The Swan Princess Has a Live-Action Concept Trailer

Yesterday was November 18th, which was dubbed National Princess Day in 2017 in honor of the anniversary of The Swan Princess. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this underrated classic, the filmmakers got together to create a concept trailer that would give its fans an idea of what a live-action remake might look like. Don't get too excited though. There are no concrete plans for a live-action "Swan Lake" adaptation as far as we know. The team behind The Swan Princess is extremely enthusiastic about the film, even 25 years later and are looking into every avenue they can find to keep its legacy going. Earlier this year, they released the ninth sequel in The Swan Princess franchise and are currently working on the tenth. Executive Producer Seldon Young is eager to keep the fandom going through any means possible. Yesterday, he released this concept trailer for a live-action remake in the hopes that it might attract enough interest to set such a project into motion.

Just like the famous line from the 1994 animated classic, this trailer is not what it seems. It is likely to stir up of confusion among some fans who may assume that this is an actual movie that is coming out at a future date. Though that is the filmmakers' end goal, unless they get the proper backing, it may be far longer than forever before it shows up in theaters. Now that Disney owns both Anastasia and Thumbelina, The Swan Princess is the last popular animated princess movie from the '90s that is still run by an independent franchise (although Sony is their parent company). Such an expensive project might not work well without crowd sourcing, which is something that Don Bluth has effectively used in recent years. I personally don't think that this concept trailer reflects the production values that would be necessary for a suitable remake of such an enchanting movie. If they plan to do a remake that competes with Disney, I would expect all of the animals int he movie to look photo real.

The majority of the trailer focuses on Prince Derek as he searches through the woods for the missing Princess Odette. I personally think focusing on Derek is a mistake. He is usually the butt of people's jokes thanks to his ignorant like "What else is there?" when Odette asks him if beauty is all that matters to him. In this teaser, we see only a glimpse of Odette at the end as she transforms from a swan into her human form on the lake. I know how passionate the filmmakers are about this project, but I felt that the actors they chose don't do a very good job of reflecting the characters from the original film. I always assumed that Odette and Derek were somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20, but the ones in this teaser look like they are in their late 20s or early 30s. Though these are not the same actors they would use if the movie actually got picked up, the visual representation of them is still a concern. Their outfits also look like mediocre cosplay attempts with Odette's dress missing some of its most iconic elements from the animation. However, I did like the inclusion of Odette's locket that Derek finds in the woods, which creates just the right touch of nostalgia.

In general, I find that live-action transformation sequences are not nearly as magical as their animated counterparts. The 1950 transformation sequence from Disney's Cinderella is one of the most famous and breathtaking animation excerpts ever made. On the contrary, the 2015 live-action version makes it look like she enters an awkward computer-generated void where the dress digitally forms around her before she returns to the real world. Likewise, the unforgettable transformation sequence from the original Swan Princess portrays paper-thin razors of water that swirl around Odette in luminescent shades of yellow and lavender as she morphs back into original body. Conversely, the live-action concept trailer uses particle effects of droplets that rise into the air like a screen as Odette transforms behind them. Though the result is the same, some of the magic is lost here. Hopefully, the visual effects artists would find a better way to do this if the movie actually gets picked up. Don't even get me started on those creepy Jim Henson nightmare fuel representations of Jean-Bob and Speed.

In the end, the live-action concept teaser trailer for The Swan Princess must be taken at face value. It is only an attempt to get people talking and stir up interest in the project. Do we really need a live-action remake of The Swan Princess? My answer is the same as I would give about most live-action remakes and sequels, which is a resounding no. If it's done right, though, it would be nice to see a more modern take on the "Swan Lake" fairy tale. I only hope that the costumes, scenery, and visual effects would have more time and energy placed into them than what we see reflected in this teaser trailer. To be honest, I'd rather see a live-action remake of the original movie than a tenth CGI sequel.


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