A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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?
Kids who are fans of the series may find an amped-up, if jumbled, installment here. 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.
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- On DVD or streaming: 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.
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