The Swan Princess (1994)
Prince Derrick and Princess Odette (arguably the best princess name EVER) of neighboring kingdoms in some whatever-land are basically hooked up from birth by their parents. They spend several summers together as kids, fighting and hating each other and singing about it. Then one day Odette becomes an irresistible babe and Derrick suddenly’s all, “Oh hey, she’s no ugly duckling anymore she’s actually HOTT!” and then they decide to get married but Odette’s thinkin’ “Hey, are you interested in anything but my looks?” and Derrick’s a little confused and can’t understand what other things could possibly be more important than beauty… So they, like, don’t get married right then.
But then this evil sorcerer man, Rothbart, kidnaps Odette and puts her under a spell so that she turns into a swan during the day and then back to her sexy female-self with perfect hair at night. So… that he can make her his queen and regain power or something. Derrick is convinced she’s alive but no one seems to believe him. Odette befriends Speed the turtle, Jean Bob the french frog, and Puffin the puffin bird during her captivity. She and Puffin come up with a plan to reunite her with Derrick (because she couldn’t care LESS now if he only loves her for her beauty…) But that Rothbart is difficult to double cross.
It ain’t Disney, but this movie spells pure nostalgia for me. It wasn’t a favorite like Star Wars or Mulan, but I did frequently watch it as a kid and remember its awesomeness. The animation isn’t great: my friends and I kept remarking on the obvious racial identity crisis the producers were having by changing the main characters from African Americans to to fake-bakes to Snow-whites. The lines are jagged and the colors are, as duly noted, inconsistent and faded. But despite these flaws, The Swan Princess is far better than any other Richard Rich attempt (I could write an entire post on how much I hate The Black Cauldron and how BADLY someone needs to do a remake of that series and make it legit. Best books ever).
The songs are nothing too memorable either, it’s funny how quickly I’m turned off by musicals without Menken or Ashman on the credits. The side characters are as awesome as they possibly could be, Speed being my very favorite. “Do you want a kiss too?” “Aw, I’m fine being a turtle…” Though Jean Bob is also awesome… because he’s John Cleese, let’s be honest.
The oozing cheese and overwhelming cliché is more endearing than it is stupid. Ya know, the sky definitely ALWAYS turns orange while fighting the great-animal version of a d-bag… and vows of everlasting love must consistently be proclaimed for the world to hear and more binding than, well, just about anything. But the dialogue is entertaining. The songs are entertaining. The plot is entertaining. I dunno, I’d watch it again and laugh.
And let’s face it, folks. Nostalgia trumps ALL. 5/10