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.

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.

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.

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.

Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince

This is the last Fairy tale movie of the review set, this series was supposed to be done back in December 2015 originally but I kept extending it to the point of madness.

Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince is from 1971 and if you can’t guess from the title it’s a Muppet retelling of The Frog Prince. The only well-known Muppets to appear in it are Kermit, Robin and Sweetums. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know this one prior a guess made by Esmee  see here.

But is it that good even for a TV Muppet special from the 1970’s?

Trudy Young as Princess Melora with Robin Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Trudy Young as Princess Melora with Robin

 

Kermit is your typical frog living in a well near a castle, along with many many other frogs. One day a new frog arrives named Robin the Brave. Robin claims that he’s really prince that was cursed by a evil witch and nearly eaten by her ogre. He says the only way to break his spell is to befriend a Princess, live her castle and get a her to kiss him. Kermit is sympathetic to Robin but doesn’t believe him. But Kermit does teach Robin to swim somewhat at least though Robin favors the doggy-paddle.

At the same time King Rupert II is announcing that since his daughter, Princess Melora is of age, which is 19, he will step down as King and she will became Queen. This makes Robin happy as there is Princess nearby that might help him turn back to a human.

Melora comes to the well and Robin learns that she too is under an enchantment that prevents anyone from understanding her as her speech is mostly spoonerisms. Like she says fretty plower instead of pretty flower. However when he father tells her she is to be the Queen she is happy though her father can’t understand her. She then sits at the well and sings and then drops her golden ball into the well. Robin offers to get it for her if she becomes his friend and takes him to palace to live. She agrees though with some hesitant and despite Robin’s lack of swimming skills he gets her ball back. As she places Robin in her basket he sees the witch that cursed him, Taminella, who now is posing as the King’s sister and she is also the one that cursed Melora so she couldn’t tell her father that Taminella wasn’t the King’s Sister. Kermit also follows them to palace to keep an eye on them.

As it turns out Robin can understand most of what Melora says. The only thing he can’t figure out is the way to stop Taminella, which Melora says is “bake the hall in the candle of her brain.” Taminella then stops Melora from giving Robin a kiss.

At lunch the King tells Melora that since no can understand her the King has decided to crown Taminella as Queen. Melora and Robin try to tell the king that Taminella is a wicked witch that cursed her. Taminella takes Robin way to the Sweetums who wants to eat him. Robin convinces Sweetums to eat his tomorrow and lulls him to sleep. Kermit appears to help Robin escape but can’t lift the latch. Kermit then convinces a sleeping-walking Sweetum to free Robin. It works but Sweetums walks up and trashes the place and is knocked unconscious by a pillar.

Kermit and Robin get to coronation as it starting. Robin struggles to figure out what bake the hall in the candle of her brain means. To buy time Robin has Kermit get the other frogs from the well to create a distraction. Robin the figures the clue out which is “break the ball in handle of her cane” so he bites her causing her to drop the cane and breaks the ball. This causes her to explode and become a bird. And Melora’s spell is broken, she the kisses Robin and he turns back into a prince. The King is confuse but recongize it has a happy ending and crowns Melora.

Queen Melora and Prince Robin get married but they still visit their friend Kermit and even named their baby after him, pretty good for a frog.

Trudy Young as Princess Melora kissing robin Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Trudy Young as Princess Melora kissing robin

This movie or more accurately Special is adorable. It’s the right blend of Muppet wacky yet dry humor and fairy tale elements. It’s not forced. Though I have to ask with Melora curse was her writing effected too? Because it would have be easy if it wasn’t and it wasn’t even mentioned. Mostly it didn’t bother me because all the other elements were delightful.

Robin with Taminella Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Robin with Taminella

Kermit is his typical self but that isn’t a fault, who doesn’t love Kermit! Sweetums is in a antagonist role which is different for him but it worked. Robin is Robin though he kind of fun to see him as a romantic lead or romantic deuteragonist.

I do like how they show that Robin is love with Melora because he can understand her it’s not just to break the spell, they form a connection. I also like the juxtaposition of Robin with the dashing Prince.

Taminella Grinderfell is not exclusive to this. She debut in 1962 and stared in Tales of Tinkerdee, which was the unaired pilot. She was revived for this and she is great. She just a mean witch who wants power. Nothing wrong with that. She also has a cool design and concept art. Also I should add that it seems that Taminella was the source of nightmares for young kids who watched this special. It understand as she as a human shape body as a result of how the puppet is operated but does look human. That sort of combo can be scary. Also she reminds me a little bit of the Groke from Moomins who was also a source of terror for young children.

King Rupert II is great, dumb but fun. I love the scene where it’s revealed how Taminella tricked him, very silly. He also sounds like Rolf the dog.

Melora is great too. She doesn’t have much of personality but she is nice but not a push over. She tries to tell her father about Taminella and she does figure out to break the spell. It also refreshing to see that she wants to be a Queen and is not fighting fate.

Trudy Young as Princess Melora & Gordon Thomson as Sir Robin the Brave with Kermit and the other frogs Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Trudy Young as Princess Melora & Gordon Thomson as Sir Robin the Brave with Kermit and the other frogs

As is standard with muppets project the technicals are great, they have to be or the muppets wouldn’t be believable. Are they perfect? No but are what they need to be for project.

The songs are also cute.

Got to give it to Trudy Young as Melora for making her lines feel natural. I’ve seen worst acting and diction with lines that make sense. Melora’s line are all messed up but she makes it work.

Kermit Jim Henson's The Frog Prince picture image

Kermit

It’s about self-awareness, Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince know exactly what it is and everything about it coalesces to fit it’s identify. It’s silly yet smart and wacky yet heartfelt.

I wish it was on DVD.

Splash picture image

Splash

It’s Ron Howard’s 1984 mermaid Rom-Com that was directly responsible for making Ariel the red-head we know and tolerate. It is also the reason why Madison is a popular girl name. Splash again was one those movies that I had heard of but didn’t know anything about and I wished it had stayed that way.

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison

Allen Bauer is a guy who has a good business in New York City with his brother Freddy. Allen has issues with the ladies and Freddy is a womanizer. Back when they were children visiting, or rather going to look at Cape Cod, Allen is knocked off the boat and is rescued by a pretty blonde.

After his girlfriend leaves him, Allen revisits Cape Cod and again falls in the ocean and is again rescued by a blonde lady but she runs off. She however finds his wallet and goes to New York City to find, never mind she can’t speak English but she CAN read it.

So after getting taken in for nudity and not speaking English, She reunites with Allen and he takes her back to his place where they have sex. She then goes off shopping and learns fluent English from the televisions in the department store.

As her name is unpronounceable and breaks TV when uttered, she takes on the name Madison because they were at the corner of Madison. She also informs Allen she can only stay six days because if she stays any longer she can never return. Because it turns out Madison is a mermaid and when she touched by Saltwater or water her legs revert back to pinkish-orange fins.

As Allen is trying to figure her deal out while trying to marry her, Walter Kornbluth a weird-o scientific who is a laughing stock of the scientist is trying to expose Madison as a mermaid. And when he does the military take her for evil experiments. Allen, Freddy and Walter save and a mad-cap chase ensues through New York. It ends when Madison returns to the sea which means she can never be a human agian. As Allen joins her as he can be safe in the water with her. The End.

Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Daryl Hannah as Madison

Now a lot of people like this movie and I don’t understand why. I found nothing likable or endearing about either the plot of the characters. The first logic jump that one HAS to make is Cape Cod. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on Cape Cod, but I have been there a few times and it’s not some you take a boat to and just look at. There is a lot to Cape Cod and the impression I get from this movie is the inability of people from New York and Los Angles to not even understand the setting of the set-up. They could have replaced Cape Cod with the two popular Islands that are part of the Cape, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard and it would have made more sense than just saying Cape Cod.

Also I don’t know how endearing it is to introduce a character by having look up lady’s skirts. But the humor in the movie is down right abysmal.

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison

As I have mention the characters suck. Madison is alright. She all naive and innocence but at the sometime there seems something vapid about her. It could be the acting or the direction since she doesn’t have much a personality.

Allen is just an insufferable tool. There is nothing likable about this guy. He just bitches and whines when thing don’t go his way and even when this are going his way he complains. This guy is throughly punchable.

The only character that was likable and had a personality was Freddy and he was a lying womanizer who looked up ladies’ skirts as a child.

Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Daryl Hannah as Madison

The plot has this ticking clock where Madison has return to the sea or she can never be a mermaid again. After a fight when Allen asked her to marry him and she sighted that she could stay and he got all pissed and yelled at her she runs off and then agrees to stay with him. This plot mechanic also worked the other way were Allen can live with her in the sea but can’t return. The thing is the movie offers no explanation at least why this happens. Is this like merfolk Rumspringa? Where a merperson is allowed to see if they like being a human for a set period of time?

I have criticized movies for over explaining things but you can’t not explain it either. Or because it’s a fairy tale movie do the screenwriters just except people to accept this rule?

Also the conflict from Madison getting kidnapped by the government and subsequent chase and Allen’s decision to live in the ocean felt tacked on. Like they needed a climatic ending and conflict so military and a mean old scientist was an easy out.

Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Daryl Hannah as Madison

The humor in this movie also sucks. The one joke I will mention is as Madison is shopping a sales woman shows her a dress and said that she, the saleswoman, can’t fit in to it then goes on to say that her daughter is lucky because she has anorexia. I know this movie is from 1984 and I’m watching in 2016 but still not funny. Most the other jokes are just weak at the expense of culture shock or downright unfunny.

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Tom Hanks as Allen & Daryl Hannah as Madison

The technicals are fine. They did some nice things with the mermaid fins. Mostly it’s just New York City well mostly. The beach and underwater scenes can’t not be from either New York City or Cape Cod. They are somewhere in the Tropics. It’s easier to film there but it’s a suspension of disbelief that I can’t do easily especially for a movie that fails at being likable.

Daryl Hannah as Madison Splash picture image

Daryl Hannah as Madison

Most people only remember Splash as that mermaid movie where Daryl Hannah walks around naked and that is a better way to know this movie than a weak movie filled with bottom-feeder characters and a sunken plot.

Willow picture image

Willow

Another 80’s fairytale/Fantasy  movie has come dropped in to be review, and this isn’t the last. Willow is from 1988 and is a story written by George Lucas for Warwick Davis. It was directed by Ron Howard who oddly is the director of next week’s movie, Guess if you want.

Willow was a movie I had vaguely heard of but knew nothing about. All I knew is that it was some 1980’s Fantasy movie. So how is it?

Warwick Davis as Willow with Elora Dunan Willow picture image

Warwick Davis as Willow with Elora Dunan

Like so many other Fantasy movies, this one starts off with one of those pesky prophecy. This is one is about a female child will bring the downfall of the evil Queen Bavmorda. The baby of prophecy who is later called Elora Danan is smuggled out and finds her way to the family of Willow Ufgood, who is farmer but wants to be a sorcerer. He is also a dwarf or a Nelwyn. Little Elora is being tracked so the people of Willow’s village decide to take her back to the humans or as this movie calls them The Daikini.

Along the the way Willow meets a dishonored warrior who is less than noble named Madmartigan, a Fairy Queen with her two brownies to help out and a cursed old sorceress. They also are being pursed by Sorsha, Bavmorda’s warrior daughter who ends up falling in love with Madmartigan.

Val Kilmer as Madmartigan Willow picture image

Val Kilmer as Madmartigan

The plot of this movie is actually kind of complex with all the places they go and people they meet and just stuff. It actually is confusing even for 1980‘s movie standards. And yet it all wraps up pretty tidy with a nice little set up and pay off.

All in all it’s not that different of plot line for a adventure story. It’s fun just not that out there or original. However one downfall with this movie is the pacing. It just feels longer than it should and slow in parts. Also when they go to places for seemingly no real payoff.

 Joanne Whalley as Sorsha and Val Kilmer as Madmartigan Willow picture image

Joanne Whalley as Sorsha and Val Kilmer as Madmartigan

The characters are all ok. No one stood out at all. I suppose they all had they moments of change like Willow deciding to care for little Elora when at first he wanted nothing to do with her, or Madmartigan being a douche and then caring for Willow and Elora and even Sorsha who came to love Madmartigan. But still aside for a few traits here and there, there was too much to the characters.

However that could have been the acting which was not that good. Everyone was kinda cringe worthy to  some degree. Although I will say the characters in this movie are better than some of the other live action fantasy movies, so they get a B-

Also some these names seems like swear words, like Madmartigan.

 Joanne Whalley as Sorsha Willow picture image

Joanne Whalley as Sorsha

The technicals are adequate. Some of the effects were better than others like pig morphing scene was ok but the Brownies being little or the two ended dragon were a little forced. But it was 1988 so it gets a pass.

The sets and the costume were all fine.

Warwick Davis as Willow Willow picture image

Warwick Davis as Willow

Willow is a fun Fantasy movie it’s not amazing but it’s not bad. It’s quite ok.

Edward Scissorhands picture image

Edward Scissorhands

If you had to think of a live action fairy tale movie that seamlessly connected a modern setting with a tried and true fairy storyline you can’t get much better than 1990’s Edward Scissorhands. It was directed by none other than Tim Burton and is romantic gothic romance. It’s sort of a Beauty and the beast, Pinocchio, Hunchback tale.

It’s a cult classic and is considered by many to one of Burton better movies but how does it hold up?

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands & Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs Edward Scissorhands picture image

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands

The plot is fairly simple and straightforward and I assume everyone pretty knows it at this point but here it is. Avon rep, Peg Boggs one day goes to a creepy mansion high up on a hill. There she meets a young man named Edward who has scissors for hands. Edward becomes the hot topic of all the bored suburban housewives. Edward is also shown to be a very creative person as he makes lovely whimsical topiaries and gives imaginative hair cuts to the women and their dogs. Edward develops a interest in Peg’s daughter Kim.

Things are going great for Edward till one of the housewives, Joyce, tries to put the moves on him. Edward, in his innocents is confuses and walks out but Joyce lies and says he tried to rape her. Things get even worse when Kim’s jerk-face boyfriend, Jim, gets Edward to break into his own house. Edward knew it was Jim’s house but it for Kim. As a result the Bogg’s are outcast of the neighborhood.

On the night of the Bogg’s annual Christmas party Jim and his buddy get drunk and go the Bogg’s house. They nearly run over Kim’s brother, Kevin. Edward saves him but it looked to the close-minded suburbanites that Edward was attacking the boy. Kim tells Edward to run. He goes back up to the mansion. Kim follows as does Jim. Jim tries to fight Edward and as Jim knocks Kim to the floor Edwards punches Jim through the chest killing him. Kim then lies to the suburbanites that Edward and Jim killed each other in hopes that they will leave the mansion allow.

The movie end with Kim as an old woman telling her grand-daughter that the reason why there is snow is because Edward is carving his ice up at the mansion.

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands & Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs Edward Scissorhands picture image

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands & Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs

The plot is simple but in its simplicity it tells a very nice yet deep tale or acceptance and prejudice. That being said the plot is one of the weaker aspects of this movie. Not saying ti’s not good or heartfelt but given the other aspects of the movie it weakest. The Premise is good and imaginative as is the juxtaposition of the bright yet fake suburbanites against the innocent monochromatic Edward. Having the simple beauty and the beast tale was a good move but it a little too on the nose.

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands Edward Scissorhands picture image

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands

Like the plot the characters are presented simply and yet the are fairly complex. The only character that is dynamic in that they change is Kim. She starts out not really liking Edward that much to falling in love. Edward is probably the most interesting character, as he looks weird with his weapon hands but is all sweetness and innocence but can’t touch things with out destroying them even if it’s transformative, making him compelling.

The Suburban jerks are all jerks but you’re not meant to like them. Only the Boggs are cool.

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands Edward Scissorhands picture image

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands

One of the things that is great about this movie is the way Burton uses pale pastel colors to make Edward pop against the colors. It just adds a level of whimsy to the look of this movie.

One of the best aspects of this movie is the music. It was done by Danny Elfman. Who does get all misty eyes when they hear Ice Dance? The whole score of the movie is just lovely and fits the tone perfectly while adding that whimsical bittersweetness.

Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs Edward Scissorhands picture image

Winona Ryder as Kim Boggs

Edward Scissorhands is a perfect example of combining classic fairy tropes with a modern setting. It’s magical and quite Bittersweet. It’s also a great Chirstmas movie.

Just a side note these Live Action Fairy Tale reviews are wrapping up this month, only three left.

In the Company of Wolves

In the Company of Wolves

Right away I want to say, In the Company of Wolves is a weird dark movie even by 1980’s movie standards, which is saying a lot. It is a deeply symbolic movie with some really creepy and disturbing images.

It is based on Little Red Riding hood and was also based on a short story by Angela Carter from The Bloody Chamber anthology . The film came out in 1984 admits a lot of other werewolves movies. It was directed by Neil Jordan who was a writer/producer for Ondine

So how is this movie with all it’s weird creepiness?

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Micha Bergese as Huntsman In the Company of Wolves

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Micha Bergese as Huntsman

The plot is very untraditional for most movies. The movie’s approach to the narrative is to have stories with story or what the director called “a Chinese Box Structure.” So it’s starts with an adolescent girl, Rosaleen sleeping is her locked bedroom. In her room there are many, many creepy dolls. She dreams that her sister is killed by wolves in a dark yet beautiful forest. She then stays with her Granny who tells her stories about how men, adulthood and sex are all evil and are products of the devil. Rosaleen doesn’t like these stories. Her Granny give her the the soft red knitted cloak.

Rosaleen also has to deal wit the advances of a boy in her village that clearly wants her but she is not as interested in him. On her way to her Granny’s house, Rosaleen meets a charming huntsman. He makes a bet with her that he can make it to her Granny’s house using his compass while going off the path before she can get there using the the path. If she wins she gets the compass and if she loses she has to give him a kiss. He beats her there and kills her Granny by smashing her head off which turns to be porcelain. When Rosaleen arrives at the house she isn’t deceived by the huntsman being a wolf and she tries to shots him. This causes him to scream in pain. This causes Rosaleen to empathize with the wolves and she comforts him with her own story. In the end Rosaleen turns into a wolf and runs off with the pact.

Rosaleen then wakes up from her dream to find wolves breaking in and she screams in terror.

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with the wolf In the Company of Wolves

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with the wolf

Generally speaking with movie is weird, much weirder than my attempt at a summery makes it out to be. But to make this movie’s symbolism and theme simple, this movie is about how adulthood and sex are not evil or bad and one must let go of childhood. So often in traditional fairy tales, men and sex are pegged as evil or just dangerous but as Rosaleen’s mother said women can be beast too. In the end Rosaleen can’t return to her childhood or the village because she is something dangerous and has to live in the forest or adulthood.

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Angela Lansbury as Granny In the Company of Wolves

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Angela Lansbury as Granny

The characters in this movies are mute point. They don’t matter that much in terms being deep or complex. Rosaleen is the only one with a character arc as she learns that the dangerous wolves or men have feelings and emotions and becomes an adult. Rosaleen’s granny is interesting as she herself is actually a doll in Rosaleen room. She is innocent yet sinister but all her stories and advice are hollow like her head. The huntsmsn is intriguing too, charming yet devious but he does seems to like Rosaleen more than just as a snack.

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen in the forest In the Company of Wolves

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen in the forest

The we have the technicals which give this movie all its weird, creepy and unsettling imagery. Most of the disturbing parts deal with the transformation of men to wolves. One guy literally tears his face off. It’s effective especially given the nightmare/dream concept. There are of crazy visuals, like Rosaleen’s dolls which I thought would give me nightmare. But nothing is bad, everything gives with movie a sense style and it a visual language. It’s a good example of a movie showing and not telling as it communicates its point.

Though it unclear why Rosaleen screamed at the end. Speaking of Rosaleen the acting is okay. It feels like an 80’s style of acting.

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with a nest of eggs In the Company of Wolves

Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with a nest of eggs

The Company of Wolves is a strange movie with lots of powerful symbolism. It’s not your standard coming of age story. I enjoyed it in an academic way. It’s not a movie I wouldn’t re-watch again and again but I would recommend you check it out if you want to watch something weird, very weird.

The Promise picture image review

The Promise

Do you ever watch a movie and you don’t know what to think? I actually shrugged in confusion after I finished watching The Promise. The Promise is the English title for 2005 epic Chinese called Wú Jí. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film.

I should note that I watched this in  I guess the US version which is different from the original which is such BS but that is it.

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng The Promise picture image review

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng

Ok so the plot, such as it is, goes a little like this. There is a staving girl named Qingchen, who steals from the dead but a boy catching her and wants her to be his slave. She lies that she will but hits him and runs off. She then meets a Goddess who offers her beauty, riches and luxury but she she will never find everlasting love. She accepts this deal. The only way to break this fate is for Time to flow backwards, for Snow to fall in spring and for the dead to come back to life.

Flash-forward. General Guangming defeats a bunch of barbarians with slaves. One speedy slave catches his eye whose name is Kunlun. Kunlun loses his master in the battle so Guangming makes him his slave. Then King is in danger from an evil Duke names Wuhuan. As Guangming and Kunlun race to save the king they are attacked by some dude who wears a black feather cape, who is the Duke’s minion as well as super fast. Guangming gets injured so he has Kunlun puts on his armor to save the king. Guangming tells Kunlun that he will know the king because he will the only one unarmed.

However Kunlun kills the King has the king was armed and he mistake Qingcheng, king’s concubine as the King because she wasn’t armed. However Kunlun jumps off a waterfall and Qingcheng is taken by Wuhuan and put in a golden birdcage.

Kunlun survives and him and Guangming decide to save Qingcheng because apparently Guangming and Kunlun are both is love with her now, I guess. Qingcheng falls in love with Guangming by mistake because she think he was the one that saved her but it was Kunlun. So they live together for awhile despite Qingcheng’s fate of never having a lasting love.

Kunlun then learns from feather cape minion whose name is Snow Wolf, that he is from the Land of Snow. In the Land of Snow everyone can run SUPER fast but that didn’t help when Wuhuan came and killed everyone. Snow Wolf was scared of death so he opted to wear Wuhuan’s cape which keeps him alive.

Then Guangming gets captured by Wuhuan. He puts him on trail for killing the king but Kunlun confessed that he did it with Qingcheng saying that she had a hand it in. She then realizes that Kunlun saved her and not Guangming. Wuhuan sentences them all to death and tells Qingcheng her that  was the boy she tricked and it taught him not to trust anyone. There is a fight which ends with Guangming and Wuhuan killing each other and Kunlun fatally wounded. He puts on Snow Wolf’s cape (who took off in another scene and died) which grants him immortality which breaks Qingcheng’s fate.

I just want to point out that the Netflix summary makes this movie seem way different. It makes it seem that Qingcheng has a more active role with a character arc but nope.

Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming The Promise picture image review

Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming

This movie must of undergone several rewrites because I think there is an interesting story here with some interesting ideas but at some point it got lost. The plot is the most disjointed thing I have seen it a very long time. In a way it’s the opposite issue I have with some movie, the show don’t tell. This movie is all show to the point where there is no emotion despite emotions being necessary to the story. I don’t care about any of these people and when you  “I don’t care about a movie like this it means the love story is dumb and the fight scenes are tension-less dance numbers.

Nicholas Tse as Duke Wuhuan The Promise picture image review

Nicholas Tse as Duke Wuhuan

All the characters are bland. They have no personalities except Wuhuan who is just generically evil. I don’t understand his motivation for his coup, I found his mistrust of people comically simple. A little girl didn’t want to be his slave and stole the bread he stole from her? What? I get this movie opted for that Fairy Tale simplicity but that is an excuse for weak filmmaking.

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming The Promise picture image review

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun &
Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming

Speaking of the filmmaking, same of the technical work is great. This movie is all style and negative substance. The cinematography is lovely. The costumes are all very cool. And the fights/action part are mostly appealing. My favorite was the one with the bird screen, too bad there was no tension to give that fight any drama. It’s a very visually pleasing to look at, maybe as a silent movie it would have functioned better.

However the CG effects were not that great, they boarded on silly. That could be because this movie is eleven years old and a lot the effects just didn’t age well. That would be forgivable if that story and character were interesting.

Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng The Promise picture image review

Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng

On a technical level The Promise is pretty but the story and characters are so devoid of themselves that there is no emotional resonance.

Also how did the super fast Snow people get capture by Wuhuan in the first place? That seems like it shouldn’t have been possible.