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 Stolen Princess is a lively Russian (dubbed into English) animated adventure suitable for all ages with mild cartoonish violence and no explicitly offensive content. The movie is based on a Russian fairy tale and features classic tropes such as wizards, dragons, knights, and princesses. However, its efforts to depict strong role models are diminished by some tiresome stereotyping. This is most notably demonstrated by the fact that the only female roles are princesses in need of rescue, while male characters portray the brave knights intended to save the day. Any violence is cartoonish and slapstick. But characters are threatened with swords and daggers, and there is a duel involving fireball-throwing staffs. Some characters, such as magical spirits and a fire-breathing dragon, supply some mild scares.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Set in a fairy tale land, THE STOLEN PRINCESS tells the story of Ruslan (voiced by Daniel J. Edwards), a traveling actor who dreams of becoming a knight. He meets the beautiful Mila (Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld) and, not realizing she is a princess, falls in love. When Mila is kidnapped by the wicked sorcerer Chernomor, the King announces that the knight who saves her will have her hand in marriage. Now Ruslan is on a mission to find Mila and defeat Chernomor. Along the way he encounters a mystical cat, teams up with a naughty hamster, and takes on a series of magical challenges.
Is it any good?
Though The Stolen Princess has many of the right elements for a quality animated fairy tale, it won't be knocking Frozen or Tangled off their perches any time soon. Vibrant and colorful with impressively illustrated scenery, it's stuffed full of imaginative plot lines and varied characters with some entertaining slapstick humor. There are magical quests, high-octane battles, evil cupcakes, and an eccentric cat. But all the anthropomorphized creatures (and food) in the world can't gloss over the bizarre lack of female characters and frustrating stereotyping.
Mila has the makings of a legendary movie princess -- bold, feisty and curious, but bored, frustrated, and amusingly clumsy -- so it's a great shame she is destined to be the kidnap victim in need of rescuing who misses out on most of the action. The Stolen Princess certainly has adventure, a few laughs, and a colorful charm that will appeal to younger viewers. But in a world full of smart and stylish animations, this one is probably not sophisticated enough to impress older -- or movie-savvy -- kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fairy tale stereotypes in The Stolen Princess. Discuss why brave knights, wicked sorcerers, and princesses that need to be rescued don't necessarily make good role models. Why must we be careful of stereotyping people?
Discuss the lack of female characters. How could the movie have incorporated more roles for women? How does it compare to other animated movies with strong female role models? Why media role models matter.
- On DVD or streaming: March 7, 2018
- Cast: Daniel J Edwards, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Jake Paque
- Director: Oleh Malamuzh
- Studio: FILM.UA Distribution
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Fairy Tales
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 15, 2020
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