A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This film might be used as an introduction to Swan Lake, the ballet. There are enough similarities here to provide kids with a basic understanding of the ballet's story.
Loyalty, kindness, honesty, and cleverness are important and valuable traits. Good triumphs over evil. Finding someone beautiful is not reason enough for love; courage, brains, and goodness are more important.
Positive Role Models
The princess and the prince are courageous, loyal, and steadfast. The prince learns an important lesson about the shallowness of placing external beauty above all. The supporting characters exhibit great bravery as they risk their own lives to help a friend.
Violence & Scariness
Limited cartoon violence: a beast is captured in a brief sequence with fire and lightning. An evil wizard with magical powers turns the princess into a swan and wreaks some havoc in this magical kingdom. There's a paintball battle for comic effect. An arrow pierces a lovable puffin's wing. A final battle between the wizard and the heroes is not very scary.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several loving kisses between the prince and princess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Swan Princess is less scary than most animated fairy tales, though it does contain some of the typical action scenes common to these films. In most instances, these sequences are brief and do not depict injury or death. There's an evil enchanter, a flying beast, some fiery backgrounds, sounds of thunder and lightning. A scene in which the royal family's carriage is attacked is cut short before the princess is taken and the king wounded. King William delivers an important message to the prince, who comes to his aid, then simply disappears from the film. The longest "battle" is a paintball practice exercise, played entirely for humor. The final conflict takes place between the prince and the enchanter, who has turned himself into the flying creature. Princess Odette is portrayed with modern sensibilities, and is greatly offended when she believes the Prince loves her only for her beauty. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Delightful music, rich characters, and a classic love story make this a very enjoyable, family-friendly animated film. The featured players, including a turtle (voiced by the droll comedian Steven Wright), an eccentric European frog (voiced with gusto by John Cleese), and a brave puffin (voiced by character actor Steve Vinovich) are particularly fun and memorable. Taking on Disney's successful "princess" monopoly, Richard Rich (who'd worked for "the Magic Kingdom" for many years) struck out on his own to create a stylish, beautifully drawn fairy tale with a modern spirit and unique humor. Though The Swan Princess shows that he didn't have the enormous resources and funding of the Disney offerings, Rich succeeds admirably and spares his audience the innumerable tie-in products.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.