Yeah. It’s quite a big but, or should I say there are many buts, so stick with me.
So What’s The Princess About?
I can sum it up in three words: Lots. Of. Fighting. That matches up with part of the synopsis, which is “an action-packed fight”. The action sequences kept coming, and after a while I started to wonder if anything else was going to happen. Let’s just say that if you’re watching the movie for the plot and the plot is fighting, this might be up your alley. To explain why there’s so much fighting, the princess has to save herself–and her kingdom–after they’re all held captive by an angry, power-hungry sociopath who wants the throne, so she has to fight her way out of impossible situations over and over again. Oh, and she was supposed to marry him, but she backed out at the last minute, which is why he’s extra angry.
What’s the Great Potential I’m Talking About?
Okay, a little bit on my movie preferences. I like action movies as much as the next person, though in between the action, I prefer that there’s a little substance behind it as well. I guess you could say that I’m a “why” person, and I love finding out character motivations. Let’s just say none of my questions were answered, so I was left feeling disappointed, confused, and dissatisfied at the end of the movie. And I really, really wanted to like it too, because based on the characters they had included, it could have been this epic heck of a story, familiar as the premise is where a princess rises up, takes up the mantle, and saves the whole kingdom.
The characters were watered down into their very basic archetypes instead. As such, I felt like I was almost watching a documentary or lecture on Character Archetypes 101. It’s more informative than entertaining at this point, and before you go into it blind, you might want a brief introduction to some of the main characters–sorry, their archetypes–here.
1) The Hero/The Warrior; in this case, The Princess
Played by Emmy Award® nominee Joey King (The Act, The Kissing Booth).
Having not seen her in anything else, I do think that Joey King did a great job bringing the strong-willed, badass princess to life. In fact, she gives me Khaleesi vibes (which, incidentally, is the only character I vaguely know and have heard from Game of Thrones, because I’ve never watched a single episode at all). But back to The Princess. As a warrior princess, she could have been so much more, but the movie unfortunately reduced her to a skilful fighter and nothing more than that. Maybe a slightly ambitious, responsible (or irresponsible, depending on how you look at it) princess, but that’s it. I liked seeing her in action, but I wish there was more backstory to better understand why she did the things she did. I mean, we don’t even learn her name, and it wouldn’t have been a problem if the character was better developed, but no dice.
2) The Mentor
Played by Veronica Ngo (The Old Guard).
There’s enough of this character for me to glean that she’s the mentor figure of the princess, but not enough to see the impact she has on her mentee. She’s there when needed, but to me it feels a little abrupt and haphazard, sometimes almost like an afterthought after someone came to a realisation. Sure, she spouts some words of wisdom (?) occasionally, but even those seem vague, and if I’m being completely honest, it’s more frustrating than anything else because it doesn’t seem like this character is actually being helpful. And because there isn’t enough backstory, I don’t understand the bond between her and the princess either.
3) The Villain
Played by Dominic Cooper (Preacher)
I’ve seen him in Mamma Mia and Agent Carter, both of which I absolutely loved, and I was intrigued to see how he’d play the role of the villain. I think he was suitably unhinged and intense, but again, there’s a lack of motivation to his actions. All we know is he wants to marry the princess to secure the throne “rightfully”, and he insists on marrying her even though he definitely has the power to take the throne by force. So he operates by some sort of principle, but we never do find out why. That also begs the question, where does he come from, and what made him so power-hungry? He also has this crazy, torture-loving side chick person at his side at all times, and I still can’t for the life of me figure out her role in the movie. As she was played by Olga Kurylenko (Black Widow), I was excited to see what she would bring, but I was left feeling empty.
There are a couple of other characters that may seem familiar to you like the king (The Ruler archetype) and the princess’ younger sister (The Innocent archetype), but I don’t think there’s much to say. There’s also some characters I felt were redundant, but 🤷🏻♀️
- Action ✅
- Some banter ✅
- Self-discovery journey, maybe ✅
- Adequate backstory ✅
- Reasonable character arcs ✅
- Action (FIIIIIGHT!) ✅
- Most of everything else ❌
I wish I liked it more but I don’t, so I’m going to wrap it up here. Then again, this is one person’s opinion, so don’t let it stop you from giving it a go, unless you think your movie preferences are similar to mine. Oh, and I guess one other thing I could get with was the music. It’s pretty poppy and the composer for the movie is Natalie Holt, who also composed the music for Loki. You can catch The Princess on Disney+ Hotstar starting 29th July 2022 (Friday)! But first, the trailer:
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