This is the classic story of the young boy Aladdin who is tricked by and evil wizard to go inside the cave that holds a great treasure and there is an old lamp that he needs to bring to him... See full summary »
The hero, Prince Siegfried, is out riding one day with his friends when he spies amidst swans on a lake a particularly eye-catching one with a crown on its head, the familiar Princess Odette. The princess is charmed by an evil wizard Rothbart who is crazy about marrying Odette. Handsome Prince Siegfried together with two merry squirrels struggle to defeat the evil wizard to complete this classic fairy tales. The movie features original Tschaikovsky music.Written by
Has two different existing English-translated versions. On DVD, both are only available for purchase online in bootleg-copy formats, as there was never an official American DVD release for either. On VHS, one of the English-translated versions was released in America officially, but still has a reputation for being very hard to find, at least in its original form (not a bootleg copy.) See more »
Oh, Hans. Isn't she beautiful?
[he runs up to Margarita]
Did you say something to me, Margarita?
I'm talking about that swan with the crown.
Isn't she just magnificent?
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Beautiful, captivating and heartfelt-almost like a dream come true!
I grew up loving the immortal, timeless story of "Swan Lake" and I still love it to this day. I also adore the ballet by Tchaikovsky, that is just as magical and as enchanting as the story it is based upon. Then there are two movie versions that I saw, one was the 1994 film "The Swan Princess" by Richard Rich, while charming and a childhood favourite it isn't the Swan Lake that I love. Then there is this 1981 anime, which follows the story more closely while putting its own spin on it. The result is a beautiful, captivating and heartfelt film, that while it has its minor fault is definitely better than "Swan Princess".
I really do need to mention the beautiful artwork of "Swan Lake". This film, like Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (also based upon the fairytale and another one of Tchaikovsky's ballets) does have a gorgeous stylised look, with convincing character features, breathtaking background art and lavish colours. There are stunning images of Odette in swan and human form and the haunting images of Rothbart's castle. In regards to the lip-synching, it was good in most parts but there were other parts where it was sloppy. While Odette's monologue about where she came from and how she came to meet Rothbart was beautifully written and sad, the lip synching was a lot of the time behind the speaking so it was a little distracting.
Tchaikovsky's music as always is absolutely outstanding, I heartily concur with the reviewer who said that it is the heart and soul of the film,for me it is by far the best asset of the film, and the main reason why I wanted to see it. Of course it is quite melancholy, but it is also enchanting, charming and haunting. So many standouts, including the adorable Dance of the Baby Swans, the heart-rending finale and the beautiful and haunting Pas De Deux(here done as Siegfried following Odette in a very effective scene). But I would also like to give special mention to the music accompanying the scene where Siegfried meets Odette for the first time in swan form, it is so gorgeous and really adds to the atmosphere.
I have already said how good the story is, and I also thought the dialogue was not at all bad. I particularly loved Odile calling Siegfried "a dreamboat on wheels", and Rothbart's dialogue in the climax is delicious. It avoided being clichéd which was gratifying, as much as I like "Swan Princess" some of the dialogue is clichéd there.
I also love the characters, and the voice acting was strong. The Media Home Video dubbing is indeed awful, but the one I am more familiar with and much prefer is the Samuel Goldwyn Co. one. This is more superior, because it suits the dark, enchanting and sombre tone of the film better. Christopher Atkins is appealing as Siegfried, and portrays him as handsome, headstrong and somewhat naive. Odette isn't the feisty and vivacious woman she is in "Swan Princess", instead she is beautiful and pure yet fragile and delicate. Pam Dawber brought some vulnerability into Odette, and it worked wonders. Kay Lenz is brilliant as Odile, who is possibly my favourite character, because she is so cool and seductive. And David Hemmings positively relishes the role of Rothbart; instead of the really sinister and imposing villain he is in the ballet or the threatening yet humorous one he is in "Swan Princess" he is a bit of both here. His climax scene see him at his most frightening, and his scenes with Odile, which accentuates his flaws as awkward and reluctant to hurt Odette because he does genuinely love her border on hysterical. Then there are the squirrels Hans and Margherita, who are both engaging and don't interrupt the flow of the story too much.
In conclusion, this is a brilliant anime, that I recommend strongly. If you love anime or if you love the music of Tchaikovsky, I promise you are in for a treat! 9.5/10 Bethany Cox
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