YMMV / The Swan Princess

  • All Animation Is Disney: Justified because Richard Rich directed the Disney films The Black Cauldron and The Fox and the Hound, and the movie draws heavily on the "Disney Renaissance" style.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • If not for their direct interaction with Derek, one could easily assume that the odd personalities of the animals were all in Odette's head; a coping mechanism for dealing with the loss of her father, lover, and home...
    • On that note, before they're shown talking to non-cursed humans like Derek just fine in the sequels note , one could infer in the first movie that Odette only learned to speak fluent animal after Rothbart's curse turned her into an animal as well.
    • Rogers and Uberta can come off either as a Beta Couple or as a straight woman and her gay, male friend.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Odette is never seen grieving over her dead father but she does a lot of breaking down, which can be assumed to be about the whole gravity of the immense situation she's in, from the death of her father to being cursed. Also, there's no real mention of how much time has passed. Uberta says, "Thinking of her and the way that it was", so possibly a couple of months or even a year could have passed. Maybe Odette had already mourned and now was focused on escape.
    • Odette seems awfully comfortable living in the place that was her prison in the sequels.
    • No one seems to have any problem in the third movie with Odette being resurrected with necromantic black magic. However, it's possible that Derek's reward for destroying the Forbidden Arts is the return of his wife, or that Odette was only magically dead, and destroying the Dark Arts broke the spell. Neither of the latter seems like a reason for angsting.
  • Ass Pull: Whizer mimicking Rothbart's voice to distract Zelda so he can give the heroes some more time. The only time we hear Rothbart himself speaking is in a flashback by Zelda, and there is no way Whizer could have heard it.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Rogers' "She's Gone!" musical number in the third movie.
  • Contested Sequel: The second and third films. On the one hand, they're direct-to-video and feature almost none of the original voice cast (save for Odette and Puffin). But on the other, the plots are at least more original and interesting than many of the Disney DTV sequels. The second devotes a lot of screen time to the entertaining Queen Uberta, while the third features a very charismatic villain and has a surprisingly dark climax. Plus the animation is still pretty consistent across all three films.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Eternity by Dreams Come True. It helps that this is a English cover of a Japanese song featuring the same singer using Surprisingly Good English.
  • Ear Worm: "That's what you do for a friend" from the second movie.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Rogers, Speed, Jean-Bob, Bridget, Wesley and Puffin.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During the opening song, Derek takes out his frustration over the forced betrothal by shooting arrows at a Gonk picture of Odette that he drew. This becomes less amusing after Derek mistakes Odette in her swan form for the Great Animal, and very nearly shoots her for real.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Idiot Plot:
    • If King William had executed Rothbart instead of just letting him go, and Derek hadn't been completely unable to express his feelings in a coherent manner, the first movie would have been over in twelve minutes. The sequels, too, since Rothbart would never have created the orb or the notes that allowed Clavius and Zelda to become serious threats. The idiocy of this decision is so great that the movie's narrator felt a need to lampshade it: "Many felt the king too kind."
    • King William and Queen Uberta's plan to unite their kingdoms rests on bringing their two children together each summer in the hopes that they'll eventually fall in love and consent to tie the knot, instead of just putting the kids through an Arranged Marriage, or even just marrying each other. Uberta is specifically stated to be a widow, and William is presumably a widower since Odette's mother is never seen or mentioned following Odette's birth. If they wanted to unite their kingdoms so badly, they could have just married each other; but hey, then we wouldn't have a plot.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Despite his questionable planning skills, Rothbart tries to be this and nearly succeeds thanks to his efficiency, Jack Palance's voice, and his tendency to look good while doing evil.
  • Memetic Mutation: Derek should write a book: How to offend women in five syllables or less.
  • Narm: The universe repeatedly contriving to turn Odette into a swan again gets more and more absurd as the sequels go on.
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • "No More Mr. Nice Guy", catchy as it is, has a lot of these:
      • "Up 'til now I've pulled my punches/I intend to eat their lunches…"
      • "As soon as my witchcraft has zinged 'em/I'll gain control of the kingdom!"
      • "Odette won't go to the ball cause I won't bring her / So I'll zap up a date who's a real dead ringer."
      • "As for Odette, well that's tragic/ 'Cause I'm goin' back to that old black magic!"
    • The line "What if Odette doesn't go for the merger?/Urge her!" from "This Is My Idea".
    • "This plan if applied'll/Be simply suicidal!" from "No Fear".
    • Also a case of Rhyming with Itself:
    Odette: I haven't packed or washed my hair and Father I get seasick!
    [a few lines later]
    Derek: If you make me kiss her hand again, I swear I'm gonna be sick!"
  • Special Effects Failure: In some shots, the edges of the frame cells are clearly visible, with some copies showing nearly a full frame cell intruding on Rothbart's musical number.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Despite a brief suggestion that Derek developed a crush on Odette in their teen years, the two young adults dread the very thought of getting married and have to be physically forced into the same room together. At this point, they share a single look and suddenly decide they're meant to be.
  • Tainted by the Preview: If the timing of The Swan Princess Christmas (14 years after the end of the trilogy and two years after the death of Odette's original speaking voice) didn't already make it bad enough, the trailer's cheap animation and writing quality cinch it.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Each of the first three movies end with Derek and/or Odette saying something sappy, then kissing in closeup (through Stock Footage, no less). From the third movie:
    Odette: Promise me, Derek. There's no more magic in the castle?
    Derek: I can't do that. So long as you're here, Odette, there will always be magic.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Derek and Odette grow up together with a "girls have cooties/boys are gross" attitude, and when they both become adults, Derek falls in love with her for her beauty alone, something which Odette notices and refuses to marry Derek for. This could have made for a much more engaging moral about not marrying for looks alone and to fall in love because you love her personality, but that plot point is simply thrown away and the two suddenly "truly" fall in love with each other.
  • Ugly Cute: Odette, during her preteen "ugly duckling" years. She had Girlish Pigtails, Youthful Freckles, and dressed in a hideous orange tunic... but also had large, deep blue eyes, a beautiful voice, and more often than not seemed to be sad.
  • Uncanny Valley: The fourth and fifth films, entirely made in CGI, are full of examples.
  • What an Idiot: The first film would be shorter if the lovers didn't each hold the Idiot Ball.
    • Odette, in her swan form, has to steal a map from inside Rothbart's castle to tell where she is when she could just fly and get an idea that way. She wants to make sure that she knows where she's going and how to get back - it's only by being at the lake that she can turn back into a human. We were never given any indication that Odette was familiar with where Rothbart had taken her. She was in Derek's kingdom with her father when Rothbart had attacked. She's spent most of her summers visiting Derek but that doesn't mean she'd know every square inch of the land. Despite all this, stealing the bad guy's map is a surefire way to get his attention.
    • Derek has a couple of these:
      • During the ball, he falls for an Odette dupe who is dressed in black. (In the ballet version of this story, this is justified as the lovers have only just met, but here they've known each other for years and she usually wears white.) It's been observed that while Derek isn't a total moron, he's not exactly the most quick witted individual. He did note that the Odette impostor seemed a little different than how Odette usually is, but Bridget's acting and composure as Odette was near flawless. Besides, she was probably pandering to Derek's ego by the way she was hanging on his shoulder and smiling vapidly as he was making his vow. Derek was too in the moment to really notice the change because it seemed too good to be true. You'd think a prince-a future ruler-would have heard the saying "if it's too good to be true, then it probably is." In the third film, he falls for an Odette dupe again. It's even lampshaded by Zelda.
      • For that matter, when Derek tells Odette to go the ball his mother is hosting and there he'd make the vow of everlasting love...he doesn't make sure that she has a way to get to said ball and without the very dangerous sorcerer who not only cursed her but killed her father from finding out. Granted, this plot hole is still present in the original ballet either but still...
    • In the third film while Wizzer has Zelda distracted, Derek apparently thinks it's a good idea to shout her name and then attack her as opposed to snatching the wand away and breaking it while she was distracted.