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.

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.

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.

Non-Disney Heroines; Thumblina, Yum-Yum,Odette, Chel, & Anastasia Picture image

Thumblina, Yum-Yum,Odette, Chel, & Anastasia

For every Disney Heroine, there is a host of Non-Disney animated female characters. From Thumblina, to Princess Yum-Yum to Odette to Chel to Anastasia the list goes on. But of the myriad of Non-Disney Heroines who could be considered Esmeralda’s counterpart?

 

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame dancing

It’s a tricky question. First off you need someone who has an equivalent look to Esmeralda i.e. a darker look but someone who isn’t royalty. Next, you need someone who fits her personality, brave, loyal, feisty, mature, and has a social conscious. That narrows the field a bit.

Given the necessary qualifications, I think the only choice for Esmeralda’s Non-Dinsey counterpart is …..

Tzipporah from The Prince of Egypt.

Tzipporah, The Prince of Egypt picture image

Tzipporah, The Prince of Egypt

Tzipporah start hating Moses as she was kidnapped and given Ramses. She is called a “Desert Flower” which plays in her being exotic. She is also played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who much like Demi Moore was considered a seductive actress.

 

A Lovely Shot from The Prince of Egypt , picture image

A Lovely Shot from The Prince of Egypt

Also Hunchback and The Prince of Egypt  are bit similar in their own right. Both movies are very stunning gorgeous, have a lot of drama and are underrated. I would highly recommend The Prince of Egypt  if you haven’t seen it already.