HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
Girl with the Bracelet, The
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
School Spirits
True History of the Kelly Gang
We All Loved Each Other So Much
Within Our Gates
Watcher in the Woods, The
Pink Thief
Born Free
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  Swan Lake True love conquers all
Year: 1981
Director: Kimio Yabuki
Stars: Christopher Atkins, Pam Dawber, Kay Lenz, David Hemmings
Genre: Animated, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Inspired by Tchaikovsky’s great ballet, Swan Lake was one of the last fairytale anime Toei made before the studio scaled back their ambitions and cranked out Dragonball, Sailor Moon and Doraemon features throughout the next twenty years. The film was much admired in Japan, where fans actually stole 2,500 cels during production, and Russia where it won an award at the Moscow Film Festival, but wound up a cult curio in its English dub on the strength of an eclectic cast.

Young Prince Siegfried (Christopher Atkins, from The Blue Lagoon (1980)) is out riding by the lake when he spies a beautiful swan wearing a golden crown. His overzealous huntsman tries to bring back a trophy, but when he takes aim with bow and arrow, an evil-looking owl swoops down and turns him to stone. Watching from the trees, clever squirrels Margarita and Hans know there is magic afoot. Poor Hans is rather miffed, since Margarita is so infatuated with the handsome prince she rejects his proposal of marriage! “Oh Hans, why can’t you be more like Prince Siegfried?” she swoons like a lovestruck teenager.

Siegfried follows the swan to a gloomy castle, where she transforms into lovely Princess Odette (Mork & Mindy’s Pam Dawber) whom, it transpires, is under a spell cast by the wicked magician Rothbart (David Hemmings). By day she’s a swan, by night she’s human, but imprisoned in Rothbart’s creepy lair. The spell may only be broken by the man who proclaims his undying love for Odette at the midnight hour. Smitten, Siegfried vows to do so at the royal ball where he is set to choose a bride, but Rothbart’s daughter Odille (Kay Lenz) learns of this and hatches a devious plan.

It’s a shame Swan Lake isn’t available in a subtitled Japanese version, since Christopher Atkins makes dashing, heroic Prince Siegfried rather more whiny and petulant than the creators intended. Nonetheless, this is an exceptionally handsome anime that benefits from the artistry of veteran Kimio Yabuki, who helmed Toei’s biggest hit The Wonderful World of Puss ’n’ Boots (1969). Pastel hued visuals provide a perfect accompaniment to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score, while Yabuki contrasts good and evil via outstanding character designs and lustrous backdrops: dreamy, mist-veiled lakes and idyllic forests versus dark, misshapen mountains and Rothbart’s eerie, green lair shaped like a demon’s mouth. It’s a beguilingly innocent fairyland sprinkled with Disneyesque touches like a row of ballet-dancing cygnets.

Sixties icon David Hemmings is a real hoot as Rothbart. He glowers magnificently, while Kay Lenz lends a sexy purr to the rather chic Odille (“That Prince Siegfried is a dreamboat on wheels!”). Pam Dawber sounds a little too mature to play a winsome, teenage princess but offers a surprisingly impassioned vocal performance. Stars of the show are undoubtedly the squirrels, Margarita and Hans whose rom-com sparring provides a witty counterpoint to the fairytale romance (Margarita’s response to a compliment: “You know, Hans? Flattery will get you everywhere”). More proactive than your average Disney animal sidekicks, Hans and Margarita emerge as the film’s real heroes, as they foil traps, subdue villains and keep the lovers out of harm’s way. All the while without the human characters understanding a word they’re saying. Makers of Shrek movies take note - they’re also sassy without being obnoxious, as when Hans sets off to rescue Odette. “I’m so proud of you”, says Margarita. Hans replies: “Will you be proud of me when I’m dead?”
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 9497 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: