The Swan Princess Lasted Far Longer Than Forever, But It's Over Now

The twelfth and final installment in The Swan Princess franchise was aptly titled Far Longer Than Forever in tribute to the romance theme from the original film. As some fans have pointed out, the title accurately represents how long the filmmakers have been milking the series for almost 30 years with one awful sequel after another. Some of the later sequels had potential, but this movie did not do them any favors as a finale. Written as a direct follow-up to A FairyTale Is Born, the eleventh film in the series, Far Longer Than Forever ties up some loose ends after a tedious and forgettable journey that fails to acknowledge many characters and plot points that had been introduced over the course of the other eleven movies. Despite the obvious nod to the famous song that this latest installment uses as its title, A FairyTale Is Born seemed more suitable as a conclusion because it contained more tributes to the original film.

Far Longer Than Forever makes the mistake of focusing on the past instead of the future despite presenting itself as the ending note for the entire series. Now that Odette and Derek have come of age as Queen and King of Chamberg, future adventures in this magical fairy tale world should divert to Alise, their adopted daughter, who is the only princess left in the series. However, neither Alise nor Lucas, her betrothed, were seen or mentioned in this final movie even during a pivotal scene at the end in which the entire royal family is formally introduced to a key character. If Alise represents the future of the kingdom, it makes no sense not to include her in the final movie even if it's only for that one scene. The movie also conveniently fails to acknowledge that Queen Uberta was supposed to remarry at some point after Lord Rogers accepted her proposal in the seventh film. I had assumed that they had gotten married at some point since so much time had passed since then. Instead, this movie focuses on the mysterious disappearance of Derek's father, who was newly addressed in the eleventh installment, and proceeds to drag the investigation for almost the entire runtime.

When A FairyTale Is Born was released earlier this year, I acknowledged that King Maximilian was an interesting character with an engaging backstory. However, the few gems that were dropped about him in that movie were not enough to carry the drudgery of Far Longer Than Forever long enough to give the predictable resolution as big of an emotional impact as the writers intended. Most of the movie portrays Odette and Derek traveling around the kingdom in ridiculous disguises and talking to people to try to learn as much information as they can about Maximilian's whereabouts. The revelations that they discovered could have been presented in a more compelling way if the movie had used flashbacks showing us Maximilian's past like its predecessor did instead of telling us about it from bystanders. Showing one ridiculous interrogation after another performed by Odette, Derek, and Rogers in whacky disguises simply does not work as a storytelling device. I was bored and had trouble paying attention, so I can only imagine how confused the intended audience probably was. Do children even remember the original Swan Princess these days?

There are so many reasons that Far Longer Than Forever fails as a satisfying resolution to the twelve-movie Swan Princess franchise that I don't even know where to begin. By focusing so heavily on a character that was only introduced earlier this year, the film fails to acknowledge its roots as an animated adaptation of "Swan Lake" or the many other threads that had been developed over nearly 30 years of sequels. Some of these include Alise's future as the adopted daughter of Odette and Derek, Uberta's betrothal to Lord Rogers, or the dark arts that turned Odette into a swan in the original trilogy of films. The title makes little sense anymore because Odette has become a swan in over twenty years. The film uses easy shortcuts to create a contrived plot, cheap attempts at humor, and the same hideous animation that was introduced when the franchise went from 2D to 3D animation in 2012 with The Swan Princess Christmas. Only the last fifteen minutes of this movie are worth watching, but even then it fails to provide a proper conclusion to the series as a whole.

The twelfth and final installment in The Swan Princess franchise falls short of being a satisfactory conclusion. Despite its nod to the original film's romantic theme, this movie, like its predecessors, fails to acknowledge and tie up many other characters and plot points introduced over the course of the eleven previous movies. Instead of projecting the future of Odette and Derek's kingdom, the film dwells too much on the past, missing the opportunity to shift the focus toward the next generation, represented by Alise. The exclusion of Alise and Lucas, as well as the neglect of established storylines such as Queen Uberta's betrothal, leaves the audience questioning the direction of the series. Moreover, the excessive use of contrived plot devices, lackluster animation, and tedious narrative progression detract from the potential impact of a predictable resolution. In its attempt to tie up loose ends, Far Longer Than Forever misses the mark by disregarding the elements that made the original film engaging in the first place. Overall, it provides an unsatisfying end to the series, failing to deliver the proper conclusion that fans anticipated.


JP said…

Here is a website where we can send this to Sony Pictures to petition a campaign to give Alise her own movie and/or series don’t you agree?

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