Film: The Stolen Princess
Cast (Voices): Dan Edwards, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Marc Thompson, Dave Wills, Billy Bob Thompson, Tom Wayland, Jason Griffith, Jake Paque, Abe Goldfarb, Kate Bristol, Andrew Watts
Director: Oleg Malamuzh
Rating: * * * *
Based on an epic poem by Aleksander Pushkin, one of Russia’s greatest poets, ‘The Stolen Princess’ is Ukraine’s first ever animated action adventure which has turned out to be a box office hit there and distributed in India dubbed in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Accustomed to flicks from Disney and other animation corporates as we are, the characters and set pieces might set off a feeling of deja vu. But stop right there. It’s Hollywood that usually cannibalises classical literature (like Pushkin’s 1820 poem) That said, let me add, The Stolen Princess is bound to give Hollywood a run for its money.
Expertly voiced and decently limned against a vividly coloured palette (don’t miss the Indian names as the end credits roll). The Stolen Princess is set in a mythic kingdom (a semi-fictional land in Russian folklore and history) populated by the usual suspects; a royal king, his feisty daughter, knights in shining or tarnished armour, a wicked wizard, zombies, witches, and assortment of adorable birds, hamsters and other animals.
As things turn out, the beautiful princess Lyudmila falls for a charming commoner and is abducted by the aforementioned wizard, named Chornomor, transformed into stone and incarcerated with a number of other beauties who have met the same dastardly fate. Now, the commoner Ruslan who is a poseur, sorry actor (he did pretend he was royal after all) must prove his mettle and rescue his ladylove.
Transiting via a treetrunk (which reminded me of the one in Winnie the Pooh’s Sussex forest) Ruslan and his Sancho Panza-like sidekick encounter a book-loving cat who transforms into a tiger and well, a hilarious and scary fight ensues. This is one of several well-choreographed action set pieces in the film. The second one I thoroughly enjoyed was when Princess Lyudmila fights off a room full of evil pastries. The Princess also has the best (and funniest) lines in this sequence.
Yessiree, she is a role model for women and it seemed to me that it was Ruslan fighting off his competitors, who was in need of rescuing. Your reviewer found him a bit tiresome at first but he grows on one, and when he almost dies trying to save the woman of his dreams, well, how could you not like him? love him? And they all lived happily ever after.