"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 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 three sequels: The Swan Princess II: Escape from Castle Mountain (1997), The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Kingdom (1998), and The Swan Princess Christmas (2012). The first pits them against Rothbart's old partner Clavius, the second against his mentor Zelda, and the third against a resurrected Rothbart. Poor Odette keeps getting turned into a swan and back again the whole way.
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.
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. The fact that the two had actually practiced this move, and apparently did so every day, makes it a lot easier to swallow.
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.
In the fourth film, Rothbart, the villain of the first film returns as the role of the villain.
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).
Odette's initial rejection of Derek's idea to get married was because he was doing it just because she was beautiful and couldn't think of anything else he liked about her. It's not that her beauty was the problem, but Derek's shallowness.
Berserk Button: You do not make Uberta's age sound like a joke at her expense, and you don't ruin her birthday. Clavius found that out the hard way.
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.
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.
Catchphrase: 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?"
Cheaters Never Prosper: In the first movie Bromley tries cheating twice, first while playing chess with Derek, then during the training session with the band, and he still loses both times.
Chekhov's Skill: "Catch and Fire", in which Bromley shoots an arrow at Derek's back and Derek turns around, catches the arrow, and fires it at a different target.
Childhood Friend Romance: As part of their arranged marriage, Derek and Odette spent every summer together from the time they were young children, right up until adulthood. They start off somewhat roughly, due to being, well, kids, and thus not having any real desire to form a romantic attraction, but they do become closer (though begrudgingly so) over time. Bearing this in mind, it does make them falling in love as adults a little more believable than most other animated couples, as they virtually had their entire lives to get to know each other (as opposed to say a single day, like almost every Disney fantasy film).
Also, Speed; he's an old turtle, but wise and heroic.
Puffin, too. He's of particular help to Odette since he's able to accompany her more conveniently than their non-flying friends.
Convection Schmonvection : In the second film, the villain's lair is in a volcano, with a moat of boiling lava surrounding it. The only way to cross the moat is in a small wooden box pulled along by a rope and pulley system-all parts of which should easily have been incinerated within moments of exposure to the heat rising off the lava. Also, at the end there is a great deal of frothing, exploding lava being tossed about-sometimes within millimeters of the heroes, and filling up the space directly below them completely-and none of them get even slightly scorched.
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.
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. Rothbart is sharp enough to build a condition into the first half of this: Odette will die if the vow is subsequently made to another woman...fulfilling the second half can still save the day, but it turns out to require killing Rothbart, aka the Great Animal.
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.
Distressed Damsel: Odette. Notably, while she does require saving, she had previously done everything she could to try and liberate herself or at least get Derek's attention to help free her. While she does need Derek to save her, it's somewhat justified since Rothbart's spell can only be broken either by him or be Derek making a vow of everlasting love to the whole world, so Derek is an integral part in breaking the spell. Odette even basically says if she could break the spell by herself she would.
Also notable is that Odette actively tries to seek out Derek including breaking into Rothbart's castle to steal a map and then flying to Derek's hunting grounds to find him.
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), Barnabé (Bromley).
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.
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.
Faux Affably Evil: Rothbart may be a sadistic Jerkass, but man, does he have style! He never loses his temper (fully) either.
Final Love Duet: "Far Longer Than Forever", the reprise (though it's not sung on-screen).
Specifically, the choreography for "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is... suspiciously similar to Aladdin's "Friend Like Me".
The scene near the end where Derek rides his horse and uses his sword to cut through trees to reach Odette is pretty reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty.
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.
Freudian Excuse: In the sequel Uberta tries to get Clavius to talk about how he was raised and if his parents neglected him. Clavius just wants her to shut up.
Genki Girl: Queen Uberta, so much, despite her old age!
Happily Married: Derek and Odette, at the very end of the first film and in the sequels.
Heel Face Turn: Bridget, Rothbart's hag sidekick at the end of the first movie. Apparently the Chamberlain had something to do with it.
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.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Rothbart's sidekick Bridget is a subversion. She spends most of the film either dealing with the animals or wordlessly supporting Rothbart's decisions, but, when he turns her into an exact copy of Odette (save for a black and red dress) her acting is perfect.
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.
It Only Works Once: Firing an arrow into Rothbart's heart killed him in the first movie, but in the Christmas Special, when Rothbart assumes his One-Winged Angel form again, not even throwing a knife could kill him.
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 Rogers 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.
One trailer for the original movie states that Odette is kidnapped "right before (her and Derek's) wedding", when in the movie their engagement is cancelled.
No Name Given: Rothbart's hag sidekick in the first movie. In the sequels her name is revealed to be Bridget.
Non-Singing Voice: Odette in the first movie, Jean-Bob and Rothbart. Clavius in the sequel, though he does sing in his real voice ove rthe end credits.
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.
And is played by the same ballerina who is cast as Odette.
Off Model: Happens a few times, mostly due to budget constraints.
In the first film, Derek's mouth gets progressively larger and larger. If you're paying attention, he starts to look... odd.
In the third one, 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.
One-Winged Angel: Rothbart's "final boss fight" form is hyped throughout the first film, so for some viewers, it's final reveal was a bit of a Narm moment. He kind of resembles a very large fruitbat.
Overused Running Gag: Puffin's overuse of the phrase, "No Fear!" during the first two movies constantly annoys Jean-Bob, until he finally threatens to tear Puffin's beak off if he says it again.
Running Gag: Uberta's "lip" thing whenever she begins to cry.
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.
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.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Rothbart's alligators. On the other hand, one of the good guys is a turtle, one of the "cute" types of reptiles often excempted from the trope.
Satellite 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".
Women Are Wiser: An odd sort. When Derek and Odette both meet again as young adults, they're equally smitten by how attractive the other has become despite all their time complaining about how immature and annoying the other used to be. When Derek announces he plans to marry Odette just because she's beautiful, Odette could've been called a Hypocrite since Derek's looks helped her forget about his previous brat tendencies completely. However, by asking if beauty was all he cared it about, it showed that while Odette was attracted to Derek's handsomeness she wasn't going to just marry him solely for that one thing, nor was she going to marry someone who could only name her good looks as the only attractive thing about her.
Workaholic: The second movie shows Derek so busy with his royal duties that he and Odette don't have much time for romantic activities, not even on their first anniversary.
Yank the Dog's Chain: A blast from the Forbidden Arts in the second movie turns Jean-Bob into a human prince, but another blast turns him back into a frog. No one he tells this to later believes him.
Youthful Freckles: In an unusually literal example, Odette had freckles◊, for just one summer while she was a tomboy. Once she grew into a more elegant, feminine woman the freckles were gone again.