The Swan Princess

Details At A Glance

Category Animation Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Other Trailer(s) 1
Running Time 86 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras None
Region 4    
Distributor Columbia Tristar    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Dolby Digital No
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles English 

Plot Synopsis

    Loosely based on the fairy tale Swan Lake, The Swan Princess is the animated musical story of Prince Derek and Princess Odette, the children of Queen Uberta and King William, who are the apparently single rulers of their respective kingdoms. Their parents are keen for Prince Derek and Princess Odette to marry, and hence ensure that the two of them spend a lot of time together in their youth. Fairly predictably, they cannot stand each other, until their hormones kick in and they fall in love (though Derek can't admit to it just yet). Rothbart, a nasty wizard, then steps in to ruin things. (Rothbart was banished early on in the piece for attempting to capture King William's kingdom). He kidnaps Princess Odette, and takes her to a far away land where he casts a spell on her, such that she is a swan by day and herself by moonlight. Every night, he proposes marriage to Princess Odette, who declines (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em appears to be his philosophy).

    Prince Derek now decides to head off on an expedition to find Princess Odette. Prior to this point, he had been in training to improve his archery skills. At the same time, Princess Odette sets off on an expedition to find Prince Derek, having found a map with the help of some friends she has met. Needless to say, they find each other, and make a promise to meet at a ball that Prince Derek's mother (Queen Uberta) is giving where Prince Derek will declare his undying love for Princess Odette. Unfortunately, Rothbart finds out about this plan, and detains Princess Odette, sending an old hag disguised as Princess Odette in her place.

    Prince Derek duly declares his love for the hag disguised as Princess Odette, which causes Princess Odette to begin dying. When the Prince discovers that he has been duped, he gets really annoyed and stomps off again to find Rothbart, whom he finds and kills (being the climax battle scene it takes a while and a few twists and turns before Rothbart is dead). He then finds Princess Odette, kisses and makes up, and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, maybe not the frog.

    The characters and music are more than reminiscent of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, even down to a pompous French frog (Jean-Bob, voiced by John Cleese) and his slow Turtle friend Speed. Unfortunately, the songs aren't that good, aren't that well integrated integrated into the story, and aren't that well sung either.

Transfer Quality


    As with all Columbia Tristar DVDs, the picture quality of this DVD is of a very high standard. This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. Colours were bright, clear and well-saturated throughout, as you would expect an animated feature to be. I noticed a few film artefacts here and there, which were more bothersome than usual, probably because I am so used to near perfection with the Columbia Tristar releases, but no major problems. There were no visible MPEG artefacts that I could see.


The audio was crisp and clear 4 channel matrix sound. Dialogue was always clear and intelligible There was only average use of the surrounds in the more dramatic scenes, but you really couldn't do much more than this with the sound. There were no specific audio problems.


There are no extras on this disc, just the standard Columbia Tristar teaser trailer.


This is one of the first animated releases to DVD, and hence the quality of the transfer is of particular interest. It has been said that animation does not transfer well to DVD, but this DVD well-and-truly disproves that theory. This would be a good DVD to keep the kids amused until Disney release some of their library. The only criticism I have of this DVD is that the characters and music are too much like Beauty and The Beast - your kids won't mind, though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

Michael Demtschyna
1st September 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder AMC AV-81HT Prologic/THX decoder. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer