The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sequel has more cartoon action and violence than the original Swan Princess. There are explosions, threatening fires, spooky music, crocodiles with gnashing teeth, several falls from a mountain top, an episode in which the hero appears to be sucked into quicksand, a scary wolf chasing the heroes, a landslide crashing down upon the prince, and more. It should also be noted that the emphasis is on the fun of the chase and the derring-do of the characters rather than the effects of all the violence. There is no blood; no one dies on screen; and, though a very lovable frog is unconscious for a period of time, none of the heroes is seriously injured. The two villains, however, plunge from a cliff and are never seen again.
What's the story?
It's a festive day for Princess Odette (voiced by Michelle Nicastro) and Prince Derek (Douglas Sills). They're getting ready to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. And, it's the Queen Mother's 50th birthday! But the evil Clavius (Jake Williamson; former partner of Rothbart, the villain in the original film, The Swan Princess) has other plans for them. He conspires to destroy their happiness, capture the prince, and invade the castle to retrieve a well-hidden magic orb that holds the key to the Forbidden Arts -- powers that will enable him to conquer the entire kingdom. The royal family faces great danger and it's only with the help of their loyal friends that they can do battle with the devious sorcerer and hope to save their world.
Is it any good?
The story no longer bears any resemblance to its namesake "Swan Lake" ballet and is now simply a by-the-numbers good-versus-evil tale that moves from one action sequence to the next. Richard Rich and the team behind the charming musical fairy tale The Swan Princess hoped to achieve similar success with this sequel. Unfortunately, neither the story, the music, nor the characterizations live up to the standard they created in the original. Sorely missed are the the wonderfully conceived song-and-dance numbers with their sly cultural references, as well as the vocal talents of John Cleese, Steven Wright, and Jack Palance who brought distinction and vibrancy to the supporting roles. In this film Princess Odette is relegated to secondary status, in support of Prince Derek and his conflict with the evil Clavius.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about sequels. If you saw the original, what changes did you notice? Does this movie stand on its own or do you need to see the original first?
The filmmakers show that each of the familiar characters ( i.e. the princess, the prince, the puffin, the frog) has his or her own strengths and all of them help save the day in some way. Can you identify what qualities are special to each character?
Prince Derek learns a valuable lesson about what is most important in life. How do you determine what tasks and commitments matter the most to you?