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November 18, 1994

The Swan Princess is a 1994 American animated musical fantasy film based on the ballet "Swan Lake".


King William's (Dakin Matthews) chancellor, Sir Rothbart (Jack Palance), plans to take King William's kingdom for himself by mastering a type of dark magic known as The Forbidden Arts. Before he can strike, Rothbart is arrested. Despite calls for his death, King William spares Rothbart's life and banishes him forever. A hateful Rothbart swears revenge on King William and tells him that he will one day get his power back and take everything William owns and loves, but is banished to the evil and dangerous Swan Lake, which he makes his home. King William and his friend, Queen Uberta (Sandy Duncan), make their children, Odette and Derek, meet every summer, hoping that they will fall in love and marry, uniting their two kingdoms. When they meet for the first time, the royal children take an immediate dislike towards each other, but as the years pass they somehow reformed themselves and gradually fall in love.

However, Derek (Howard McGillin) only expresses love for Odette's (Michelle Nicastro) beauty and she and her father leave disappointed. On their journey home, they are ambushed by Rothbart, who is now a sorcerer and transforms into a "Great Animal" with his new powers, kidnapping Odette and fatally injuring William. Derek arrives on the scene and William tells him about the Great Animal ("It's not what it seems"), and that Odette is gone. After searching and finding no sign of Odette, the entire kingdom assumes that she is dead. Uberta encourages her son to find another princess, but Derek is determined to find Odette, believing that she is still alive. Derek and his best friend Bromley (Joel McKinnon Miller) practice hunting every day in preparation to face the Great Animal, with help from Uberta's valet, Lord Rogers (Mark Harelik). Elsewhere, Rothbart is keeping Odette captive at Swan Lake. He has cast a powerful spell that turns Odette into a swan during the day. At night, she can become human temporarily if she is on the lake when the moonlight touches it. Every night, Rothbart asks Odette to marry him so he can rule William's kingdom legally, but she refuses, then the moonlight leaves the lake, and she turns back into a swan. During her captivity, she befriends a turtle named Speed (Steven Wright), a French frog named JeanBob (John Cleese), who claims to be a prince, and an Irish puffin named Lieutenant Puffin (Steve Vinovich).

Puffin and Odette (in her swan form) fly together to find Derek. By chance, they stumble upon Derek in the woods as he is searching for the Great Animal. Derek mistakes Odette for the Great Animal (having deduced that the creature is a shapeshifter), and tries to kill her. The ensuing chase leads Derek to Swan Lake, where he witnesses Odette's change from swan to human when the moon rises. The two share a loving reunion, and Odette tells Derek that to break the spell, he must make a vow of everlasting love and "prove it to the world". Derek invites Odette to the ball at the castle the following night, hoping to declare to the world of his love for her. Derek leaves just as Rothbart arrives and doesn't know the enchanter heard the whole conversation. Rothbart tells Odette that she will never make it to the ball, for there will be "no moon" on that night. Further, Rothbart transforms his cheerful hag sidekick, Bridget, into Odette, hoping to fool Derek to make his vow to the wrong woman, which will kill the real Odette. On the night of the ball, Rothbart imprisons Odette (in swan form) in the dungeon of his castle, along with Bromley, whom he had found in the woods the other night. Bridget, in the form of human Odette, arrives at the ball where she dances with Derek, who is unaware of her true identity.

At Swan Lake, Puffin, Speed, and JeanBob manage to free Odette from the dungeon through a duel with two hungry alligators and she flies to the castle, but is too late. Derek makes the vow to the wrong girl and Rothbart bursts in, revealing to Derek the fake's true form. Realizing his mistake, Derek races after Odette back to Swan Lake, where she finally transforms back into her human form. As Derek holds a dying Odette in his arms, she tells him she loves him before succumbing. A furious Derek confronts Rothbart, demanding he undo the spell. Rothbart transforms into the Great Animal, and a battle ensues with Rothbart overpowering Derek. Odette's animal friends return Derek's bow to him, and Bromley, who has also escaped the dungeon, provides Derek with a single arrow. Derek catches and fires the arrow into the Great Animal's heart, killing him.

A heart-broken Derek confesses his love to Odette, and she revives; the spell on her is broken. Derek and Odette get married and they, along with Rogers, Uberta, King William's servants, Bromley, and the animals move into Rothbart's former castle. Meanwhile, Bridget redeems herself and falls in love with Uberta's lackey, Sir Chamberlain (James Arrington), Puffin becomes the general of an army of swans, Odette kisses Jean-Bob who goes into convulsions but does not turn into a prince, and Odette and Derek live happily ever after.

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