The story is rather basic – the two characters meet as children, then meet again as adults but the female heroine has a curse placed on her by an evil wizard. Typical stuff for a fairytale story. The story is simplistic, character arcs and plots are basic. You know that in the end, the two will find each other once again but the question is always ‘how’?
The songs, too, are a bit ‘hit-and-miss’. Some are forgettable, but some (such as Far Longer than Forever) are actually rather endearing. This film isn’t done by Disney, although it has a definite feel of being a dupe of Disney, at least. Apparently it was pitched to Disney, so there you have it.
What always drew me to this movie was the lovely paintbox bright scenery and setting. Set in a fantasy medieval world full of castles and lakes, it was a delight in a time when there was emphasis on hand-drawn animation. It almost felt like the scenery was breathing, as if it had a heartbeat all its own.
Richard Rich, the director, has also done such masterworks as the animated King and I. The aforementioned Swan Princess movie has spawned four sequels, but could easily have managed to stand on its own as a singular film.
Of course the script fails massively and the romance just isn’t there but as a child it didn’t really matter. Heck, as a five year old, the bland Derek seemed like an ideal hero!
The film is like a guilty pleasure that you love to hate. When the films were brought back in 2012-2014, the magic of the originals seemed lost and seemed like a second-rate cartoon.
MY RATING: ** / *****