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The Swan Princess

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The Swan Princess
Swanprincessposter.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Richard Rich
Produced by Jared F. Brown
Richard Rich
Screenplay by Brian Nissen
Story by Brian Nissen
Richard Rich
Based on Ballet:
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Narrated by Brian Nissen
Starring Michelle Nicastro
Howard McGillin
Sandy Duncan
Jack Palance
John Cleese
Steven Wright
Steve Vinovich
Music by Lex de Azevedo
Editing by Armetta Jackson-Hdamlett
James Koford
Studio Nest Family Entertainment
A. Film A/S
Rich Animation Studios
Distributed by New Line Cinema (theatrical)
Turner Home Entertainment (VHS)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (DVD)
Release date(s) November 18, 1994 (1994-11-18)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35,000,000[1]
Box office $9,771,658 (USA)

The Swan Princess is a 1994 American animated fantasy musical film based on the ballet "Swan Lake". Starring the voice talents of Jack Palance, John Cleese, Steven Wright, and Sandy Duncan, the film is directed by a former Disney animation director, Richard Rich, with a music score by Lex de Azevedo. The film was followed by three direct-to-video sequels: The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain (1997), Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure (1998), and a fourth movie, The Swan Princess Christmas (2012).

PlotEdit

The film begins with an aging king named William (Dakin Matthews) who has a baby daughter named Odette and a friend of Queen Uberta (Sandy Duncan). While King William's newborn daughter Odette and Queen Uberta's toddler-aged son Derek get acquainted, evil was afoot. Rothbart (Jack Palance) is an evil enchanter who desires King William's kingdom for himself. Before he can go ahead with his plot, his tower is attacked by King William's men. Before he was banished from the kingdom, Rothbart vowed that one day, everything King William owned and loved will be his.

When Odette and Derek are children, King William and Queen Uberta decide to have Odette (Adrian Zahiri) and the Queen's son, Prince Derek (Adam Wylie), meet every summer with hopes they'll fall in love so as to unite their kingdoms. At first, while Odette and Derek are still children, this fails miserably, but as years pass and the two reach young adulthood, they finally begin to strongly fall madly in love. However, during a royal ball, Derek (Howard McGillin) expresses his wish to marry Odette (Michelle Nicastro) just for her beauty, which upsets her into rejecting him again. She leaves the next day with her father, but they are intercepted en route by Rothbart who transforms into a "Great Animal" (a hybrid monster with the head of a wolf, the body of a bat, the feet of an eagle, and the tail of a lizard). He kidnaps Odette and fatally injures William. King William's captain returns to Queen Uberta's castle and informs everyone present that they were attacked by a Great Animal. Derek arrives on the scene where William tells him with his dying breath that they were attacked by a Great Animal that is "not what it seems". Despite Uberta's efforts to find another princess for her son to marry, Derek becomes fiercely determined to find Odette. He and his best friend Bromley (Joel McKinnon Miller) practice hunting each day to hopefully kill the Great Animal and save Odette.

Elsewhere, Rothbart has taken Odette to his castle lair at Swan Lake and cast a transformational spell on her that makes her turn into a swan during the day and a human again during the night. The spell can only be broken by a vow of everlasting romantic love. He asks her to marry him every night so he can rule William's kingdom legally, as taking it by force is too much trouble, but she always refuses. During her captivity, she befriends an old turtle named Speed (Steven Wright), a frog named Jean-Bob (John Cleese), and Puffin (Steve Vinovich), a puffin bird. Puffin, after learning about the workings of Rothbart's evil spell, devises a plan to reunite Odette with Derek. Together with Puffin, Odette finds Derek, who has gone searching for her with Bromley; however, he mistakes her for the Great Animal and tries to kill her. The ensuing chase leads Derek to Swan Lake, where he witnesses Odette change from swan to human. The two share a happy loving reunion, but almost immediately, Rothbart comes calling. At Odette's insistence, Derek leaves with the hopes of meeting her at a ball being held by Uberta the following night. Unfortunately, Rothbart finds Derek's bow (which Derek left behind), tells Odette that there will be no moon the next night, and has her, in swan form, imprisoned within the castle dungeon along with Bromley. He then plans to send his hag sidekick Bridget, disguised as Odette, to the ball instead.

Odette's friends free her, but when she reaches the ball, she sees that she has been replaced and tries to warn Derek; she fails, partly due to Bridget's attempts to keep Derek from seeing her, and Derek makes the vow to Bridget. Rothbart arrives and reveals that Derek's vow, given to the wrong woman, will cause his spell to kill Odette. She flies back to Swan Lake as Rothbart's curse drains her life force while Derek, desperate to save her, races after; he arrives too late, and she dies in his arms, but not before she tells him she loves him. A furious Derek confronts Rothbart, demanding that he not allow Odette to die. To Derek's surprise, Rothbart transforms into the Great Animal and an intense battle ensues with Rothbart overpowering Derek and nearly killing him. Fortunately, Odette's animal friends return Derek's longbow to him, and Bromley, who has escaped the dungeon, provides Derek with a single arrow; Derek catches it and fires the arrow straight-and-true into Rothbart's heart as he explodes upon crashing into the lake.

With Rothbart's defeat, his spell on Odette is broken and she returns to life to hear Derek say that he truly does love her for her courage and kindness and always had. The two are soon married and live happily ever after.

Voice castEdit

Musical numbersEdit

Main article: The Swan Princess (soundtrack)
  1. This Is My Idea
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice
  3. Far Longer than Forever
  4. No Fear
  5. No More Mr. Nice Guy
  6. No Fear (Reprise) (featured only in the film; not in the soundtrack)
  7. Princesses on Parade
  8. Far Longer than Forever (End Titles) - Regina Belle and Jeffrey Osborne
  9. Eternity (End Titles) - Dreams Come True

ReleaseEdit

TheatricalEdit

The Swan Princess received U.S. theatrical release on November 18, 1994, and only made $2,445,155 on its opening weekend.[2] It eventually had a total domestic gross of $9,771,658, resulting as a box office bomb due to struggling competition with Star Trek: Generations, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Santa Clause, Léon: The Professional, Stargate, Pulp Fiction, Miracle on 34th Street, and the re-release of The Lion King.[3]

The critical response to The Swan Princess was mixed. Currently, the film has a "C" grade at Box Office Mojo. As of 2010, Rotten Tomatoes has a 44% ("rotten") score, based on 8 reviews. However, one of its three "fresh" ratings there was from Roger Ebert (three out of four stars). The user reviews are positive, scoring only about 64% on RT Community.

Home videoEdit

The Swan Princess was originally released on home video on Augest 1, 1995, and sold over 2.5 million units.[4] In certain European countries, the full The Swan Princess trilogy was released in a 2-disc double-sided set on February 16, 2004. On March 30, 2004 the film was re-released to mark its 10-year anniversary, with a new cover for the video and Special Edition DVD. The Special Edition DVD contains a few extras, including trailers, a read-along feature, a sing-along feature and games. On August 2, 2005, The Swan Princess was released as a double-feature DVD with its sequel The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom. In the US the film along with its sequels is only available in FullScreen, as opposed to the European releases where the film is preserved in its original 1.85:1 Widescreen aspect ratio. Currently a Widescreen DVD and Blu-ray haven't been announced.

SequelsEdit

Three sequels have been made to the Swan Princess film: The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain (alternately subtitled The Secret of the Castle in some DVD releases), The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom (alternately The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure), and The Swan Princess Christmas.

The first two sequels deal with the heroes having to face two other evil magic-wielders: the crazy yet comical wizard Clavius (Swan II), and the wicked witch Zelda (Swan III) — both of whom were/are former allies of Rothbart (and both of whom Rothbart betrayed). Most of the main voice cast did not return for the sequels, save for Michelle Nicastro, who reprised her role as Odette (and this time did her own singing), and Steve Vinovich, who reprised his role as Puffin. Each sequel reprises some instrumental scoring from the original film by Lex de Azevedo together with all new songs and music by Lex de Azevedo and Clive Romney. Similarly occasional background and animation sequence art from the original Swan Princess film was reused when applicable but most was created new for each sequel. Swan Princess II animation features hand-painted cels like the original film but Swan III has digitally-painted cels. Overseas production for all three films was by Hanho Heung-Up Co., Seoul, South Korea.

The Swan Princess Christmas was released in November 2012 in time for holiday sales. Unlike the prior films, Swan Christmas was created entirely in CGI, featuring three-dimensional characters rather than the traditional 2-D animation of the prior films.[5]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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