This beautifully animated retelling of Swan Lake, from 1994, tells the tale of everlasting love between Princess Odette, voiced by Adrian Zahiri (Grace Under Fire & The Swan Princess: Singalong), during her childhood years, the late, great Michelle Nicastro (When Harry Met Sally & Rugrats), during her adult years and Liz Callaway (1997's Anastasia & Disney's Beauty and the Beast 1991), as her adult singing voice and Prince Derek, voiced by Adam Wylie (Superman/Doomsday & Picket Fences), during his childhood years and Howard McGillin (One Life to Live & Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame), during his adult years.
When Princess Odette is born, her father King William, voiced by Dakin Matthews (True Grit & 2012's Lincoln) and Queen Uberta of an opposing kingdom, voiced by Sandy Duncan (Valerie & Disney's The Fox and the Hound), hatch a plan to bring their children together each summer, in the hopes that they would fall in love and join their two kingdoms forever in marriage.
This was not love at first sight
However, the kids don't get along at all, leading to a musical montage of hilarious hi-jinks throughout the years. As they grow into mature young adults, it seems like they might finally get the happily ever after everyone has been waiting so long for. But when Prince Derek asks Princess Odette to marry him, she asks him if her beauty is all that matters to him, Derek replies "What else is there?"... Any woman could tell you that this was definitely the wrong answer and despite their clear attraction to each other, Odette makes the decision to call off the engagement. This is very different to the standard princess story and teaches the viewers the important lesson to get to know someone well enough before jumping into a marriage and not to judge people on their personality and intelligence, as opposed to just their looks.
Once their short-lived engagement is off, Odette regretfully leaves for home, but on the way, she is kidnapped and put under a cruel spell by the evil Lord Rothbart, voiced by the late, great Jack Palance (1989's Batman & Tango & Cash), who puts a curse upon Odette, transforming her into a beautiful swan, who can only become human again for very short periods of time, such as when the moon shines on the lake she is being held captive in. During this time, Lord Rothbart proposes marriage to Odette, in an attempt to make her succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, however, she doesn't give into his pressures and proclaims that she loves Derek and will someday be free.
Odette soon befriends a down to Earth turtle named Speed, voiced by Steven Wright (Natural Born Killers & Reservoir Dogs), a pompous frog, named Jean-Bob, voiced by John Cleese (Monty Python & 2018's Charming) who thinks far too much of himself and an injured bird, which she nurses back to health, named Puffin, voiced by Steve Vinovich (The Santa Clause & Alpha & Omega) and together they come up with a cunning plan to help Odette rescue herself and defeat her enemies. Meanwhile, Prince Derek and his best friend Bromley, voiced by Joel McKinnon Miller (The Truman Show & Super 8) are devising a plan of their own to discover what happened to the beloved princess.
This film features a strong set of catchy musical numbers, which you and your kids will be singing along to for years to come, coupled with exquisite animation, which includes an amazing series of transformation scenes and a strong storyline, dotted with strong feminist values.
The Swan Princess is a wonderful film to rival any of the Disney Princess franchise, as it was directed by a former Disney director by the name of Richard Rich (The Fox and the Hound & The Black Cauldron), who co-wrote the film with Brian Nissen (1999's The King and I & Animated Hero Classics) and has become so popular that it has spawned an entire franchise, with 7 sequels already released and more rumored to be in the works!
The Swan Princess is rated G for a general audience.