Posted by psgels on 24 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Back in the sixties and seventies, before the age of Ghibli, Toei still had the ambitions to become the “Disney of Japan”, and was enthusiastically competing with Nippon Animation for that title. It’s not much of a surprise of course that a movie of the Swan Lake once was made. And I’m pretty impressed, actually. It’s obviously a children’s movie, but if you like this sort of stuff then Swan Lake will have you entertained.

The music for starters is fantastic. But really, how can you go wrong when you have Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as your soundtrack? With some of the best parts of this classical masterpiece, this movie truly is a feast for the ears and it creates a great atmosphere to work with.

Well then, the story itself is a bit unrealistic at times (romantic love story between a prince and princess who happen to meet each other and fall in love. Oh, and let’s not forget the two squirrels who somehow make themselves into important characters…), but it definitely has its charms. The story is well paced and makes well use of its airtime. Although there’s one particular Big Lipped Alligator Moment with ballet-dancing eggs. No, really.

In any case, what made me like this movie the most was the villain: Rothbart. His motives are just plain wrong, but he’s such a fun guy to watch. The characterization for him is just excellent and he’s the one who manages to carry this movie from the moment he first gets mentioned. Now here’s a movie that manages to create a really enjoyable character. The rest of the cast is also pretty enjoyable. Odette may be a bit useless, but it doesn’t stand out too much because of Odin, the Prince and the squirrels (yeah, these two oddballs really have their charms) have their own colourful personalities.

Let me take a bit of time to talk about the ending, though. The progress of this movie is fairly linear and modern fairy-tale-like, but solid. At the end, there’s this big battle between good and evil, which is actually pretty engaging… until the creators suddenly decide to pull a completely random twist that comes right out of nowhere, makes no sense whatsoever and isn’t explained in the slightest. Seriously, there are Deus ex Machina endings, and there’s this. You really have to try to be that bad.

Nevertheless, I like kids stuff once in a while, and this movie perfectly satiated my thirst for them. That ending was just… weird, but the rest of the movie was very enjoyable. This obviously isn’t the movie you want if you’re looking for maturity, but if you like innocent and likable characters, then this movie has them.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Well paced storyline, WTF-ending.
Characters: 9/10 – Great characterization. Villain rocks.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Fantastic soundtrack, pretty good animation.
Setting: 7/10 – A tad unrealistic, but what else did you expect from a fairytale?

12 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    If there’s any movie out there that deserves a review from you, it’s obviously Ringing Bell! WATCH IT! It is a dark and twisted masterpiece, I tell you!…along with The Sea Prince and The Fire Child!

  2. yesy says:

    You should really listen to the chick above: Watch Sirius no Densetsu, now!

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Now that you mention it so often, I think I actually watched Ringing Bell once before, a number of years ago. Same with Sirius no Densetsu. Ringing bell indeed rocked, while Sirius was a bit too sappy of a love story in the end. But I’m still not sure why I didn’t end up writing a review for both of them…

  4. Gottis says:

    This was one of my favorite movies as a kid! ^_^

  5. windy says:

    I liked this “Swan lake ” film a lot at the time I watched it! There are some other “Sekai meisaku douwa” I enjoyed:
    “Oyayubi hime” ( maybe too childish, but not bad)
    ” Mori wa ikite iru”
    “Aladdin to mahou no Lamp” ( I didn’t like this one)

    But “Swan Lake” was by far my favourite among them!

  6. windy says:

    I don’t know if you already them, but there are also movies from Jetlag productions and Golden films that I particularly liked:

    – Snow White
    – Sleeping Beauty
    – Heidi
    – Pocahontas
    – Cinderella

    ( I’ve always loved fairytales! And those are really good and even if childish offer some of the fairytales’ magic.

    And also one of the Toei animation movies I forgot to mention was of course “Marina, the little mermaid” ( I’m not so sure about the title though , but it flawlessly depicts Andersen’s original story )

  7. Firechick says:

    @Psgels: Then write a reviews! Your reviews are always so interesting and fun to read (heck, they led me to watch Now and Then, Here and There and Haibane Renmei!).

  8. Firechick says:

    Whoops, I meant write a review for them! Your reviews are very interesting and influential and fun to read!

  9. Wyrdwad says:

    Big Lipped Alligator Moment? Wow, does this mean you, too, are a fan of the Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick, or has that particular phrase made its way into popular use now?

    If you’re also a fan of the personalities on thatguywiththeglasses.com, though, then that’s really cool. I love those guys. (:

    -Tom

  10. psgels psgels says:

    Yeah, I like to watch the Nostalgia critic. He tends to overact at times, but he’s fun to watch.

  11. Wyrdwad says:

    Yep, same here. I do find myself disagreeing with him pretty often (for example, I genuinely *loved* Tank Girl!), but nonetheless, he’s extremely entertaining. (:

    If you want some awesomely bitter reviews, though, check out some of Spoony’s on the same site. He has an 11-part review of Final Fantasy VIII that’s one of the most scathing, vitriolic things I’ve ever heard. It was awesome to hear him pick that game apart bit by bit for like, 3 hours. (:

    -Tom

  12. Firechick says:

    YOU LIKE NOSTALGIA CRITIC!? I do too! I watch his videos too, mostly his top 11s! he’s a bit like you when it comes to reviewing (but in his case, he reviews by videos while you review with your blog)!

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  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:15 AM)
    :-)
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:11 AM)
    @Bam I’ve sent you the rough sketch via Deviantart. Don’t expect too much, It’s only done to show the perspective and lighting.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: I’m excited to see it, but unfortunately hadn’t had long access to desktop to draft mine yet :/
    You might wanna leave an indication on yours as to where the shaman goes if you can, that would be great.
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:34 AM)
    Woah, that was a long discussion about the Inca O.o
    @Bam I’m nearly done with the rough draft, maybe a few more hours.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Vincent: That was pretty much the entirety of it. We were destined to cross Mississippi and inhabit the west, so why not take an active part in manifesting our supposed fate?
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.

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