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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Follow thehunchblog