An old fashioned fairy tale based on “Swan Lake,” this animated “Swan Princess” will enchant youngsters. Odette (voice of Michelle Nicastro), a beautiful princess, and the handsome prince, Derek (voice of Howard McGillin) have been matched for each other by their parents since early childhood. Unfortunately, when they finally grow up, Derek makes the mistake of telling Odette that her beauty is the basis of his love for her. Broken-hearted, Odette refuses to marry him. Traveling back to her homeland, the princess is kidnapped by the evil wizard, Ruthbart (voice of Jack Palance), who hopes to gain control of her father’s kingdom by marrying her. When she spurns his advances, Ruthbart casts a spell over Odette, turning her into a swan. The transformed princess-turned-swan lives in a pond also inhabited by three colorful animals. Meanwhile, a frantic Derek conducts a massive search for his true love. The animals of the pond try to help Odette find a way to let Derek know her fate. This delightful fantasy set in a mythical land of majestic castles and frightening forests will particularly appeal to girls under ten.
THE SWAN PRINCESS portrays the timeless battle between good and evil. Although Ruthbart’s use of magic seems to be occultic in origin, there are no overtly occultic symbols or incantations. His magic powers include the ability to transform his physical form and manipulate reality for his own purposes, but are in no way shown as desirable. Ultimately, good triumphs over evil when Derek shoots Ruthbart in the heart with an arrow. This final battle between Derek and Ruthbart is somewhat intense and may be too scary for children under the age of 5. Other mild violence is slapstick in nature as Derek practices archery by shooting paintball-tipped arrows at his servants. There is also a mildly intense chase scene in which Derek almost shoots Odette with his arrow when he does not recognize her in swan form. For the holiday season, THE SWAN PRINCESS can be a suitable family outing and almost achieves the depth and creativity of a Disney production.