Swedish

11 mars 2024

Review

'DAMSEL' | REVIEW

Shining in some beautifully lit sets & scenes, is Millie B. Brown, the queen herself. However, not even ‘a queen’ can save the ‘DAMSEL’ in distress this time around.

The latest fairy tale to be told comes from Netflix and is titled ‘DAMSEL’. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, ‘DAMSEL’ is not your regular fairytale, it is as the marketing suggests indeed ‘… not a fairytale’. In this atypical yet awe-inspiring story we get to meet princess Elodie (played by Millie B. Brown) as she marries a handsome prince for the better of her people. This far you might think the story sound pretty… typical. But fear not, now is where it goes ‘bazinga’. I don’t think I know how to use that word…

Image courtesy of ©Netflix

After marrying the handsome prince Henry (played by Nick Robinson), Princess Elodie is treated to the regular royal ceremonies together with her family. But everything surrounding her marriage does not seem to be… in her favor. Soon after the wedding Elodie finds herself trapped in a cave with a fire breathing dragon, doing all it she can to escape its claws. How did she end up in the cave and what is it about this royal family/wedding that seems so wrong? You will get all these questions answered when watching the one-hour and 45-minute-long movie.

While ‘DAMSEL’ is a rather conclusive piece of entertainment. (A sequel will most likely not be necessary.) However, there is of course a possibility that it does get made. The ending gave strong Game of Thrones vibes, and it is in contrary to the first 20-30 minutes of the film, much more satisfying. The first part of the film felt somewhat boring and is a real miss according to me.

Image courtesy of ©Netflix

But after an initial slow incline, the film gets better. The story has its moments of epicenes, and Millie B. Brown is fantastic as princess Elodie. But overall, I would still deem the story to ‘not really work’. It should work, the concept of this un-ordinary fairytale is rather interesting. But the execution and overall writing I think is what fails this movie in the end. To many scenes feel un-authentic and there is just something about this film that doesn’t make the story feel sincere.

Nonetheless, the lighting of some scenes look beautiful. However, this is probably, except for the great characters and Millie B. Browns performance, the only positive thing that can be said about this film, (looking at its entirety.) While a lot of the lighting looked fantastic, it did also highlight that many of the set pieces looked a bit plastic-y. Another, thing that made the film’s visual aspects feel false. The score by David Fleming on the other hand, is good and are one of the minor highlights of the film.

Image courtesy of ©Netflix

We can also not forget to mention that Lord & Lady Bayford (princess Elodie’s father & stepmother) exists in this film and are played by Ray Winstone and Angela Bassett respectively. While Basett’s performance was heartwarming at times, it was above fine at best. She did not really get enough screen time to become anything except for a side character. Winstone’s performance of Lord Bayford on the other hand was excellent and he did an amazing job in playing his role authentically. His performance, together with Millie B. Browns portrayal of Elodie is some of the film biggest highlights.

Another, could-have-been, highlight of the film is the writing. It really did not work most of the time, sadly. Some story elements felt like they didn’t make sense or followed the natural laws of the world. While these moments weren’t to frequent, they were still there and will in the end affect our rating of the film. Some character dialogue also felt, un-natural and it did bother me a bit. Perhaps, ‘DAMSEL’ would have been better of as a smaller series, with perhaps three episodes?

Image courtesy of ©Netflix

Amid not having more positives to talk about, it can also be mentioned that the film features many hit-ot-miss effects. Some of the make-up and CGI looked great, I will say that. But other times it looked awkward or, as I said earlier, plastic-y. The design of the fire-breathing-dragon looked, okey I guess? However, it was not my personal favorite dragon design by any means. Although, there were some scenes that looked real disturbing for a non-regular fairytale even. I think the film is rated at PG-13 in Sweden, but either way there were some ‘run-ins’ with the dragon that didn’t end to well for some people. I will leave it at that.

It is, however, hard to let this movie pass by as just another ‘okey’ fantasy tale. ‘DAMSEL’ has a powerful cast, and a fantasy concept that should really work. The final product, however, is somewhat of a disappointment and not ‘magical’ at all. Millie B. Brown does the best job she can with the material she is given. But it is there the problem lies, the material. It is rather weak and does not deliver when needed. While some aspects of the film’s visuals look stunning, the material is what, in the end, drags this film into the dragon’s fiery pit with no possibility of rescue.

Rating: 2/5

Av

Eddie Gustafsson

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