The second straight-to-video sequel to the theatrical feature THE SWAN PRINCESS (1994) was made right after the first follow-up THE SWAN PRINCESS: ESCAPE FROM CASTLE MOUNTAIN (1997). Evidently, little time was taken between the two productions to actually come up with a different script.
Prince Derek (voice of Brian Nissen) and Princess Odette (voice of Michelle Nicastro) plan to celebrate the kingdom's victory over the previous films' warlocks Rothbart and Clavius, and the now- annihilated crystal ball known as the Forbidden Arts. But their joy is premature. The sorceress Zelda
(voice of Katja Koch) invented the Forbidden Arts in partnership with Rothbart. Now she covets his notes, supposedly still hidden in Derek's castle. Derek found the papers, but, hoping some good could come of the spells someday, concealed his discovery from Odette, who twice before was turned into
a swan by Rothbart's evil. Zelda visits the kingdom masquerading as a ditzy refugee from some faraway tyrant, and she charms Derek's poltroon counselor Lord Rogers (voice of Joseph Medrano) into disclosing the location of the notes. With the papers Zelda becomes very nearly all-powerful; Derek
kept a scrap of the most important spell just in case. Zelda thus kidnaps Odette, transforming the princess once again into a swan. Derek rides to the rescue, and by impersonating Odette the villainess is able to obtain that final piece of parchment. Nonetheless, Derek challenges her to a showdown
in which Zelda wields deadly, guided-missile-like fireballs. Derek succeeds in breaking Zelda's wand and destroying her, but not before one of the fireballs consumes the Swan Princess. Dejected Derek finally burns Rothbart's notes, and miraculously Odette reappears, phoenix-like and restored, from
the flames. The kingdom goes ahead with the celebration.
Only late in the movie, when Zelda's pyrotechnics are introduced, does the film's animation achieve anything spectacular. Otherwise this Swan Princess is a recidivist Ugly Duckling, heavy with unsympathetic talking animals and tiresome humans. Questions arise as the series continues: among others,
was Rothbart an evil wizard or head of a law firm? With every sequel (ground out by former Disney animator Richard Rich) another "partner" of the deceased warlock comes out of the woodwork, and the filmmakers show true lack of ambition by padding this feature out with flashbacks to earlier SWAN
PRINCESS installments. What juice the first film had came from Jack Palance's lusty portrayal of Rothbart; here Sean Wright voices the character in flashbacks and in a "surprise" moment at the film's conclusion. Brian Nissen, manly voice of Prince Derek in this outing, is credited for the
scenerio, which reworks ESCAPE FROM CASTLE MOUNTAIN, which was pretty insubstantial itself. However, by drawing the bedraggled fairy-tale franchise out further the filmmakers were able to insert a few more forgettable musical numbers by Lex de Azevedo.
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: G
- Review: The second straight-to-video sequel to the theatrical feature THE SWAN PRINCESS (1994) was made right after the first follow-up THE SWAN PRINCESS: ESCAPE FROM CASTLE MOUNTAIN (1997). Evidently, little time was taken between the two productions to actually… (more)