Look, I’m a big fan of the original The Swan Princess movie. I still know all the songs, and it has been some years since I first watched it. So yes, I’ve mostly kept up with the series in my adult years, because whoever said the things that gave us comfort and joy when we were kids couldn’t translate?
Besides, look at the world outside, we could all use old-fashioned comfort.
So, yes, I took some time this week to check out the new release of The Swan Princess: A Royal Wedding, which is, believe it or not, the tenth in the series. TENTH. Yeah, I confess I also missed some along the way, but I’m not exactly sad that I did. More comfort viewing!
The synopsis for the movie reads as follows:
Join Princess Odette, Prince Derek and their royal friends as they set sail for another magical adventure in the enchanted land of Cathay! Princess Odette has been called by the beautiful and kind Princess Mei Li who is planning to marry her one true love, Chen. Upon Odette’s arrival she quickly discovers that everything is not as it should be. And not everyone is WHO they should be! The evil sorceress Fang has once again cast an evil spell, launching a plan to marry Chen herself. With the wedding quickly approaching, it is up to Mei Li’s loving brother Prince Li along with Princess Odette and the rest of her royal friends to break the curse so the real Princess Mei Li can marry Chen and live happily ever after.
Featuring 3 brand new songs from The Swan Princess: A Royal Wedding.
This is very much a kid’s movie, but again, Odette and I are childhood friends, so that’s not a big deal.
I very much appreciated the attempt to tale a positive, Chinese inspired tale. I’m not exactly the right person to ask about authenticity, but I felt it was well done and respectful, which ends up being educational. The small kingdom of “Cathay,” a name historically used for China by Europeans, is very clearly inspired in real Chinese customs, in a way that I think adds to the story, and hopefully kids will be interested enough in the real life customs and country that inspired this fictional kingdom.
The movie is also, which is kind of a theme for animated movies lately, really, really funny. This is used to soften some of the “scarier” moments in a very effective way – like when the evil sorceress needs to give herself a pep talk – and it makes the whole concept of the villain seem a little more rooted in reality, even when there are laser-beam eyes involved in the whole deal.
There’s also a transformation, because of course there is, this time the princess is transformed into an old woman on the verge of death. A little more on-the-nose than the swan transformation, but it could be worse, lol.
My only complaint, and it’s a big complaint that I have regarding animation, is the way the princesses are drawn, which promotes an unhealthy image of what is attractive – not to mention realistic. No one looks like these princesses, and now that I think about it, Odette’s whole look was probably something I interiorized as idea back when I first watched the original as a kid.
Entertainment sends many, many messages that become part of us, and one of the most insidious ones is about the way we look. Even though this is a fun movie, that I’d recommend for kids, I think it’s important to have these kinds of conversations with them at all times, and I particularly think it’s important for the people working on animation to understand how much this can affect a girl’s self-esteem.
Which leads me to how, ups and downs, this was …well, basically my childhood made into another movie. And I guess I wouldn’t change that.
The Swan Princess: A Royal Wedding is available on Digital and Rental.