Lionsgate // 2013 // 73 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // September 8th, 2013
Starring in their first enchanted movie!
The Princess Twins of Legendale offers a story cobbled together from well-known tropes of children's films and tales. There's a baby stolen in the night, a daughter who wants to go to "a whole new world" with a father who only wants to keep her safe but instead pushes her to leave home, and marrying for love versus duty. These are but a few examples; however, they're enough to convey the point, which is this film works because it evokes those recognizable elements.
The basic plot involves the titular characters, Princess Dawn and Princess Eve (both Lelania Lindberg), born to King Solter (Garry Chalk) of the Day World and his commoner wife Luna (Nicole Oliver) from the Night World. The twins grow up apart and inevitably discover each other and the other world they've only heard whispers about until now. Of course there's an evil villain conspiring to possess the worlds' power for herself and the twins must work together to stop her, or else no one will get a happily ever after.
The film tends to follow a pretty well-structured fairytale story line without straying off the path of the expected. However, The Princess Twins of Legendale should be commended for trying something new in the area of narration. When we delve into the all-too-common exposition portions the picture transforms into a really beautiful stylized 2-D animation which reminds me of a Katsushika Hokusai painting. And when we're back in the main part of the story the picture returns to the somewhat generic 3-D computer animation that populates children's animated films today, at least as far as the direct-to-DVD market goes.
Aiding in the telling of the tale are a handful of musical numbers that are low-key and designed to enhance our understanding of the characters as opposed to being densely packed theatrical set pieces. Overall, The Princess Twins of Legendale offers up enough of what we've come to expect from fairytale stories that little ones enamored with the genre will likely enjoy watching. Those who are sick of princesses, fairies, and musical numbers should stay away.
As far as the standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer goes, I would love to watch the entire film in the 2D animation as I enjoyed the tones, the richness, and the stylization of the palette far more. The 3-D computer animation's strongest feature is the sparkle within, both in terms of the actual animation and the ability to hold color well. Otherwise I found the blacks to be too dark at times, especially during the night scenes, and the overall picture quality to lack a lot of the fluidity, textures, and shading of theatrically released offerings in the genre. The audio track is simply Dolby 2.0 Stereo backing up the low key songs and soft score. Some of the sound effects had a rather discordant echo to them while some sounded as if they were isolated on their own track. Overall not my favorite mix but it was serviceable.
As far as special features go if you're a fan of the "Bratz" franchise you'll be delighted to hear there are a handful of "Bratzillas" webisodes. I personally was disappointed to find out they had nothing to do with Godzilla but they were well enough contained that prior franchise knowledge is unnecessary.
If you have little ones who are fans of the Disney Princesses, Barbie, or Bratz franchises then The Princess Twins of Legendale could be a worthwhile addition to your collection. The film is meant to start its own franchise and, while it does borrow from many of its predecessors, it is tweaked enough to offer genuine entertainment on its own.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 73 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes