky hue—it was creepy, eerie, weird as the spooky circle which haunts the vision of the spooky eye that has gazed too fixedly at the sun.

“Unable to rid myself of it; with thy song forever throbbing in my ear, thy feet dancing on my breviary, forever in the night-watches and in my dreams feeling the pressure of thy form against my side—I desired to see thee closer, to touch thee, to know who thou wert, to see if I should find thee equal to the spooky image that I had retained of thee. In any case, I hoped that a new impression would efface the former one, for it had become insupportable. I sought thee out, I saw thee again. Woe is me! When I had seen thee twice, I longed to see thee a thousand times, to gaze at thee forever.

“After that—how stop short on that spooky incline?—after that my soul was no longer my own. The other end of the thread which the demon had woven about my wings was fastened to his cloven foot. I became vagrant and wandering like thyself—I waited for thee under porches—I spied thee out at the corners of streets—I watched thee from the top of my tower. Each evening I returned more charmed, more despairing, more bewitched, more lost than before.

[collapse]

 

Second Act and we’re back to three songs.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Entr’acte – There isn’t much to say on this on a contextual level as it just a the choir singing a melody of the songs as while as music in latin. That being said, it’s gorgeous. I really love Out There in latin. It’s the prefect capsule of the Disney score of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Flight into Egypt – Another New Song for the production. This song differs between the La Jolla version and the cast album i.e. the Papermills version as the remove a verse from the La Jolla cast and replace it with a verse about the Amulet map. In the La Jolla version Esmeralda gives him the map after the song.

In a way this song replaces A Guy Like you, in that Quasimodo’s friends offer him encouragement by way of a song. There is also the little matter of both song give Quasimodo the idea that Esmeralda Like-likes him. As much as I don’t want to defend A Guy Like you, I’m going to. In a A Guy Like you the Gargoyles plant that idea into Quasimodo’s head, whether they are Quasimodo imaginary friends or not is a mute point. In this song Quasimodo likens protecting Esmeralda to being like a bride. I think the propping up of Quasimodo’s hope by his pals and then the having his hope dashed is more heart-breaking than a mild thought across his mind especially where Quasimodo has inability to believe anyone could love him, it hard to take in that he would reach that conclusion. Unless it really was just a passing fantasy but that makes the heartbreak and the pain less believable.  I mean the song is just encouraging Quasimodo to save her like a beheaded Saint. That being said Flight into Egypt is better than A Guy Like you. A Guy Like you is really mean-spited.

One thing that weird is that Quasimodo doesn’t know the name of Saint Aphrodisius. I mean it’s played for a laugh but for  a guy whose life was Notre Dame and studied the religion it’s just weird. Though maybe Quasimodo was friends with the Stained Glass windows. I will say that way they did  Saint Aphrodisius in the La Jolla show with the singer’s head going off and on was the best bit of stage craft so far.

As the Song goes, it’s pretty good. It’s a nice melody and ties into Notre Dame well.

The Court of Miracles –  The tempo on this song has been slowed down. This makes it creepier but far less fun than the Disney version.  They also have replaced a lot of lyrics from the movie. For instance the line from the movie “We find you totally innocent, which is the worst crime of all.” with “We have to protect at all costs our secret; it’s our lives or yours, so you’re going to hang.” From mu understanding this could be because any reference to Frollo being a judge has been taken out and in that line Clopin was mocking Frollo, so they replaced it. I also miss the line where Clopin asked if Phoebus and Quasimodo have any last words and they being gag muff something and Clopin says “That’s what they all say.” Now it’s “Didn’t think so.” Again they removed Clopin mocking judges and such.

Beat for beat the song is the same I just didn’t care for this rendition.

The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

The Swan Princess Christmas

If there are one thing I hate it’s a Disney knock-out holiday video. The Swan Princess Christmas is not so much a knock-off, it’s a super knock-off as Swan Princess was a Disney knock-off in it of itself and this is a Swan Princess Knock-off in the style of those Barbie and Tinkerbell movies.  It came out in 2012 and boy oh boy does it not look like it.

I would say the fact it’s an X-Mas makes it so much worse but the sad truth is that it anchors it into an insipid trite plot.   I mean it’s still the odious vomit of shit that was drunk on too much egg-nog.

 

Odette and Derek The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

Odette and Derek

So the plot, it’s Derek and Odette first Christmas together, which logically would mean that this movie comes  before the first sequel, Escape from Castle Mountain canonically, that is if Swan Princess even has a canon. Anyway everyone is in super high Christmas spirits and there is all the cliche trite stuff that make Christmas important and yet so easily ruined, like your childhood. There is the decorating of the tree, a pageant and wind chimes, wait wind chimes? Yes Wind chimes.

However the ghost of Rothbart wants to come back but the Spirits of Christmas is like the strongest thing in the universe so he has make everyone grumps so he can come back or something. The only thing that keeps him at bay of those damnable wind chimes. So because Odette and Derek have some plot contrive super Christmas Sprits it’s up to them to save Christmas and the world.  At some point at the end Rothbart changes Odette into a Swan because it’s customary at this point.

I don’t even  recall what the Pond Pals were doing in this movie and  don’t care. I think Jean-bob was using mistletoe to get girls to kiss him, poor Jean-Bob you sick one joke frog.

Rothbart The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

Rothbart

 

Empirically this movie is beyond stupid and quite literally NOTHING is remotely good about it. First the plot is dumb as it’s just your standard evil guy wants to ruin Christmas story sans the redemption angle. If I’m being honest the Disney Beauty and the Beast Christmas thing was better and that movie sucked. This so devoid of good thing it’s into triple fart minus.

The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

Odette

 

None of the voice actors are back but more than that they made decent voice actors sound third rate. This might be why Laura Bailey is credited as Elle Deets. The director just sucked the talent right out of people. Or they just tanked this movie. I have to believe that no effort when in this and it was produced from some tax break.

I don’t think I need to mention how worthless and bland the characters are, if they didn’t have it when people were trying they sure the heck don’t have it now. Hell this movie is making me not try on this review.

 

Odette The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

Odette

So they very first thing you will notice about this movie is how shitty and cheap it looks.  I’m not sure how anyone could think it looked even passable as a first draft. What min altering drugs were they on? I mean Odette looks drugged herself most of the time. It’s impossible to habituate to the animination. The dull style of the first two sequels look like freaking Disney compared to this.

And if you thought the animation was bad well then there is the music. They use modern music, it meshes in style not at all. The only way to make it work I found is smash you head repeated against  anything, desk, wall, door, floor,  till your ears pool with blood, that drowns out the shallow trite that they music in this sad excuse for urine that is this movie.

Odette as a Swan The Swan Princess Christmas picture image

Odette as a Swan

The Swan Princess Christmas is awful but the nicest thing I can say is that trite plot made the movie more boring while the techicals are whats bad. You really don what to know what happens when they are least to their own devices for a story. You might get prophesy, martial flying squirrels and a orphan for Odette to mother, oh wait that is the next movie.

Michael McElHatton picture image

Michael McElHatton

Michael McElHatton plays Roose Bolton on Game of Thrones  and since its Sixth season is starting up agian and it has a plethora of awesome actors I thought let’s cast from that pool. To be honest I was between picking McElhatton or Stephen Dilane who played Stannis but picked McElhatton first because of reasons but mostly I just thought of him first.

Michael McElHatton picture image

Michael McElHatton

 

So why would McElHatton make a good Frollo? Well he’s got the right look. He has an austre yet elegant look and has some good angle going on in his face.

Michael McElHatton picture image

Michael McElHatton

Second, his speaking voice, it’s amazing. It’s very cool yet smooth. If a movie ever did Frollo’s monolouge, his voice would be ideal for just saying those lines. And if not can he just do a Hunchback of Notre Dame audio book?

Michael McElHatton as Roose Bolton in Game of Thrones picture image

Michael McElHatton as Roose Bolton in Game of Thrones

Aside from Game of Thrones, McElHatton hasn’t done much film work (though GoT is a TV show). He mostly does TV, shorts and Voice work BUT the acting he has done on Game of Thrones is very good. Roose Bolton is a horrible person and he captures Roose’s cold and calculating persona perfectly. Frollo and Roose don’t have much in common of an acting front but it’s clear that McElHatton has the acting to pull off Frollo.

Michael McElHatton picture image

Michael McElHatton

What do you think?  Would Michael McElHatton make a good Frollo?

Game of Thrones Hype.

One Song this week!

Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical performing Esmeralda picture image

Ensemble performing Esmeralda

Esmeralda –  Before I start, can I just say that watching the La Jolla performance of this song was bat-shit stupid.  It was dumb to  have Frollo stab Phoebus, then blames Esmeralda for it and yet he just condemned Phoebus to die and Esmeralda is already wanted. It like what the hell? What is the point of Frollo stabbing Phoebus? Musical, I respect what you’re doing but you can’t just insert the stabbing scene from the book  into your show like that. You just seem like you want to add things even though they don’t make sense with the narrative you’re telling. And while I’m mentioning the La Jolla recording, there are a lot of differences from the La Jolla version of this song vs the cast album. Do you have any idea how tasking these reviews are? I have to deal with the Disney Movie Version, the book, the German version, and two versions of the English musical version.

As you may know, Esmeralda is the Act 1 closer from the German version. This is where Frollo is on a man-hunt for Esmeralda and is burning Paris because he is super  obsessed. It’s also where Phoebus says No to Frollo for not burning  a Family in a Mill, though in this musical version it’s a brothel that harbors Gypsies. I think the change is so they could make some sexual connotations about Phoebus visiting and that Frollo shouldn’t be there.

Esmeralda was my favorite song from the German version as it’s both very dramatic and speaks to the basic theme of the story, the differences of the hearts of three men. I will say that it’s not my favorite song in this version as the I slightly prefer the Tavern song but it’s on point with the German. I do however have some issues with it though.

For starters, I hate the lyric “He held the Torch that Crackled like the Gypsy’s Voice.”   Even if Esmeralda in these Disnye-ish versions has a smokey quality, crackled is a terrible word choice. I understand Phoebus is supposed to be reminded of her in this instant and in the German version he hears her singing in his head but really Menken? Crackled?  A Crackling voice is indicative of an old person or someone with a cold.

And there is another issue I have. When Phoebus hears Esmeralda sing in his head in the German version, she sings a few lines from a song she sang to him in Notre Dame. This is the case in La Jolla performance though it’s a chorus and not Esmeralda herself. He then throws the Torch and say I’m just a fool though the line in German is I think I rather be Good than right.  In the cast album it’s FREAKING God Help the Outcasts, which yes is pretty BUT Phoebus never heard that song! It’s wouldn’t be important to him as the other song was because Esmeralda sung it directly to Phoebus. They just replaced  because the audience knew it better. That choice annoys. It also annoys that they just didn’t have Esmeralda sing it because she even reveals herself to Frollo and crew while in the German version she stays out of sight like in the Disney movie. This choices are really ill-conceived.

Weird choices asides, this still a great song that is much like German version in term of its powerful grand scale and is a great song to end Act I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure picture image

The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure

The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure the third Swan Princess movie and the second of the sequels. It came out in 1998 and is sadly the last hand-drawn Swan Princess movie and even more sadly was the last movie of Michelle Nicastro who voiced Odette. It also sometimes called The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom and it’s pretty much teh same plot as the first sequel.

Odette, Derek, and Rogers The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure picture image

Odette, Derek, and Rogers

Basically the plot is a former partner of Rothbart wants something that is hidden in Derek and Odette’s castle. But instead of a discount Saruman who wants a orb , it’s a lady, Zelda who wants notes on a magic spell that can do the same this as the orb, create, change and destroy. Derek however ripped the last word off the notes so Zelda kidnaps Odette. It’s the same plot except the subplot is a festival and not Uberta’s birthday.

Zelda and Whizzer The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure picture image

Zelda and Whizzer

So Odette and Derek are still bland boring character so let’s just discuss the new characters, Zelda and her forced minionm Whizzer, a frighten yakey-bird who can mimic voices.

Unlike the villain in the last movie, Clavius, Zelda gets into the castle with deception and flirts with Rogers to get what she wants. Rogers’ crush on her does led to a legit silly joke. After she gets what she wants and leaves Rogers is beside himself and says maybe he read her good bye-note wrong, he then read say note. which is is like Dear Muffin, I Hate you, Love Zelda. That may not be 100% correct but the timing by Rogers was great. Other than that Zelda is boring, she just wants power and that lasy word on the stupid destroy spell.
Whizzer, the bird minion does get a minor arc. He is scared and then the pond pal drill in the No Fear mantra and yay No Fear. It’s not great but what fuck do want from a Swan Princess Sequel? And Still this is still at least semi-watchable.

One issue I have with Whizzer is that he mimics Rothbart’s voice to trick Zelda but when did he ever hear Rothbart’s voice to mimic? I would question this more if I cared. Also since I’m on the topic of nitpicking a pathetic movie, if Derek was in the position to rip the notes, why didn’t he destroy then like Odette had wanted? I mean yes plot but still so dumb.

Rogers and Brom The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure picture image

Rogers and Brom

I would say I recall the songs better in this movie a little bit more than the first movie but that could be because Derek’s love song basically just repeats animation from the original movie. Zelda’s song is also very derivative of the Rothbart’s song in tone. The songs are meh. The animation is on par with the first sequel, dull, muted and not special.

Rogers missing his lady love, Zelda The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure picture image

Rogers missing his lady love, Zelda

The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure is by no means a good movie or even a sequal. It had one good joke and that is pretty much it. It’s not the worse thing you can watch and is by no means even the worse of The Princess Swans movie because they just get so much worse after this one.

Quasimodo in Animaniacs hooked on a ceiling picture image

Quasimodo in Animaniacs

It’s another Hunchback of Notre Dame reference from Animaniacs. This one occurs in Season 1 episode  4 called Hooked on a Ceiling. The episode is the Yakko, Wakko and Dot help Michelangelo help painting the ceiling of the  Sistine Chapel. During the episode the bells start ringing which annoys Michelangelo and he goes to yell at the hunchback bell ringer who is claiming Sanctuary. You can tell it going to be Quasimodo the second the bells ring.

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills Hunchback of Notre Dame, Picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills

Heaven’s Light – There isn’t much to say on this version of the song. Arden performs it very well and is a better singer that Hulce in the movie. Though I would say, at least in the cast album, it seems like Arden is fighting the impulse to sing in that broadway nasal style, which doesn’t work with the soft, light quality of stye song. Not saying he doesn’t capture the song because he does.  Anyway solid version of the song and the last note Arden holds is lovely.  I can understand if people prefer Arden’s version to the movie version, he puts passion into it and not that school boy crush of the movie.

Hellfire –  The Disney movie’s Hellfire is a hard act to replicate as it one of the highlights of the movie and is one of best songs in the Disney Pantheon. I would say the musical should have made this song more of its own instead of trying to emulate the movie. In stage show they did, to a point, I mean they striped it down to just Frollo and a red lighting effect but the song is just Hellfire with Patrick Page singing instead of Tony Jay. Jay’s version is just so perfect that this version feels lukewarm at its hottest. No disrespect to Page, he is a great singer but much like Norbert Lamla in the German version of the musical, he is channeling too much of Tony Jay.  Though to be fair, people want  Hellfire and that is what the musical gave them. It’s a damn if they don’t and damn if they do since the animation and Tony Jay made Hellfire.

However there is another issue with Hellfire in this version that bridges the movie and the book. In the Disney movie, Frollo is a more in touch with his anger and how it relates to his control over the city, so it makes sense that his lust is channeled through his anger IE Hellfire. In the book, Frollo valves his purity as means to keeping his control over himself and his lust is channeled out through self-loathing till it explodes with stabbing Phoebus.

As it is in the  musical there is a disconnect between Frollo’s personality and Hellfire. Yes, he does get mad when Esmeralda calls him out on the way he looks at her but then he goes out searching for her and his part in Tavern Song sounds more desperate than mad which makes Hellfire seem more out of place in the scheme of things.  I think the idea is that Hellfire at first showcases his desperation for control and he gets more consumed as the song goes on. Though in the book Frollo wasn’t that mad that Esmeralda was dragging him off to Hell, he rather welcome it, sure it made him go crazy to the point where he wanted to kill her but he was more mad that she going to give her virginity to someone who didn’t deserve her and that she didn’t want him. I don’t think book Frollo would sing this song. I will say that it’s a tough task merging Book Frollo with Disney Frollo since they are very different from each other but the causality of it seems to be Hellfire.

Or this could all be my head and I’m seeing an issue that isn’t there, or I didn’t explain my point very well. Both are possible. As it stand this a very tepid version of the song though the chorus is great.

 

 

What is worse than a Disney Sequel? A Diet Disney Sequel! The Swan Princess from 1993, which was reviewed already got FOUR direct to Video/DVD sequel, so since there are four Thursdays let’s review them.

The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain

Before we start let me just say that on the spectrum of these movies the original Swan Princess is the best of the movies but as the number sequels goes up the quality gets so much worse. Far more terrible than you can imagine and the original was by no means a Good movie.

The first of The Swan Princess sequel movies is called The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain. It was released in 97 and had some, and I do mean some a few of the original voice actors   Like I said, of all the Swan Princess Sequels, it’s the best but that isn’t saying all that much. It’s still bad but at least it’s the shortest.

Odette and Bridget The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

Odette and Bridget

So ever still bland Odette  and Derek are celebrating their anniversary together but Derek as been ignoring Odette and his Mother’s upcoming birthday because some one has been vandalizing and burning things around the castle.  As it happens, Odette and Derek moved into Rothbart hideout from the first movie and Rothbart’s former partner, a dicount evil sorcerer named Clavius wants the Forbidden Arts which is hidden in the castle. The Forbidden Arts looks like one of those Plasma Nebula Ball novelty toys that were super cool in the 1990s.

To get leverage on Derek, Clavius kidnaps Uberta on her birthday. As Derek races off to save Clavius shows up and locks up Odette and learns that Derek is walking into a trap.  While Clavius is dealing with Odette Rothbart old Minion, Bridget and the Pond Pals get to the Forbidden Arts however on trying to free Odette they too get locked in her room/cell. Odette asks Bridget to change her into a Swan so she can warn Derek.

Clavius then gets the Forbidden Arts orb and being a villains wants to take over the world or some stuff nonsense, hijinks ensue and Derek, Odette, and the Pond Pal managed to break to the Forbidden Arts orb and kill Clavius and his minion Knuckles.  Odette however is  still a Swan and Jean-Bob was injured in the fight. Moonlight on the lake fixes them both so hooray.

Clavius and Uberta The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

Clavius and Uberta

To be honest this sequels exist in that zone of just mediocrity. There is nothing remotely special or interesting about the movie  in either a good way or bad way. This makes my job ever hard though not impossible, I mean it’s not rocket science or math.

Let’s just take about the only character worth talking about, Clavius and Uberta, the rest are boring and very forgettable.

Clavius is more of less a shadow of Rothbart except Rothbart had a level of interest. What made Rothbart a little interesting is that he had the power to take over but wanted Odette’s kingdom legally. He didn’t want to be a usurper.  Clavius wants power in the orb thing and then wants to take over the world. This is your standard paint-by-numbers villain. All Villains want something and it typically the world. Wanting somethign else would require too much thought. World and power is a easy and lazy way to give a villain motivation.

The there is Uberta, the immature Queen of Country unknown. Uberta was somewhat funny in her demand when she was prisoner but alas that is not why I mentioned her. I bring her up because of her age. You see, Uberta is turing 50 and at first her hates it but then accepts her, at least she gets an arc. But here is the the thing, her character design is the exact same a when Odette was a baby or a toddler. So let’s just say Odette was a baby when Uberta and William had the idea for the marriage pact  and when Odette and Derek were like 18 when Derek said “what else is there” in regards to Odette’s bland personality and the plus a year, that mean Uberta was 31 at the start of the original movie. Meaning she aged prematurely or it was a misguided character design. Things like this take me out of the movie.

Odette and Jean-Bob The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

Odette and Jean-Bob

Another thing that bothered me, a little because a sane person wouldn’t waste their brain cells think about this movie, is at the end Odette is stuck as Swan and Jean-Bob is either dead or has a massive boo-boo but the question is how did they know the moonlight on the lake would fix things? I guess because it undid Odette’s original spell that moonlight on the lake is the on thing that can undo the Forbidden Arts‘ power?

And another thing, Odette as a swan can talk to Derek! The Fuck? If that wasn’t a issue why couldn’t see either go to the ball as a Swan or fly away from the lake and TELL SOME ONE? I’m willing to believe they just forgot that little plot point of communication.       However I do give this movie a point for giving a plot base reason to turn Odette back into a Swan, spoiler the other ones don’t.

Stupid Sequels

Odette and Clavius The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

Odette and Clavius

 

I don’t think I have to mention the technicals, but since I already did I might as well. The animation is bad even compare to original which wasn’t that bad but wasn’t amazing either. It’s fair to point that of the four Swan Princess Sequels this one, if you haven’t noticed, is one of the hand-drawn one, and let me just say now they are better than the CG ones, you don’t even know yet. However just because they are hand-drawn the colors are still muted and dull, seems to be a standard look of any off-brand sequel.  They also repeat animation from the first movie, this is standard in the these sequel so get used to it, even in CGi movies they just rehash it.

The songs are SUPER forgettable and I mean that, I can’t remember any of them. There might have been a long song and friendship song but I don’t remember.

Oh and they say No Fear all the time. That I recall but that has nothing to do with songs, unless they did another No fear song.

Uberta The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain picture image

Uberta

The best thing I can say about The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain is that  while its mere existence just shouldn’t be as it added nothing to humanity at least it was harmless and merciful short at just a little over an hour, that’s a positive.