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 picture image

The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess is another movie that I mildly enjoyed as a kid. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it, I think my mom did though. But re-watching this, I still don’t hate it but I really don’t like it as it has a lot of issues in addition to it ripping off that sweet Disney formula.

It was released in 1994 by Nest. It was very loosely based on Swan Lake and tanked at the box office because Disney is a jerk and re-released The Lion King.

Odette Transforming into a Swan The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette Transforming into a Swan

The plot is thus, Princess Odette and Prince Derek have a sort of understanding that that they should marry to unite their kingdoms but instead of just arranging a marriage outright their parents try to get them to fall in love by having them spend their summers together. Eventually they grown up and Derek’s hormones kick in and wants to marry Odette because she is pretty but when asked if that’s all that matter, Derek derps and Odette peaces out.

As Odette and father ride home they are attacked by Rothbart who wants Odette’s kingdom. Derek finds Odette’s dying dad who gives Derek some vaugeness about their attacker and tells him that Odette is gone.

Rothbart who has been working on this grand scheme to get Odette’s kingdom for a while now has turned her into swan. She can only turned back into a human when the moonlight  touches her on the lake. To break the spell, she either has to agree to marry Rothbart so they can legally rule the kingdom or her true love has to make a vow of everlasting love and prove it to the world. I can’t tell you how lame this is but moving on.

Odette now has some pond pals, Speed, a kind turtle and egomaniac frog named Jean-Bob. A puffin named Puffin (so fucking clever) also joins them too. They try to help Odette to break her spell by getting Derek to follow her and Puffin back to the lake, so Rothbart’s lair was like 10 miles away from Derek’s castle at max? Not so far apart after all. In fact closer than her Kingdom.

Anywho, Derek and Odette somehow love each other deeply even after she left him for being an idiot. So Odette gives Derek the low-down and they plan to break the spell by having him make the vow at a ball his mother is planning. Rothbart shows up to asks Odette to marry him as is his nightly custom and she agrees so she can go to the ball but Rothbart heard their plan and tells her there is no moon the next night so she can’t even sneak off as a human but he locks her up for good measure.

Rothbart decides that he done playing “nice,” kidnapping and murder are apparently nice,  and decides that his servant will go to ball as Odette so Derek will make the vow to the wrong girl and Odette will die, kinds works agaist his plans but then again if he could just turn his severant into Odette why did he need Odette to marry him in the first place?

Rothbart’s plan goes off without a hitch except Odette escapes but she can’t do anything as she watches Derek makes the vow to the fake Odette. Derek follows her back to the lake as she’s dying and Derek challenges Rothbart so Odette can live. Derek defeats Rothbart who transforms into the great animal that was a major plot point that I didn’t really mention. Derek learns that he loves Odette for her kindness and courage and she lives, they marry and Jean-Bob is still a frog … he thought he was a prince.

Odette and Rothbart The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette and Rothbart

Saying this movie is clunky is understatement, this movie is full of characters that have no logic. Rothbart’s plan is to marry Odette so he can have her kingdom despite that he killed her father and has her captive, have you ever heard of the right of conquest because he is pretty much there.

Also Rothbart’s plan of forcing her marring to him by turning her into a swan by day is silly. Literally, all she really has to do is agree to marry him and then arrest him when they got to her kingdom as she is the sole heir, I think her people and guards will listen to her over him. But No, she has to be defiant and declare she would rather die than marry him.

Then we have the vow. Derek makes a vow of love to Odette but because she wasn’t standing there it is voided? I mean he said her name to fuck sake. This spell is so stupid or it was written by strict contract lawyers. Why doe she have to be there for the vow to work? Could Derek have written a letter to every ruler in the world that says he loves Odette? I mean written contracts are better than verbal ones or does she be there as he writes it? The spell is so weird and demanding.

How long had Odette been at Rothbart’s lair? Also why did Rothbart gives Odette free run of the place? Where was he during the day? Why was the moon full and then the next day it’s it like a new moon, not kidding literally a day passes between the full moon and new moon. Oh this hurts.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess picture image

Derek and Odette as Kids

Let’s get back on track because in addition to the lack logic that is pervasive to the characters there are more problems like the characters are boring but the movie operates on the assumption that they are not boring especially where our lovely Princess is concerned.

This movie builds up Odette’s and Derek’s personality as bitter children who are forced to hang out together. In the song This is my Idea, we see Derek and Odette evolving as characters from little kids to adolescents. It’s nice to see that they don’t like each other but you get the sense they do like each other in some ways but that all comes crashing down when they have to be pretty and in love.

Seriously, despite the hints that they could like each, the love and wanting to marry each other comes out of no where but that is not the problem. After they enter the realm of pretty “adults” the become devoid of the personalities that song was trying to establish. So when Odette asks what else Derek likes about her and he can’t site anything because it doesn’t matter. We know that she was at least clever and decent aim with a slingshot but after that point Odette never displays any personality traits she had in the song.

To be frank, at each interval in the song, Odette has a different personality. When she is a little kid she a polite yet rough little girl, then she is awkward tomboy to a flirty clever dare I say even vindictive teenager. I can’t truly blame Derek for not knowing what else is there to her it since it ever changing and then gone.

Odette with Speedy and Jean-Bob The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette with Speedy and Jean-Bob

I’ll get to more on Odette proper in a second but let’s talk about the other characters. Derek is he’s like… You know! How about… And then… Am I right? Seriously though, he’s a boring hero. He is also cocky and a good marksmen but not very smart when it comes to the ladies. Rothbart is supposed to be smart and evil but we already proven that he’s not. The pond pals are boring though I enjoy Jean-Bob’s selfish antics, it’s a nice counterpoint to Speed who is nice but I admit the pond pals parts are boring. Derek’s mother and best friend are weird and amusing at points but Rogers is the most likable character and wholly unimportant to the narrative though he did suggest that BS arrow maneuver but some other character could have done that.

Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette

And then we come to Odette. Odette would like you to believe that there is more her than being pretty. At the end of the flick Derek says that he loves her for her kindness and courage.

Odette does exhibits some kindness as she saves Jean-Bob from the crocodiles, takes an arrow out Puffin’s wings and tried to help Derek’s friend escape from Rothbart. Basically she isn’t dick, not sure if this equals kindness, I mean she’s not a mean. Is the absence of meanness kindness? Also her courage is in her own self interest. Odette doesn’t really go out of her way her way to be kind or helpful to others.

Its Derek’s arc really, he needed to learn how to articulate his thoughts about his supposed true love. “I love you baby for your vague positive attributes.” Kindness and courage are good starting places for a character but Odette hardly showcases these attributes, she’s just bland and pretty.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Derek and Odette

As far as the songs go, they are okay at best. Most are meh. I would like Far Longer than Forever if I believed in the depth of their romance. Hands down the best is This is my idea, The rest are meh and forgettable. Though I remembered Princesses on Parade for the sexist connotations.

The animation is nice for the most part. Though it’s kind jarring with the hyper-ness versus the soft and sweet moments, but hell it could been worse, it could have been so much worse.

Derek and Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Derek and Odette

The thing is this movie actually has some good set-ups and pays off, like that thing with bow and arrow is set-up and there is a pay off. The movie probably would have been stronger if they had either had Odette and Derek love grow more organically OR follow the ballet where we see them meet and develop their relationship that’s from point of romantic interest.

It’s admirable that the film tried to have them start as bitter kids but since the gradation of affection is jarring and that they love each other in a second it’s not strong. Since the film  centers on their romance having that fail means the movie fails as whole.

Odette The Swan Princess  picture image

Odette

The Swan Princess is a clunky yet pretty mess of a film that tries its damndest to suggest that these are well-thought out characters in a compelling story but it fails to do this and in then end what else is there but its beauty.

And yes, it does annoy me that they antagonist crocodiles don’t talk.