VOD film review: The Swan Princess Christmas
Andrew Jones | On 13, Dec 2013
Director: Richard Rich
Cast: Anna Graceman, Summer Eguchi
Watch The Swan Princess Christmas online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
If you weren’t at the edge of your seat when the credits rolled on the classic animated adventure The Swan Princess, the chances are that coming to The Swan Princess Christmas cold will leave you out in the snow, because you will have missed out on important details like why everyone who sings a capella gets auto-tuned with electronically produced backing tracks, or how everyone seems to be friends with a tortoise, a puffin and a French frog – or, most important of all, how a handsome prince could be named Derek. But The Swan Princess Christmas tries to cover these cracks by throwing audiences an easy-to-understand story where possibly the villain from the classic film returns as a ghost to ruin Christmas, with the help of a scrappy talking cat.
There is a subplot involving a big Christmas festival, but it’s barely part of the film because it’s only used to pad out a soundtrack now available to buy on iTunes. There’s also the briefest of shorelines about a group of guards with deep voices, who, when they sing carols with electronic updates, sound like an adolescent boy band. Possibly because of magic.
Given the title of the film, one would be fooled in thinking its central focus would be the Swan Princess, a.k.a. Princess Odette, but it’s mostly about a cat who does deeds for an evil ghost to get more lives. As such, all the human characters are put on the back-burner for a string of weird sketch-like dialogues between the ghost and the cat that include a writer’s room-type-scenario and a weird exposition sequence. The over-use of comedy causes any pace the film had to drop and, annoyingly, isn’t funny enough to be funny or bad enough to be groan-worthy.
The animation and character designs are often rather freaky – a lot of them appear to have dead eyes at all points – which means nothing looks particularly effective. This kind of thing could creep a child out for ages – or scar adults for life – but if you’re a bored masochist with 84 minutes to kill, maybe you’ll find something, anything, to enjoy in this weird, weird film.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, as part of a £11.99 NOW Cinema Membership subscription.