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"Far longer than forever, I'll hold you in my heart."


 Odette: Will you love me, Derek, until the day I die?

Derek: No. Much longer, Odette. Much longer.


Ex-Disney animation director Richard Rich made this animated feature in 1994, which adapts the plot (though not the music) of the ballet Swan Lake.

Odette and Derek are betrothed royalty of neighboring kingdoms, though it isn't until they're grown that they actually fall in love. Too bad that first, Derek doesn't know what he loves about her besides her beauty, which upsets her, and second, the evil wizrad, Sir Rothbart — banished from her kingdom years ago for practicing the "Forbidden Arts" — kidnaps her.

When she refuses to marry Rothbart and make him king, he curses her to become a swan during daylight hours and moonless nights. The remorseful Derek seeks and finds her, but with Rothbart staying one step ahead of the lovers — and One-Winged Angel, too — invoking the Curse Escape Clause is not easy, even with Talking Animal friends helping them out.

While no blockbuster, it did spawn two sequels: The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain (1997) and The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom (1998). The first pits them against Rothbart's old partner Clavius, the second against his mentor Zelda, and poor Odette keeps getting turned into a swan and back again the whole way.

This film (and its sequels) contain examples of:

  • All Animation Is Disney: Then again, Richard Rich did direct the Disney films The Black Cauldron and The Fox and the Hound, and the movie draws heavily on the "Disney Renaissance" style.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Lt. Puffin has no problems kissing the back of Odette's hand in a very humanlike manner.
  • Amusing Injuries: The animals, fairly often - after they steal the map from the tower, for example. The human characters generally don't get these, with the notable exception of one point in the opening montage where you have the main characters - including Odette - as kids getting involved in a goofy and haphazard accident and cutting away to the group of them in the traditional amusingly exaggerated slings and bandages.
  • Anachronism Stew: We would like to know how Prince Derek has an air force. Then again, maybe we're better off not thinking about it.
    • Not to mention Rothbart in boxing clothes during his Villain Song "No More Mr. Nice Guy", and Clavius playing a (magical, understandably) electric guitar and a keyboard.
      • Don't forget the clothes: fashion styles range from the 1300's to the 1700's, to the 1980's.
  • Animated Musical
  • Annoying Arrows: Puffin's first entrance is with an arrow through his wing. As soon as it gets taken out, he's all better.
  • The Archer: Derek.
  • Arrow Cam: Unfortunately, the arrows don't wobble, as they would in a real situation.
  • Arrow Catch: Derek's skill at this proves vital in the climax when he runs out of his own arrows and his sidekick shoots one over to him.
  • Artifact Title: In the third film, Derek and Odette are absent for most of the movie, as it puts more focus on the Queen and Rogers' love life. And Odette is only turned into a swan for about forty-five seconds before it's undone, and it's completely unexplained why she was made a swan again.
  • Award Bait Song: "Far Longer Than Forever" and "Eternity" (latter is over the end credits only).
    • The third film also had "Because I Love Her".
  • Back From the Dead: In the third movie, Odette is Killed Off for Real, but thanks to completely unexplained reasons, she is revived after burning Rothbart's notes.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Oddly, given that part of the film's moral is "Looks aren't all that matters", the bad guys are ugly and the good guys pretty (though the hag does a Heel Face Turn at the end which extends to the sequels, thus proving the moral right).
  • Big No: Odette has one when Derek professes his love to the disguised hag.
    • In the second film, Clavius lets one out when he finds out the magical orb has been stolen.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Arrows do not work that way.
  • Black Magic: The "Forbidden Arts". To Create, Change, and Destroy.
  • Britain: Though not explicitly said or explained, it is the possible setting mainly because some of the characters have British accents. Another clue is that have some characters have English sounding names, such as Chamberlain, Bromley, William, Wesley, Derek, and Rogers (except Odette, Jean Bob, Clavius, and Rothbart, which are French, German, and Latin respectively). Also noted that the clothing of the characters, peasants, knights, and nobles were based off of Medieval England and Renaissance Germany. During the sequence of “Princesses on Parade”, Rogers mention one of the towns in England called Colchester and mention Lincolnshire in the first sequel.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: "Princesses on Parade".
  • The Cast Showoff: Howard McGillin (Derek) is just about the only cast member to do all of his own singing, being a respected Broadway alumni.
  • Catch Phrase: Puffin as "No fear!" which even gets it's own song, which itself has reprises through the series. He most often says it to Jean Bob, who constantly lampshades it throughout the second movie.

  "Do you know how much that phrase makes me want to hit you?"

  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Derek's bow.
    • Chekhov's Skill: Brom's shooting an arrow at Derek whose back is turned to him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In the first movie, Derek blinds Rothbart with a lump of mud, smashes a rock into Rothbart's talon and when disarmed grabs a stick and starts flailing at him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Rogers, Derek's advisor.
    • Also, Speed; he's an old turtle, but wise and heroic.
  • Covers Always Lie: Ever so slightly. The DVD cover seems to have a much different character design for Derek, mostly making his hair look more manly.
    • The DVD cover for the second movie has King William standing near Queen Uberta, despite the fact Rothbart killed King William in the first movie.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Bromley, Derek's best friend.
  • Curse Escape Clause: If Derek can make a vow of love to Odette and prove it to the world, that will be enough to break the curse.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rogers delivers most of the best lines in the movies as this.

 Rogers: You should write a book: How to Offend Women in 5 Syllables or Less.

    • Jean-Bob is also a prime example.

 Jean-Bob: Mad? Why should I be mad? I enjoy hanging on for dear life! Next to snorkeling, it's one of my favorite activities!

    • Don't forget Speed, who has fewer lines but is voiced by Steven Wright in the first film.
  • Disappeared Dad: It is mentioned in the prologue that Uberta was a widow, so Derek's dad is assumed to be dead. The original ballet even has her character as a Queen Mum sort of figure, only ruling as Sovereign Princess until her son is able to take a wife.
  • Disney Death: Odette in the first film, Jean-Bob in the second, and Odette again in the third.
  • Disneyfication
  • Distant Duet: "Far Longer Than Forever"
  • Distressed Damsel: Odette.
  • Dub Name Change: The French version changes many names: Arthur (Derek), Juliette (Odette), Albéric (Rothbart), Aldo (Jean-Bob), Rapido (Speed), Capitaine Anatole (Lt. Puffin), Melchior (Rogers).
  • Duck: Done during the song "Practice, Practice, Practice" when Derek launches (harmless) arrows at a group of servants acting as targets. Cue the musician dressed as a duck popping his head up to say "Yes?" and then getting hit.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Apparently Swan Lake wasn't a good enough title.
  • Evilly Affable: Sir Rothbart may be a sadistic Jerkass, but man, does he have style! He never loses his temper (fully) either.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Lord Rothbart in the first movie and Sir Clavius in the second one.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Jean-Bob's attempts to become a prince.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: In the third movie, while Derek is singing "Because I Love Her", it shows clips from the first movie. Though for some reason they chose some decidedly unromantic clips for this love song, such as Odette dying, and Derek hunting down and murdering the Big Bad in an action sequence.
  • Final Love Duet: "Far Longer Than Forever", the reprise (though it's not sung on-screen).
  • Follow the Leader: That teaser poster above swipes from the teasers for both The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, a good indicator of how much the film itself directly imitates Disney Animated Canon fare.
    • Specifically, the choreography for "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is... suspiciously similar to Aladdin's "Friend Like Me".
  • Foreshadowing: Young Derek gives baby Odette a locket with a swan on it and when they grow into young adults, he tells her she's as beautiful as a swan. Later in the movie, she's cursed to become a swan each time the moon sets.
  • Genki Girl: Queen Uberta, so much, despite her old age!
  • Hair of Gold: Odette.
  • Happily Married: Derek and Odette, at the very end of the first film and in the sequels.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the third movie, when Odette tries to escape, Zelda responds by turning Odette into a swan and trapping her inside a magical barrier that will vaporize anything that touches it. Later, Zelda is destroyed when she is thrown at said barrier.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Rothbart won't lift the curse unless Odette marries him.
  • Insufferable Genius: Lord Rogers.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Odette.
    • Well, except in the second movie, since Puffin can't fly due to an injury he suffered early in the movie, Odette asks to be turned into a swan so she can fly to where Derek is and save him from being killed by a guy working for the Big Bad.
  • I Owe You My Life: After she takes the arrow out of his wing, Lt. Puffin vows service to Odette.
  • Ironic Nickname: Speed, the turtle. Subverted. While Speed is pokey on land, he's a blindingly fast swimmer.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jean-Bob, definitely. He may be pompous and delusional, but he has a good heart deep down.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Subverted for the second movie. Parts I and III came to DVD in 2004, but fans had to wait five years to get the installment that came in between.
  • Large Ham: Rothbart.
  • Lovable Coward: Bromley, and to a lesser extent, Jean-Bob; both come through when push comes to shove, however.
  • Missing Mom: Odette's mother is never seen. The only mention we get of her is the phrase "and to him a daughter was born", so she may have died during the birth.
  • Mistaken Declaration of Love: Rothbart disguises his henchwoman as Odette so Derek will do this.
  • Mythology Gag: At least one of the sequels refers to the lake outside Derek's and Odette's castle (originally Rothbart's) as Swan Lake.
  • Never Say "Die": It's implied everyone believes Odette was killed, but they only ever refer to her as being "gone" or "not coming back". Averted with Rothbart, who flat out says she'll die if Derek makes the vow to someone else.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: the trailer of Swan Princess 3 shows Roger falling from a spatial height towards the Earth, implying that something of epic proportion will happen. Sadly, it's just a part of a Disney Acid Sequence.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Odette in the first movie, Jean-Bob and Rothbart.
  • Obviously Evil: You'd think that Derek would notice Bridget's disguise, considering he's known Odette his whole life to dress in white, whereas Bridget is wearing an Obviously Evil red/black outfit.
    • Probably done because in the ballet Odile (the character Bridget replaces) wears a black tutu.
      • And is played by the same ballerina who is cast as Odette.
  • Off-Model: In the third movie, Odette is constantly switching back and forth between wearing a white and green tight dress, a white and green puffy sleeved dress, and a blue palette swap of the latter, all within the same scenes.
  • Talking Animal: Puffin, Speedy and Jean Bob (and technically Odette), though the series is rather inconsistent with this. In the first movie, the three of them can talk to Odette even when she's human, other humans apparently can't understand them nor Odette when she is in swan form. In the second and third movies, however, the animals can all talk freely to anyone.
  • The Other Darrin: Played straight in the sequels, although Odette and Puffin kept their original voices.
  • Panty Shot: The lavender-haired, princess octuplets are all revealed to wear white panties, when they're held upside down and there's a view of them from above at one point during the "Princess on Parade" song.
  • Parental Abandonment: Odette's mother and Derek's father initially; the former's father dies after Rothbart attacks the carriage to kidnap her.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: "Long before they met / Derek and Odette / Were destined to be wedded…"
    • Arguably reasonable, since the two met each other supposedly every year, and had time to get to know each other (unlike many animated couples).
  • The Power of Love: The Curse Escape Clause depends on this.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Toodle-oo!" It doesn't work.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: Jean-Bob with Odette.
  • Quicksand Sucks: In the second movie, while Derek is swinging over a deep pit in a swamp, The Dragon cuts the vine and Derek falls in. The Dragon then just sits and watches as Derek pleads for his life, all the while being swallowed alive by the bog. Fortunately for him, Odette (now in swan form for the time being) shows up and pulls him out just before he can go completely under.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Rothbart's alligators. On the other hand, one of the good guys is a turtle.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Lord Rogers and Queen Uberta, who are also a Beta Couple.
  • Say My Name
  • Shallow Love Interest: Near the beginning of the first movie, Derek calls for wedding arrangements upon seeing how beautiful Odette has become. Odette promptly breaks off their engagement thinking that Derek only wants to marry her because of her beauty. In his own words "Well, what else is there?" He gets better after this.
  • Shout-Out: During Rothbart's Villain Song, he is shown doing one-handed pushups. Rothbart is voiced by Jack Palance, who a few years earlier won the Academy Award for City Slickers, and as a humorous Take That at those who would think he had only won as a consolation for losing his previous two nominations, demonstrated his fitness at the age of 73 by dropping to the floor to do a series of one-handed pushups.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Somewhat Subverted in that the only two we seeing playing are Derek and Bromley, the former, while not stupid, is not the sharpest sword in the armory, and the latter loses while cheating.
  • Species Surname: Lieutenant Puffin. The almost-certainly-not-canon-but-still-extant bonus features on the most recent DVD claim that his parents were so proud of being puffins, they simply named him "Puffin."
  • Stock Footage:
    • Every closeup of Derek and Odette kissing looks exactly the same, except for some changes in the background and/or costumes. This doubles as an Every Episode Ending.
    • Odette often changes from a swan into a human through stock footage.
  • Swans-a-Swimming: Take a guess.
  • This Was Her True Form: Even though Odette doesn't land in the lake after Derek's vow to Bridget starts killing her, she still turns human to share "final" words with Derek.
  • Training Montage: "Practice, Practice, Practice" is a musical number built around this.
  • Transformation Sequence: Odette's back-and-forth transformations, where the water gracefully swirls around her, obscuring her actual change.
  • Villain Song: "No More Mr. Nice Guy" in the first film, "Ya Gotta Love It" in the second, and "Nothing but Bad Days Ahead" in the third.
  • William Telling: This is one of the training methods employed by Prince Derek, only the Plucky Comic Relief shoots the arrow and Derek is supposed to turn and catch it.