Picks and Pans Review: The Swan Princess
Princess Odette and Prince Derek, heirs to neighboring kingdoms, plan to marry. Until, that is, Derek messes up big time, telling Odette he loves her because she's beautiful.
"And what else?" she presses. "Is beauty all that matters to you?"
"What else matters?" replies Derek, honestly stumped.
Cloddish Derek spends the rest of this clever musical learning the answer. A politically corrected version of Swan Lake, the movie follows these two royals as—Chuck and Di, are you listening?—their true love triumphs over numerous obstacles.
The Swan Princess, the first release from Rich Animation Studios (founded by Richard Rich, a Walt Disney Studio veteran) features crisp animation, deft voice-overs (particularly by John Geese, Steven Wright and Steve Vinovich as Odette's animal pals and Jack Palance as the villain) and seven winning songs by lyricist David Zippel and composer Lex de Azevedo. For younger kids it will do just fine until the next Disney film comes along. (G)