The Swan Princess (25th Anniversary) – Blu-ray Review

The Swan Princess

When Richard Rich left Disney to join NEST, he brought with him all of that Disney experience. But when NEST wanted to create a feature-length film, Rich infused a lot of that Disney experience into The Swan Princess. First of all, the score is very reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast’s music. Lex de Azevedo’s use of horns and in a happy melody is something you hear in Beast’s score.

Also, the film’s original songs bring feelings of Disney songs. Liz Callaway sang as Princess Jasmine in all of the Aladdin sequels. So it only makes sense that she has that voice that screams “Disney”. Be that as it may, the animation itself isn’t close to Disney quality. Simply put, there’s no variation in the thin line animation around the borders of the characters. This style makes it look generic and lifeless.

At least, the animal sidekicks are fun. A lot of that is due to the voice actors behind the characters. John Cleese, Steven Wright, and Steve Vinovich all bring their style and personality to the characters which are fun to watch when everyone is together. Their chemistry with Odette is natural too.

Unfortunately, Odette and Derek aren’t that interesting. The film doesn’t do much to make audiences fall for these characters other than giving them sympathetic romantic situations. That’s usually fine but the film tosses these characters together so quickly that you never get a feel for them. At the same time, Derek is a thinly written character compared to Odette that he doesn’t seem like a person that deserves someone like Odette. He just doesn’t develop throughout the film.

Overall, The Swan Princess is a decent animated musical with several memorable characters to boot. However, several storylines and character development issues simply make this film a generic copy of a Disney film.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 atoms


The Swan Princess - Odette

The Swan Princess hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Because this is a traditional 2D animated film, there isn’t much to talk about in terms of shadows, brightness, and contrast. Everything is pretty much self-contained and accurate to the source footage. In other words, the solid whites are bright and the solid blacks are a deep black. The rest of the solid colors are vibrant. The details are also relatively clear as well. You can see it in the crisp lines in the outline of the characters. However, this clarity also brings out the film grain as well. Overall, picture quality is decent.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms


The Swan Princess hits Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Right from the get-go, you can hear just how immersive this audio mix is. A lot of sound effects playfully and accurately pan through the entire soundstage. Also, the instruments in Lex de Azevedo’s score and the original songs are layered across the soundstage. As boisterous as the mix is, the atmospheric effects are much more subtle. Thankfully, the dialogue is never drowned out in this mix. Overall, the audio mix is great.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

The Swan Princess - Odette, Speed, Jeanbob, and Puffin

The Swan Princess has the following special features on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Looking Back at 25 Years of The Swan Princess
  • The Swan Princess: Making of
  • Sing-Alongs

“Looking Back” recycles vintage behind-the-scenes along with recent interviews. The problem with the featurette is that the audio of some of the recent interviews sounds hollow. Not to mention, director Richard Rich is reading off a script.

“Making of” is a post-feature VHS featurette which also doubles as a company promotional tool. Regardless, the featurette does break down the entire animation process in an easy to digest way. After all, this featurette is aimed towards kids. “Sing-Alongs” are self-explanatory.

Special Features Rating: 2/5 atoms

Overall, The Swan Princess is a decent attempt by an independent animated studio to recreate that Disney magic. However, issues with character development and storytelling ultimately bring this film down. The picture quality is fine but the audio mix is where the real magic is. Unfortunately, the special features leave much to be desired.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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