Swan Princess V: A Royal Family Tale

 
(i)

 

Sustained peril gives fairy tale sequel a creepy edge.
  • Review Date: April 21, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Viewers get some exposure to royal life, but overall, the movie is meant to entertain more than educate.

Positive messages

Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale offers positive messages about loyalty, perseverance, and doing what you believe is right.

Positive role models

Characters are extremely simplistic, and are often good or bad. Adult characters are typically engaged, caring, and present, though some are shown as bickering and ineffectual. Some evil characters are shown as merely loyal foot servants whose minds can be changed with reasoning.

Violence & scariness

Sustained peril throughout the film may be too creepy or frightening for younger kids. The movie begins with an explosion that sets the pace for a relentless slew of evil forces, sorcery, plotting, poisons, and lots of weaponry, mostly bows and arrows. The evil force, known as the Forbidden Arts, takes the shape of a stream of black smoke with a very frightening deep voice that slinks about and intimidates wherever it goes. Elsewhere, fire-breathing dragons are shot down with arrows, and a just-adopted child is stolen and kidnapped for the duration of the movie (though unharmed). There are numerous explicit threats on the lives of other characters, and poisons are administered freely. A character is knocked down with a log, while another is tied up in vines. Another is tossed off a cliff, presumed to be dead (but not shown hitting the ground). In one scene, a character is choked, and there are many near-death moments, including a squirrel that is shot in the heart, but survives.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Very mild language, such as when a character says "Beat it, punk," to another, or when characters shout taunts at others, calling them liars or thieves.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many potions, said to be poisons, are used to cause deep sleep or threatened to cause death. Others are used to revive the injured.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Swan Princess V: A Royal Family Tale is the fourth of the direct-to-video sequels in the Swan Princess series, and the fifth installment overall. It contains sustained mild peril such as numerous fights, injuries, potions, death threats, and near-death incidents, with sustained use of bows and arrows throughout the film. Notably, a just-adopted child is kidnapped and locked away in a cave in the forest for the duration of the film (but unharmed). There is one implied death, and the evil force is represented by an ominous, disembodied force that takes the form of a smoke stream and could be quite creepy for younger kids.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Princess Odette, Prince Derek, and the Royal Family have just adopted a daughter, Alise, when she is kidnapped and held in the forest by an evil force called the Forbidden Arts intent on convincing the world that the Swan Princess brings only despair, and hoping to destroy her. Derek, Odette, and their forest friends must work to combat evil plotting and danger from the Forbidden Arts and his squirrel henchman and save Alise before it's too late.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SWAN PRINCESS V: A ROYAL FAMILY TALE looks more like an animated video game from the mid-2000s with a plot dropped into it than a modern animated comedy based on the Swan Lake ballet, but that isn't its only, or even worst, fault. With a needlessly convoluted plot and sustained peril, the movie obscures what sweetness lies at its heart -- a movie about the many forms family can take. Instead, there are explosions, complicated plots about changing stones and false prophecies, sleep potions, and numerous plodding scenes that drag the movie forward at a confusing pace -- to say nothing of too many flying squirrels to keep track of -- while adding a relentless dose of peril to boot. 

Kids who are fans of the series may find an amped-up, if jumbled, installment here, but parents of younger kids may want to hold off on this seemingly sweet fairy tale that instead packs a lot of fright -- creepy smoke streams, evil flying squirrels, murderous plots, and an adopted child who is kidnapped for the most of the film -- until they are older. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how it feels not to be believed. Have you ever had to convince someone that something was true or not true? What was it? How did it make you feel?

  • How do Princess Odette and Prince Derek work together to rescue Alise? Have you had to work as a team before? What was the project? How did you do?

  • Compare Odette and Derek to the royal king and queen in the film, who were always bickering. Why were they always arguing? How could they have solved their disagreements better?

Movie details

DVD release date:February 25, 2014
Cast:Elle Deets, James Arrington, Yuri Lowenthal
Director:Richard Rich
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Arts and dance, Book characters, Fairy tales, Wild animals
Run time:83 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Rated PG for mild peril.

This review of Swan Princess V: A Royal Family Tale was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • The ultimate makeover story has strong, positive messages.
  • Disneyfied but dignified tale of Chinese warrior.
  • Endearing, enduring, with just a few bits of crude humor.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byTimberHumphrey July 31, 2015
 

oh god why?!

this was the worst animated movie i saw in 2014, no other animated movie came close. this thing made The Nut Job and Legends of Oz look like Oscar worthy! the CGI animation is still awful: the characters look like lifeless statues made outta plastic, the graphics are off, the backgrounds are bland, the lip syncing has a lotta problems and the character designs are terrible! seriously, somebody got paid to draw these designs and somebody else got paid to animate them. why?! but that's the tip of the ice berg. the plot's all over the place and it doesn't make a lick of sense, the writing's shit, the directing's lazy, a lotta sense go nowhere, the voice acting sounds like it was done in one take, the characters are awful, unlikable and obnoxious, there's barely any structure to it, the villain was atrocious (the worst of the franchise) and whatever "dark" scenes this movie had can end up traumatizing kids. just don't watch this movie, please! if you're like me and you want something good or at least tolerable to watch, stay away - FAR way - from this movie!

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass