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‘The Princess’ Movie Review: ‘Rapunzel’ Meets ‘The Raid’ In Joey King’s Refreshing Take On Fairy Tales

Outlook rating
3 / 5

Joey King turns a Disney princess for Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘The Princess’. But it’s not the quintessential fairy tale. Is it worth a watch? Or can it be skipped? Read the full movie review to find out.

Joey King In And As 'The Princess'
Joey King In And As 'The Princess' Instagram

Director

Le-Van Kiet

Cast

Joey King, Dominic Cooper, Olga Kurylenko, Veronica Ngo

What’s The Story

When a beautiful, strong-willed princess (played by Joey King) refuses to wed the cruel sociopath to whom she is betrothed, she is kidnapped and locked in a remote tower of her father's castle. With her scorned, vindictive suitor intent on taking her father's throne, the princess must protect her family and save her kingdom. Will she be able to do that all on her own? Or will a handsome prince charming come in to save the day? Well, you'll have to watch the film to find out.

Watch Trailer

What’s Good

Screenplay Is The King

It's refreshing to see Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton write a fairy tale which doesn’t show the princess as a damsel in distress. In pretty much every other Disney movie, the princess is never shown as a fierce entity and ‘The Princess’ changes exactly that. Here the princess is fighting, not just one or two people, but an entire army.

Le-Van Kiet’s direction ensures that you get a perfect feel of ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘The Raid’. Just like ‘Rapunzel’, she is stuck in a secluded castle tower top, but she defies all obstacles in front of her and she fights her way down the tower just like in ‘The Raid’. Kiet’s visualisation of this fairy tale has an empowering message for young girls who have been conditioned over years to always see princesses as someone who needs saving by the prince charming.

Joey King carries the entire film on her shoulders. Not only does she manage to pull off the look of a Disney princess aptly but she also has put in a lot of effort to perfect the action sequences. She performs hand-to-hand combat sequences and some parkour stunts to sheer perfection. She has tried to break the image of a stereotypical teenage girl – a character she had been playing in pretty much all of her previous films. Here her character arc is strikingly different from what audiences have seen her play before, and that’s what makes her role stand out.

Lorenzo Senatore’s cinematography is commendable. He has managed to shoot some terrific action sequences in stairways and enclosed places, which have come up spectacularly. The sequences, even in such constricted spaces, are very well lit and help bring the feel of that era brilliantly.

Alex Fenn has managed to keep the film crisply edited and at no point does it feel like dragging just for the heck of it.

What’s Bad

Story Is Too Predictable

Despite the screenplay being strikingly different from any other fairy tale, the predictability of what’s going to happen is what kills the movie. After the very first scene of the movie, you know already what’s in store and what’s going to happen at the very end.

Joey King, in the sword fighting sequences, looks a bit awkward. It can be attributed to her short stature, but every time she is either walking or even carrying the sword, it looks a bit too huge for her.

The supporting cast including names like Dominic Cooper, Olga Kurylenko, and Veronica Ngo play characters that are very stereotypical of Disney movies and therefore don’t leave too much room for the actors to experiment and explore.

With ‘The Princess’ being a Disney film and with Natalie Holt as the music composer one was expecting to have some great songs in the film. Disney films are known for them. Sadly, ‘The Princess’ has no songs and even the background score isn’t that memorable.

Verdict

Usually, fairy tales have princesses who are always the damsels in distress. Disney has been showing this to audiences since time immemorial. However, Joey King as ‘The Princess’ tries to break that mould. She brings forth an empowering princess who knows how to fight and defend not just herself but even her kingdom. The movie tries to shatter the patriarchal mindset which is so common in society. The only thing that brings down the presentation majorly is the predictability of the story. Still, it’s a great One-Time Watch. I am going with 3 stars.

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