Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Eurovision

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Dobkin

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Will Ferrell, Dan Stevens

Year: 2020

If you, like me, enjoyed American Idol and Will Ferrell in their respective hay days, than you are bound to love Eurovision, a festival of the ridiculous that highlights the best insanity has to offer.  It’s part singing competition glory and part Zoolander spoof-romp, which sounds like a weird combination, but works because reality shows are entertaining and that kind of comedy is entertainingly stupid.  With new films going directly to streaming services, the amount of content available is limited, so jump on this Netflix original right away and have a good time; what else do you have to do?

Ever since he was a small boy, Icelander Lars Erickssong has wanted to make music.  His dream was to win the European singing competition called Eurovision, and that vision had no room for anything else.  He sings with his childhood friend Sigrit, who loves Lars very much, though he says he can’t think of such things until he makes his dreams come true.  And they just might; a freak accident propels Lars & Sigrit, who call themselves Fire Saga, into the Eurovision singing contest to represent Iceland.  Now they just have to win, which will not be easy, since they are the least talented group there, Lars is a moron, and fate seems set on Fire Saga burning out before the world really gets a chance to see them shine.

The beginning is a little slow, and I think the film could probably have cut off about 45 minutes that they didn’t need, because 2 solid hours of Will Ferrell doing an accent can become a little much, but if you allow yourself to become invested in Eurovision it has rewards galore; you just have to be a little more patient then this genre should probably be permitted to ask for.  The first half hour was a kinda boring, I don’t know what was going on there, so if you turned it off I don’t blame you; the movie’s job is to hook you, it’s not your job to persevere.  BUT it gets better, I swear, or maybe it gets so much worse that it becomes equally that much more fun.  At the contest is where the magic happens, because that’s where McAdams takes over and where we meet Stevens, who both quickly become the reasons to watch.  They are phenomenal, their songs are so entertaining (although Rachel didn’t sing hers), and they really steal the show, making Will something of a straight man in the process, as hard as that is to believe.  The rest of the cast was whatever: Michael Persbrandt from The Salvation was great, Pierce Brosnan was amusing, Demi Lovato was stupid, Graham Norton was …there.  The real reasons to watch are McAdams & Stevens, who are both simply brilliant, and by the end, if you’ve made it that far, you’ll be rewarded with more, honest, heart-warming sentiment than you’d expect, and a surprisingly lovely time in general.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Enchanted

Category : Movie Review

Director: Kevin Lima

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden

Year: 2007

I know it didn’t all start for Amy Adams with Enchanted (she had done a lot of smaller roles and smaller films in the early 2000s, really putting in the hard work), but this movie sure feels like her coming out party, her debutante ball, and she’s been the most amazing Hollywood presence ever since, so thank god Disney decided to poke fun of itself in 2007.  Just look at this woman’s filmography (being kind at the beginning) and allow your jaw to fall: Drop Dead Gorgeous, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, Serving Sara, Catch Me If You Can, Junebug, Talladega Nights, Enchanted, Charlie Wilson’s War, Sunshine Cleaning, Miss Pettigrew, Doubt, Night at the Museum, Julia & Julia, Leap Year, The Fighter, The Muppets, On the Road, The Master, Trouble with the Curve, Man of Steel et al., Her, American Hustle, Big Eyes, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, Vice.  That’s one hell of a list, and she’s one hell of a talent, on display perfectly in a movie that really needed her to be special since not much else about it was; thankfully she delivered.

Prince Edward stands to inherit the throne of the kingdom of Andalasia once he weds, his stepmother holding the authority until that time.  Secretly, she wishes to keep control herself and is constantly scheming, with the help of the Prince’s “friend” Nathaniel, to keep Edward from meeting the lovely maiden of his dreams.  But fate steps in and delivers him to the doorstep of Giselle, a beautiful young lady just waiting for her true love’s kiss, and they become betrothed.  Queen Narissa, the stepmother, transforms herself into an ugly hag and pushes Giselle into a portal to remove her from the scene before the wedding, which magically takes her to New York City and unfortunately makes her live action.  Now Giselle must survive the city, find Edward, share their first kiss, and let all her dreams come true, before Narissa puts a wrench in the works again.  But what if love doesn’t work that way, what if the first person to catch you when you fall is just someone who was passing by, not the answer to your every heart’s desire?

No one can do a tribute to and a mockery of the classic animated Disney princess fairy tale like Disney can, and we have Enchanted to prove it.  Every moment is crafted to poke a little at the formula we’ve been enjoying for decades; the princess, the prince, love at first time, the evil queen, a poisoned apple, a romance that’s too good to be true.  What’s the saying, if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t true?  That’s what we learn, that happily ever after isn’t perfectly easy, and sometimes the person you match up the best with isn’t the person you meet first.  Even the songs take old Disney and make it funny, especially when Giselle cleans the house Snow White style but with rats, flies, and pigeons.  The music is pretty great: True Love’s Kiss, Happy Working Song, That’s How You Know.  And the acting is nice too, for what it’s worth: Adams, Dempsey, Marsden, Timothy Spall, Susan Sarandon, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey as the little girl.  Amy takes the spotlight though, of course, she’s the brightest beacon of talent here, and it’s fun to watch her, even when what’s going on around her is rather silly.  The plot is weak, obviously, it was a little more “kiddish” than I remember, and it wraps up wonkily, but watch for a good time and watch with family, because Enchanted is entertainment if nothing else.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Palo Alto

Category : Movie Review

Director: Gia Coppola

Starring: Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff

Year: 2013

There’s really only two things you need to know to warn you against seeing this movie: it’s the only film one of Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughters named Giancarla ever made, and she wrote the script based on a book by James Franco.  Gia was in Godfather III, just like Sofia, and then they both would use their foot in the door to think they could direct, like it was easy or ran in the family, which it isn’t and did not.  Franco, meanwhile, is perhaps the weirdest person in Hollywood, and will greenlight anything he gets the urge to if he gets high enough; he’s got the money, what does he care, lets film it, maybe it’ll be good, screw it.  Combining this pair into a team (Franco is also in the movie) was a horrible idea, because of course it was; neither of them is talented enough to pull off this sort of bizarre coming-of-age story, which fails to click when you see that all its characters are terrible human beings and none of its messages are honest, only assumptions, stereotypes, recycled bits, and stale ideas we’ve disliked before.

High schoolers in Palo Alto, California attempt to grow up in a world of drugs, parties, sex, dead ends, and meaningless moments, all while trying to appear normal on the surface, like nothing is going wrong and life doesn’t completely suck.  April is depressed by the pointlessness of her day-to-day existence, and she hates the people she hangs out with.  She plays soccer, has a close relationship with her coach, but gets too intimate while searching for some sort of connection.  Teddy is your basic pot head, but he has a good heart, he just isn’t the best decision maker.  He gets in trouble, tries to be around the right people, but can’t quite seem to keep afloat.  His best friend, Fred, is a complete screw-up, always destroying, always joking, always lashing out, always trying to feel something.  The boys and girls who flit through their lives mean nothing and their futures are uncertain; the adults aren’t any better, they’ve simply given up trying and aren’t coherent enough to give a helping hand, which is exactly what these kids need and will never receive.

Talk about nepotism.  Gia Coppola called in all the relatives she knew to be a part of this film, gave “very special thanks” to “Dada”, and hasn’t directed a movie since; great job.  And then of course there’s the Kilmer family; Gia & Jack went to school together, I’m sure their families know each other, she cast him here in his first ever role, and then added his dad in the background just for fun.  What a mess of solutions that were simple, not cinematic, and that defines this film perfectly.  It’s a linear plane of boring ideas that must have come very easy because everyone’s seen them a thousand times before; Coppola was simply able to get the money together to show them to us again because she wanted to, not because we needed to watch or because she had the talent to bring something new to the table.  Talent was something rare in this movie; Nat Wolff stole the show because we all know assholes just like him, but everyone else (often literally) sucked.  Roberts is a terrible actress, Kilmer is not an actor at all, Olivia Crocicchia is better in Men Women & Children, and the rest of the cameos are just weird: James Franco, Val Kilmer, Chris Messina, Talia Shire, Margaret Qualley, the voice of Francis Ford.  Why, why, and another why, but it doesn’t really matter, because there isn’t anything going on here, it was a one-off that someone could make, not anything they needed to, and luckily we won’t be hearing from this team again, if we’re lucky.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Afternoon Delight

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jill Soloway

Starring: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor

Year: 2013

Talk about a downer; Afternoon Delight might be the most depressing movie I’ve ever watched, and that includes some real, tragic, bloody, abandon-all-hope doozies.  It feels that way because there aren’t enough redeeming characteristics exhibited at any point to bring audiences out of the funk we’re intentionally thrown in, making the whole story feel forced instead of honest.  At least Hamlet felt like it was honestly saying something, though everyone dies before they can really realize it themselves.  This film isn’t nearly as bleak, it even has a happy-ish ending, but that doesn’t matter; it’s dishonesty and complete lack of real-world perspective sends it into a tailspin that it definitely doesn’t have the talent to recover from, the result being a movie you’ll wish you hadn’t seen.

Rachel is tired of going to Jewish Community Center fundraisers.  She’s tired of doing the drop off/pick up thing at preschool.  She’s tired of being a housewife with nothing to do.  She’s tired of a husband who’s too busy to notice his family.  She’s tired of never having sex.  She’s tired of her therapist talking about herself more than she helps Rachel with the dozens of problems that are spiraling her life out of control.  Basically, she wishes she could start over, or at least add something interesting to her existence, and that chance just might come, when Rachel and her husband Jeff visit a strip club and meet a dancer named McKenna.  She needs a place to stay so Rachel invites her into her home, unknowingly inviting in a lot more excitement than she’s used to, some good & some bad; at least it’s a change, if not exactly for the better.

Afternoon Delight really bothered me, and I tried to be open to it, tried to listen to it, but I was mostly rebuffed by themes that I thought were abrasive, untrue, and forced.  There’s a certain stereotypical perspective focused on by this story, and I didn’t appreciate that; marriage and family life aren’t usually this depressing.  I know I am only myself, I know I can’t know all the secret things that go on in people’s hearts, but it’s such a cliché to make a movie about moms who hate their kids, their husbands, their money, their friends, themselves, just want to get drunk on wine, just want to have sex with anyone who’ll want them.  That’s so tired, and I also don’t think it’s the truth; it’s not some sort of American Beauty-style revelation, it’s not ballsy to show a woman peeing in front of her husband, it’s not cool to portray parents as constantly ready to get rid of their kids so that they can get hammered or smoke pot.  It’s just not honest, that’s what I keep coming back to; this film just kinda sucks, and sucks the life out of audiences, which shouldn’t be the goal.   Soloway was an amateur at the time, this was before Transparent, and you can tell, she’s not ready, and even though this story takes pieces from her own life it never feels authentic, maybe because she simply wasn’t able to tell the tale as well as was needed.  Hahn is always great, but she can also be too much; sometimes she enjoys making us feel uncomfortable too much, it’s her schtick, and I just don’t think that’s as cool as she thinks it is.  The rest of the cast was throwaway, and the film becomes that too, since it never finds the lane to which it fits perfectly, always searching in vain for another way to shock us and get in our heads, with the end result being we’d rather tune it out completely than do the work necessary to really appreciate what just might not be worth our time.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Charlotte’s Web

Category : Movie Review

Director: Charles A Nichols, Iwao Takamoto

Starring: Henry Gibson, Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde

Year: 1973

One of the classic childhood musicals of our time, Charlotte’s Web is, of course, also a classic book, but comes to life so well in this simple film that both can exist and be magnificent at the same time.  E.B. White’s story is animated for us in the most basic of fashions, but that’s hardly a critique; it was the 70s after all, and these are barnyard animals, nothing too complicated, so why push the boundaries, let the story speak for itself instead.  And that’s exactly what happens; the tale is loud and clear and will stick with you into your adulthood if you watched as a kid, and will delight whole new generations of children if you share its beauty with them.

Wilbur is a runty pig, but that doesn’t mean he’s not special.  In fact, he’s loved dearly by a farm girl named Fern, who takes care of him while he’s young & little, although she has to give him up when he gets older.  Wilbur isn’t such a little guy any more, and he’s going to be butchered for meat, just like all the other pigs on the farm, when cold weather sets in.  But he’s not ready to die, he has a great zeal for life under the barn, and his new friend Charlotte is going to help him stay alive.  She’s a spider whose web is in the corner of Wilbur’s doorway, and the messages she begins to write with her silk will bring hope to a desperate pig, and will inspire love in everyone who reads them.

What a delightful tale, and what a time capsule to watch this movie with my family and experience the joy all over again.  Just the narration at the beginning was enough to transport me back in time to when I used to watch this movie over & over again, and even that was 15-20 years after its release; I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone who loved this story as a kid in the 70s to watch it now, how it would take them all the way back.  The book is great, obviously, and the musical version is very well done, very respectful of the novel, which is really important to me.  The songs, the characters, the animals, the simplicity of the timeline; it’s just very lovely.  Charlotte’s Web is one of those films that will bring a tear to anyone’s eye if you let it, and you might as well let it; you’ll feel better after, I promise.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Aladdin and the King of Thieves

Category : Movie Review

Director: Tad Stones

Starring: Scott Weinger, John Rhys-Davies, Robin Williams

Year: 1996

We can skip right over Return of Jafar, since it doesn’t have Robin Williams in it anyway, and go right to King of Thieves, because at least it feels like a Disney movie, if a sub-par, farmed-out sequel that you should lower your expectations before watching.  It’s no Aladdin, obviously, but at least it’s an attempt, and gives families (especially the younger members) something to experience in a free and easy manner, with enough quality to get by in a pinch.  The death of Robin Williams is one of the saddest events of cinematic history, but at least we get to hear his voice and enjoy his comedy in this film, and that’s almost reason enough to watch right there.

Jasmine and Aladdin are finally going to be together forever and get married, after all the adventures they’ve gone through as a couple new to love.  But their wedding is interrupted by the King of Thieves and his band of criminals, who are amassing the world’s largest treasure trove in a secret cave, and have their eye on one special magical item that will keep the King wealthy forever; the hand of Midas, which turns everything it touches into gold.  Aladdin finds himself in the mix when he learns that the King is his long lost father, a journeyman who has been searching for years for the means to make his family proud.  Now, father and son will have to work together to reach their goals, learning along the way that blood is more important than gold.

There are a lot of strong points about King of Thieves, but its ceiling was built so low from the beginning that there’s really no reaching any surprisingly strong level.  The true and legendary voice of the Genie is back, for one, and that makes all the difference.  His songs and jokes aren’t quite as crisp, but they’re still entertaining, because of course they are, Robin Williams was both a genius and a gem.  The music isn’t great, it’s patchy, and it feels second-rate, probably because that’s exactly what it is.  Even the animation takes a step back, but at least the characters are still cool, Jerry Orbach plays a good villain, there are some fun themes, we get to meet Aladdin’s dad, so it’s not all bad.  My kids had a good time watching, that means something, so it’s not all a loss, and at least it’s better than the live-action remake.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Matrix Reloaded

Category : Movie Review

Director: The Wachowski Brothers

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

Year: 2003

If Equilibrium is what happened when someone watched The Matrix, copied it, and did a terrible job, Matrix Reloaded is what happened when the creators of Matrix watched Equilibrium, copied it, and did such a terrible job that it made all three films seem like complete jokes.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sequel follow the original so poorly, not even pedantic Disney volume twos & threes that were made by a completely different department.  At least those have music; Reloaded has absolutely nothing going for it and is so shockingly bad after the success of the first that you have to wonder what happened between the two films that caused the filmmakers to lose their minds.  I’ve never seen something this bizarrely stupid, especially when it had something incredible acting as its spring board, and it’s a cinematic travesty that this movie exists at all; we might need to bite the bullet and amputate that which is so obviously rotten.

Neo has been revealed as The One, the man who can bring down the Matrix and free the human race from computer bondage.  It won’t be easy though; the system is now fully aware of his presence, they’ve classified him as an anomaly, and they’re hell bent on his destruction.  Meanwhile, Agent Smith isn’t really dead, he’s just been broken from the chains and rules of the program, so now he’s free to hunt Neo with a personal vengeance.  Also, the Matrix is sending their sentinels to Zion, the last human city in the real world, and it’s only a matter of time before they find and destroy it.  AND, Neo has visions that his beloved Trinity is going to die, so he’s got to break from the current trajectory that his team is on, which won’t be easy since Morpheus has become almost a religious zealot and a plethora of new enemies pops up wherever our heroes go.  Welcome to the real world, Neo; it sucks.

A typical complaint against this film is that it makes little sense, but I didn’t want to fall back on that flaw, which of course exists, so I made sure to pay extra attention to the details …and I still have no idea what the christ is going on.  I know the third movie is supposed to wrap things up nicely, but, even if that’s true, it’s not carte blanche to do a bad job with the second installment; it still needs to make some sort of coherent sense.  I can hardly believe Reloaded is so abysmal, since Matrix is so good; it’s like they decided to challenge themselves by throwing out everything that worked the first time around and trying something new and dangerous, like a drug that just couldn’t be denied.  The result is so dumb that it’s hard to watch, looks so bad that you’d swear you just jumped 20 years into the past instead of moving 4 years into the future.  Neo flying like Superman, CGI battles galore, idiotic fight scenes around every corner, conversations that finally reveal the acting talent of the cast; it’s not good.  In fact, it’s pathetic, we deserved better, and I hate this goddam movie.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Matrix

Category : Movie Review

Director: The Wachowski Brothers

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

Year: 1999

The Matrix was, at the time, a groundbreaking sci-fi event, a milestone of the genre that marked the beginning of a new era in film.  It seems dramatic now, but at the time it felt dramatic, this movie that pushed limits and wasn’t afraid of taking chances.  Watching it back 20 years later, what strikes me is that it still holds the same awe that it did then, still challenges audiences in a similar way, even though we’ve seen better CGI and practical effects since.  That’s the sign of a true, good, solid flick, one that doesn’t really age, it just morphs, and one that can still pack one hell of a punch.  I’m prepping myself to watch #2 and #3 as well, which I’m not as hopeful about, but perhaps I’ll be proved wrong; the original sure works still.

Neo is a hacker by night and a programmer named Mr. Anderson by day; he’s on a quest to find the truth about something he can’t even describe, it’s just a feeling that something isn’t right.  He feels that a man named Morpheus, a criminal mastermind according to authorities, will hold the answers that Neo seeks, even though he still doesn’t really know what questions to ask.  And Morpheus does find Neo eventually, saving him from a group of special agents who are bent on destroying the network of hackers who threaten their control.  Now the truth is revealed; that the world we live in isn’t real, it’s a projection, and we are all the unknowing slaves of AI overlords who use us for energy in order to stay alive and dominant.  Neo now knows the truth, but how he fits in to the resistance is still a mystery, as is the potential of his own power over the constructs of the Matrix, the wool that’s been pulled over all of our eyes.

With a cool premise as a foundation and some kick-ass action as a reward for watching, The Matrix is a gift to audiences both in construction and in delivery, like a thing you expected to be great that actually kept its promise.  That’s the key; there’s an awesome story, it’s so interesting, but that’s not where the movie stops, its keeps going above & beyond, filling all the gaps with intense fight sequences that aren’t stupid because time was taken early to build a smart base.  The acting you don’t really notice one way or the other because the actors are so invested in this fictional world; you don’t even smell anything bad coming from Reeves’ way, and he’s one of the worst actors in the entire world.  The cast is really pretty excellent: Fishburne, Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano.  It might not seem as explosively game-changing when watching it now, because so much has happened in Hollywood in the last 20 years, but The Matrix was a huge deal, should still be respected, and even has the added bonus of aging well over the time period, never losing its awesome atmosphere, and ending with a Rage bang that can’t be denied and will never be forgotten.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Housesitter

Category : Movie Review

Director: Frank Oz

Starring: Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin, Dana Delaney

Year: 1992

Housesitter is basically What About Bob 2, but how could that possibly be a bad thing?  What About Bob is one of the (if not the) greatest comedies of all time, so bringing that style back to the big screen is a smart idea no matter how you slice it, as long as you have the cast and the idea to cover your butt.  Frank Oz, almost the exact same music, a big New England house with a round drive, a small town, a kooky catastrophe; the similarities are pretty striking when you watch them unfold, but, again, that’s not a bad thing really, since they didn’t try to make a sequel (which would have failed), they just took the concept and rewrote it, presenting it to us in a different form because they knew we loved it so much the first time around.

Newton Davis is an architect in Boston who recently built a house for a girlfriend, asked her to marry him, and was dumped in turn.  She just wasn’t ready, he’s too much of a nut, but now he doesn’t know what to do; he’s going broke, going nowhere, out of ideas, and slowly spiraling downward.  When he meets the mysterious Gwen, they hit it off right away; she’s smart, funny, weird, a free spirit, and is likely to do anything, including using the information she gets from Davis to go ahead and move into his empty dream home, pretending to be his wife when the townsfolk ask.  It’s a con game that can’t last too long, but when Davis finds out the pair strike a deal; Gwen can keep up the charade if she also helps Davis win back Becky, the girl he can’t forget, the one who broke his heart, but perhaps the woman he’s destined to be with.

If you’re gonna replace Bull Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in an oddball comedy that follows the same path, there probably aren’t two better prospective actors than Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin, geniuses each.  And Hawn really steps up, because she’s not the ditzy blonde this time, she’s the swiftly lying con artist who has everyone right where she wants them, until she starts to fall for Steve Martin, who plays the lovable idiot so very, very well.  The plot is silly, obviously, but man is it funny, with these two leading the charge as the game goes off the deep end and all we can do is watch the main scheme fall apart.  It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s iconic; this movie is simply pure entertainment, from beginning to end.  It’s not quite a perfect performative classic, but it’s a film that holds up all these years later and can definitely highlight a random evening in.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Swan Princess

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Rich

Starring: Michelle Nicastro, Howard McGillin, Jack Palance

Year: 1994

In the 90s, my dad, who is a career salesman, worked for Nest Family Entertainment, selling and advertising their series of animated bible stories and also their collection of animated American hero tales.  He would travel to trade shows and expos, play the movies on TV stands, and try to sell sets to churches, schools, families, what have you.  Nest was owned by Richard Rich, a former director for Disney, who followed others like Don Bluth in creating his own animation studio when Disney started going south in the early 90s, before their Renaissance.  Nest would produce, along with Pillsbury and Turner Hone Entertainment, their first feature in 1994, and that film was The Swan Princess.  That’s how I first watched it, I always felt a special connection to it, and now I’ve passed that relationship on to my own kids, who understand that it’s no Little Mermaid, but that it’s also worth seeing.

Heirs to neighboring kingdoms, Odette and Derek were destined to be wedded.  Their parents planned it from the moment the little boy met the baby girl, it just made too much sense not to agree to, the two nations becoming one, united forever by the bond of love.  One small problem though; Derek and Odette hated each other.  They were forced to spend the summers together, forced to fall for one another, but that only drove them further apart, until the year they both grew up, saw each other properly, and finally felt a real connection.  But just as all the pieces seemed to be falling into place, the evil Rothbart attacked, killing the King and taking Odette as a prisoner.  He turned her into a swan with his dark magic, and with an eye toward obtaining her kingdom, but Derek vowed to find her some day, if he had to spend his whole life searching for the girl he grew to love.

The story is based on Swan Lake, with some clever Disney-style plot lines thrown in for originality, and the entire thing feels like a real, old-fashioned tale, not some second-rate animated clunker.  Very few saw this film, but it’s better than some Disney flops, and at least holds its own with some of the Disney Princess musicals.  Speaking of the music, that might be the best part, with memorable songs that are stronger than you’d think: This is My Idea, Practice Practice Practice, Far Longer than Forever (the big number), No Fear.  A couple of the songs are dumb, but most are solid, and the overall score is pretty great too.  The voice talent is a roller coaster, mostly filled with no-names, but with a few celebrity cameos: Jack Palance, John Cleese, Steven Wright, Sandy Duncan.  The animation is on par with others from the 90s, the climaxes are intense, the animals are fun, there’s humor blended with fantasy, it’s quite a nice little package, and it’s too bad it didn’t get more attention, because it’s worth your notice.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆