When a peaceful kingdom is menaced by an army of monstrous goblins, a brave and beautiful princess joins forces with a resourceful peasant boy to rescue the noble king and all his people. The lucky pair must battle the evil power of the wicked goblin prince armed only with the gift of song, the miracle of love, and a magical shimmering thread.
Why was it forgotten?: FOREIGN, OBSCURE, AND KIND OF AMATEURISH.
This is the kind of movie you would find on VHS in the 90′s at some hole-in-the-wall mom & pop video store or you rent as a kid on impulse because you’ve never heard of it before. It’s that sort of movie that no one except you has ever heard of and it enraptures you as a youngster and hangs in some corner of your mind throughout the rest of you life.
There’s a lot to like about this movie; the backgrounds look quite lovely, the character designs from the goblins to the animals to even the humans are enchanting, and the world itself is positively magical. It also gets pretty dark and brutal, particularly near the end with the battle between goblins and humans, and even though they’re kind of funny looking, the goblins are made to be a legitimate threat. There’s just something so magical and captivating about these medieval fantasy movies, something that no other genre of animated movie can totally capture.
While there are some good things about this movie there are plenty of bad I regret to say. Firstly, it kind of commits the sin that all adaptations end up committing to save time and pacing by omitting some things that were in the source material. Again, all adaptations do this however this movie kind of omits some key plot elements present in the original novel; including the well explained presence of magic in the world, and some explanations about characters. It might also just be me but I feel like this movie didn’t portion its budget as best as it could; I feel like the most animation goes to the princess, the king, and some of the goblins. They feel like they’re well animated but everyone else just kind of isn’t, there are moments where I feel some characters are animated so choppy and sloppy and I can’t shake that. There isn’t a whole lot of music either. You’d expect a movie like this, during the highpoint of the Disney Renaissance would be a musical but it isn’t. It’s billed like one, it has set ups for songs– but there just aren’t any.
Despite all of that, I’d consider this a worthwhile watch, it’s based on a good novel and it has some historical significance so there’s some fun to be had.
The Princess and the Goblin was the first animated feature from Wales, and the 25th full-length cartoon from Hungary.
The film was produced by the Welsh television station S4C, and the Cardiff-based Siriolstudio, along with Hungary’s Pannonia and Japan's NHK. Costing $10 million, the film teamed producer/screenwriter Robin Lyons with director József Gémes (from 1982’s Heroic Times). Most of the principal animation was produced at the Siriol facilities
Hemdale Home Video premiered the movie on VHS some time after its theatrical outing. It was released on DVD in August 15, 2005 by Allumination FilmWorks.
The VHS version features information on a child support hotline in which lonely children could call a number displayed on the screen to speak to one of the characters.
There’s probably someone out there who has this movie as a cherished childhood classic that they’ve held near and dear to their heart their entire life; and that’s perfectly cool.