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    An Ode To "The Swan Princess", One Of The Most Underrated Animated Movies

    This movie holds a special place in my heart.

    Among the Disney classics I grew up with, there was another movie that captured my heart as a kid. Its name? The Swan Princess.

    The Swan Princess poster

    Released in 1994, the animated musical fantasy film was based on the ballet Swan Lake. Although it bombed at the box office, it grew to become a cult classic and even spawned a fair few sequels, with the latest one being released in 2020.

    Odette and Derek holding hands while in the castle

    To be completely honest, I hadn't thought about The Swan Princess in a long time β€” until I came across a TikTok featuring scenes from the movie that unlocked a bunch of core childhood memories of watching it over and over and over again.

    Now, if it's been a while since you enjoyed the masterpiece that is The Swan Princess, let me jog your memory. The movie starts off with King William and his friend Queen Uberta making a plan to have their kids β€” Derek and Odette β€” fall in love and marry so that they can unite their two kingdoms.

    King William gesturing to Odette to say hi to Derek; Queen Uberta is doing the same thing but for Derek

    This results in Derek and Odette spending each summer together β€” and, of course, as kids, they hate each other. But as in any good childhood friends-to-lovers trope, as adults they begin to look at each other in a new light and realise their love for each other.

    Top: Derek as a child aiming an arrow at a poster marked with a drawing of Odette; bottom: Derek and Odette kissing as adults

    Derek then proposes to Odette but fumbles the bag in spectacular fashion when he can't think of another reason he likes Odette beyond her beauty β€” aka typical men behaviour.

    Odette asking Derek if he loves any other part of her beyond her beauty

    Don't worry, though β€” he gets epically roasted by Lord Rogers, who acts as an adviser of sorts to Derek.

    Rogers saying "You should write a book. How to offend women in five syllables or less."

    Things take a turn when Lord William and Odette are attacked by Rothbar, a banished sorcerer who wants to take over William's kingdom. He kills the king (dark, I know!), kidnaps Odette, and casts a powerful spell that transforms her into a swan after she refuses to marry him.

    Rothbar in the forest

    The only way for Odette's curse to be broken is to kiss the man she loves and for him to make a vow of everlasting love and then prove it to the world.

    Odette as a swan

    As it happens, the man she loves, Derek, never gives up searching for Odette and eventually learns the truth of what happened.

    There are some more twists, but I don't want to spoil the whole movie β€” just know that it ends on a happy note.

    Odette and Derek getting married

    Although the plot of The Swan Princess is simple, the hand-painted animation gives it a beautiful and magical feel that just can't be replicated by modern animated movies.

    Plus, I love Odette's strength and occasional sass, especially considering that this film was made in the '90s.

    Odette and Derek looking at each other happily

    Also, the side characters, including Rogers, Speed (the turtle), Jean-Bob (the French frog), and Lieutenant Puffin (the Irish puffin), are hilarious and have some great, witty dialogue between them.

    Oh, and the songs in The Swan Princess? They're classics! From the opening song "This Is My Idea" to "Far Longer Than Forever" β€” which was nominated for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes β€” they still get stuck in my head whenever I randomly listen to them.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    So even though The Swan Princess never won any awards, it was still a huge part of my childhood β€” and for good reason. It's sweet and fun, and I don't see myself throwing out my VHS copy anytime soon.

    A hand holding a VHS copy of The Swan Princess

    Did anyone else watch The Swan Princess growing up? Let me know in the comments!