Hello, Spongey here
Our Christmas trek continues on, and today I have a particularly bad lump of coal for you. It’s something I’ve been kind of building up to, and it’s time to finally face it. Just a couple weeks ago, I had to look at another sequel to Swan Princess that no one wanted.
The original was average, but at least tried. The sequel was just very forgettable and not worth thinking about it They made it for it with the 3rd one which was just bad, being very unoriginal with pretty much conflict or creativity anywhere in it’s run time.
With how bad it was, they decided to leave the franchise…until 2012, when they thought it was a brilliant idea to bring it back. Because hey, we’ve got plenty of Nostalgia to bank on!
But they didn’t’ want to actually please anyone, so they made it CGI. Given the same guy thought everyone wanted a franchise out of Alpha and Omega, this shouldn’t be too shocking.
It’s the perfect example of something that needs a snarky review. I knew about it but I wanted to work my way up to it. So I did the other sequels first. With how weak the 3rd one is, I’ll be glad if this has an original plot.
But from the clips I’ve seen…oh boy. The original cast is mostly all gone by now, except for a couple comedy sidekicks and the villain….we’ll get to that. Rich is still directing, and Brian Nissen is still writing.
Everything is telling me this will be painful, but ….nah, it’s gonna suck. Let’s just get this over with.
This, is The Swan Princess Christmas
The movie opens with Rogers on a black screen telling us about Christmas traditions. What a riveting way to start out. I suppose this was meant to emulate a stage play, but it’s just lazy exposition to get us in the mood.
Our story truly beings in the kingdom of IdontRememertheName as our old pals are just riding around singing…a modern sounding version of Jingle Bells.
Oh Santa Christ, what have I done.
I don’t think I need to tell you that the animation is pretty subplar. I’ve seen worse but as you can imagine, it looks like a video game. Although at the moment, I suppose it could look worse.
We cut to a cat talking to the Ghost of Rothbart, who is planning out his revenge. …Wait, what? …Rothbart’s just….haunting around? No explanation given? He says he’s trying to get his body back….but man I have so many questions.
Like…why go back to Rothbart instead of doing something original for a change? At least it’s his partner’s half cousin or whatever. Also, our villain has a sidekick who doesn’t want to do this and gets hurt a lot.
Gee, they’ve never done that before.
“Christmas has the best holiday music”
“Much better than Pumpkin Awareness Day”
Also, Odette is voiced by Laura Bailey, and Derrick is voiced by Ben Ten. …Yes. I know that’s not the characters actual now but screw it.
While the villains….do something, our heroes go to Uberta’s place, which is decked out. Every year they have a theme.
“This year, it’s a Swan Princess Christmas”
The cat sneaks into the place, and I should mention that Rothbart only exists as a voice, so they can save money I guess. There’s this chest and opening it wlll give Rothbart his body back, but only Derrick can do it.
“It’s gonna be the worst Christmas present he ever opended”
So once again, our villain most trick the heroes to giving them what they need. …At least it’s not a partner rehashing this stuff?
Elsewhere, we get people singing a sort of R&B-ish version of Deck the Halls. Santa Christ, this is painful. Also, once again we need an excuse to say Gay in a kid’s movie.
At least we don’t have a pop version of Hark the Herld Angels sing-WHY DO I TALK. This all practice for some Christmas Show thingy, by the way. They tell Odette she gets to have her own number, than she gets sad for reason we have to find out later.
We get a scene of the cat following Derrick while he’s out doing stuff, and he sees him outrun two big snow leopards, and gets so scared he tells Rothbart he isn’t gonna do this. He tells him he’ll give him 9 whole lives if he does this, and he’s back in.
…So what was the point of all of that? Seriously, tell me. That added nothing to the story or characters. Nothing.
We then get a bit with the animal sidekicks, and I should mention that throughout these sequels they have been keeping up the subplot of the frog wanting to become a prince. It was not funny the first time, and it sure as hell is not funny the 10000th time!
I should call attention to one bad piece of animation: The frog falls into the snow, but he doesn’t fall into it. He just kind of …fades into the spot he’s supposed to falling onto. It’s like he goes through it.
It’s weird, and pretty bad.
Odette comes out and asks for help with her number. …Any reason why she was sad? Maybe she’s just too busy to do all of that, but she seemed really bummed out! Why is that?
We then have a brief bit where Rogers shows off his newest invention…the light bulb.
“It will never catch on”
Hardy har har.
We cut to the next day as it is “Ornament Day” which is apparently worth singing about . Hey, an original song that isn’t pop-iified! …Wait nevermind, it becomes pop crap near the end. It’s another forgettable, only with an added layer of trying too hard.
They light the Christmas tree using Rogers crazy new invention, as Derrick stumbles upon Rothbart’s chest. While that took no time. The cat barely even had to try!
Derrick opens it and at first nothing happens, so he leaves. But of course Rothabart is brought back, in all his mediocre CGI glory. Although he is still a ghost, making the fact he was a voice…somehow more confusing.
Apparently just opening the chest doesn’t give him his body back despite what he said earlier. He’s at his weakest on Christmas, so he must destroy it so he can be powerful again.
Yep, this long awaited  return to the Swan Princess franchise, is just another bland villain destroying Christmas story.
Speaking of story, ….once again we have pretty much no conflict outside of the villain doing evil shit. The little bit we have is not good enough. Santa Christ, how do you make that mistake TWICE in one series?!
Rothbart has enough magic to do minor spells, like making Rogers and Uberta become assholes to each other. …So what did he change? At least we have conflict, but it’s still just crap the villain starts up.
There’s a right way to do villain based conflict….and there’s doing this.
Derrick catches a glimpse of Rothbart and figures out that he is back, and he let him in. Why is that chest still around anyway? Is Derrick REALLY bad at getting rid of evil objects?
So our heroes have found out about him just as he showed up. Way to build up tension. Even the 3rd one waited for them to find out about all this. Dereick figures out that wind chimes slow Rothbart down because….they represent Christmas. That’s news to me.
So he puts them all over the castle for Rothbart can’t do anything, forcing him to cause havoc elsewhere. Before anything cool can happen ,we get yet another crappy remix of a Christmas song.
Then we get Rogers and Uberta arguing which leads to a semi fantasy scene where they have a…light saber fight? Because mixing Star Wars and Christmas always works out well?
Rothbart goes around turning people into assholes but that’s interrupted by more shitty Christmas pop songs. Santa Christ, there’s almost a story reason for it but it’s still filler, and they all sound like shit.
After that, Derick and Odette head out and see what Rothbart has done to the townsfolk. They figure out he did it, so they must find a way to capture Rothbart and save Christmas.
This incredibly complex and deep character driven plot is just so engaging, isn’t it? Rothbart approaches the chick who was his partner in the first movie but is now good. I have to say, I’m surprised this former partner didn’t go on their own and do the same shit Rothbart did.
He asks her for some help and for some reason, she says yes. She’s replacing the cat, by the way. Good. When Rothbart hears about how Derick and Odette are trying to spread cheer, he decides they gotta go.
You should have tried taking out your main enemy who could stop you first, you know..
Also, Bridget takes down the chimes because that’s still a plot point. In between all of this, we have Rogers and Uberta fighting, which is just incredibly stale by now. Once again some of the only conflict is between them and it’s annoying.
I swear, it’s like they aren’t even trying. Did those extra years do nothing?
Because we need some kind of substance, Odette gives some food and presents to this poor family, and we get some precious crap. It’s dumb but it’s something.
The cheer Odette brings causes all the assholes Rothbart created to turn good again, because she’s that much of a personality depraved perfect person. In desperation, he lets the cat back in.
…So all of that letting him go stuff was pointless. Hooray. Rotthbart then does magic shit with a lightbulb saying this is his big plan. I’m sure I missed something and will find out what it is in a moment.
Suddenly, Bridget becomes important …cuz it turns she was a spy, and was luring Rothbart into a trap by Derrick. ..Okay, as convoluted as that is, that’s kind of awesome on the good guy’s part.
He isn’t too upset though, because his plan is still being put into effect. We cut to the Christmas show to give us more pop crap. One of the songs mentions Jesus, which is heard to hear in a children’s movie.
When the tree is lit, Rothbart’s lightbulb magically brings him back to life.. .. I don’t get it either. This also gets rid of Christmas but wasn’t the plan to destroy Christmas to get Rothbart his body back? This is the other way around.
But anyway, something finally happened in this movie, yay. Rothbart takes over as King and gloats about it, although he starts talking in a whisper for some reason. Shouldn’t he be over the top and yelling or whatever?
He doesn’t done yet, as he must get rid of Derrick and Odette, who have cheer all year round. He mostly focuses on Odette so the big hero can save her again. Then…he turns her into a swan.
God fucking dammit, stop rehashing shit!
He turns the puffin into an ornament, but he says that won’t happen to Odette til the moonlight touches her. Because that totally won’t give her time to escape.
Derrick arrives and Rothbart turns into that badass flying creature thing so we can have our climax. …Which was from the first movie. Which in turns was sort of from Sleeping Beauty. Ugh.
Derrick is taken out which causes Odette to sing for some reason, which in turn….makes Rothbart explode and returns everything to normal?
…What? HuH? …How? Why? ….Oh, who cares we’re almost done.
But first, Derrick has to have a fake out death because I cared so much about him. She sings some more which wakes him out because…..fuck you, that’s why.
Also, the CGI makes every close up of Odette look really derpy.
Thanks to Odette’s random magic singing, the day is saved and Christmas is brought to the kingdom. Let’s celebrate with more crappy autotuned singing!
Then after a couple lines or so…the credits roll. …You’ve gotta be kidding me. It just ends? No wrap up? No explanation of what happened? We don’t see Rothbart about he just vanishes? Nothing?
Ugh. This is the worst abrupt ending I’ve seen in a while. It barely gives us time to process anything. And at An hour and 19 minutes, this is longer than the last couple so it has no excuse!
Whatever, we’re done.
Yeah, that was bad. Honestly, I was expecting something awful, but it’s mostly just as bad as the 3rd one. But in the end it’s way more tiring. Before I got to the big problems, let’s go over minor stuff.
While the animation is bad, it’s honestly not as bad as I thought it would. The characters at least move like human beings, which puts it like 10000 steps above Foodfight, and it at some points it looks presentable by DTV standards, which puts it above Rich’s own Alpha and Omega sequels.
Oddly enough, the animals mostly look worse than the humans. Not sure how that happens. For whatever reason, there are pretty much no original songs, instead of giving us horribly autoned butcherings of classic songs. Even the 3rd movie had a decent villain song.
But could honestly those things. I cannot forgive the crappy writing. The main problem is that it’s the same shit from all the other movies! While it’s Rothbart doing it, it’s the same formula as the 3rd one especially!
Wacky sidekick helps villain do evil stuff, and Odette becomes a swan for no reason, and there’s a fake out death. They copied the structure of the 3rd movie because rehashing the worst in your franchise is a great idea!
Thus, the same problems are here, except it’s almost worse. Just like last time, there’s no conflict. But this time, they don’t even ATTEMPT anything. There is a Christmas show but aside from Odette getting sad over it, nothing comes of it!
None of the characters get any development or depth. They fight badies, that’s it. I’m not asking for anything complex, but SOMETHING would be nice. Even the simplest Good Vs evil stories at least try to do something interesting,
Instead every character is a blank slate with no depth to speak of. Rothbart is kind of enjoyable, but that’s about it. Every other character is annoying or boring. The voice acting is fine, I guess.
Everything comes apart with the ending. Odette’s singing randomly stops Rothbart for reasons that are never explained, and even if it was explained in one of the other episodes, it still feels completely forced.
By the end, they just gave up and decided to throw whatever they wanted at the screen. Even the 3rd movie tried harder than this! Like the 3rd one, it’s not really painful but the writing is so lazy that it becomes bad.
Oh, and the Christmas element is pointless.
Overall, this movie was bad. While I can’t say it was more painful than the 3rd one, it was still just as bad, maybe slightly worse. It’s completely generic, with pretty much no story or conflict, with weak animation, crappy songs, and completely stale characters.
I’m really getting tired of this franchise. It keeps doing the same crap with no attempt to do anything different. It’s CGI now, that’s the big difference. Despite that…I’ll give the 5th one a shot because….i read the first paragraph of the Wikipedia summary and it’s….something.
Until then, we have this lump of coal. It’s bad.
Enough of this mediocrity, next time we’re dong an enjoyable Christmas movie. We’ve looked at one Christmas TV Movie based on a Kidcom I like….so let’s do another one!