Nadiya DorofeevaOleksiy Zavhorodniy...
In 1 Cinema
Let’s say you love pizza and have been craving it for a long time. You finally decide to try this new pizza place and with the first bite, it’s amazing. It’s everything you ever wanted, everything you have been longing for, just delicious. With the second bite, there is a weird taste. It takes you a while to recognize it, but it’s pineapple, and like every sane person who does not think pineapple should go on pizza, you are shattered. The pizza was so good at the beginning, if only it had continued that way. Exactly the sentiment we felt while watching The Stolen Princess.
The animated Ukrainian film is about Mila, a rebellious princess who does not want to get married to the many suitors her father, the king, brings for her. Mila wants to live a more adventurous life. She escapes the castle when her father declares she must get married, and ends up meeting Ruslan, a third-grade actor who has always dreamed of becoming a knight. After he rescues her from gangsters, they spend a magical adventurous night together. When Mila is kidnapped by evil sorcerer Chornomor, supposed to only exist in fairytales, Ruslan sets out on a quest to find her.
Now let’s break it down.
The film begins with the backstory of Chornomor, and then moves to Mila’s struggle with her father. There, the dialogue is so conversational, representative of the never-ending struggle between protective fathers and rebellious daughters; it showed that Mila is no ordinary princess. The film gets major points for that; Mila is kicking and punching every bad guy whenever she gets the chance and even gives Chornomor a run for his money. She is no helpless Cinderella or fragile Snow white, which is majorly important to stop the whole gender stereotype reinforcing wheel.
The scenes of the night Mila and Ruslan spent together are probably the best part of the film; the adventures were minor acts but made the audience want to engage in the adventure, and the songs chosen for those scenes was perfect.
The only downside to the love story is that they literally met less than 24 hours before, which made the whole “I can’t live without her” and “I know Ruslan will save me” seem kind of silly, but maybe children wouldn’t pick up on that. The film was also home to several random characters who tagged along with Ruslan’s journey, making the plot confusing and messy. Indeed, some of these characters were far too ridiculous and much too vaguely presented (without any kind of backstory).
As for the quality of the film’s animation, we have to say that aside from a few off-putting sequences, it was very well done and incredibly engaging. The animators helped us to distinguish its characters and make them relatable.
The Stolen Princess came so close to being great, but ultimately it was mediocre. Even though the film, with a few easy fixes, could have been more than just okay, it wasn’t.