Review: ‘The Wild Swans’

Narrator: Sigourney Weaver.

Narrator: Sigourney Weaver.

In this day of angst-ridden animation focusing on subjects like Beavis and Butt-Head, Ren and Stimpy and Rugrats, “The Wild Swans” brings back classic mysticism and good vs. evil. By wrapping the Hans Christian Andersen tale with strong narration by Sigourney Weaver and a well-paced script by Joshua M. Greene and Marek Buchwald, the show offers kids a healthy dose of pathos and emotion absent from most current junk-food cartoons.

The story tells of a domestic feud between royal stepmother and children that climaxes with the selling of the king’s young daughter, Princess Elise, and the transformation of her brothers into swans, thanks to a spellcooked up by the new queen.

The king is a henpecked powerbroker tightly wrapped around the thumb of the new queen, but the princess perseveres to fight the witchy woman with a little wand-waving of her own.

Fear and hate predominate, but today’s kids can handle a tale of deceit and vengeance.

Production comes from the Klassika Studio in Moscow. The drawing is a bit stiff at times, but colors and animation editing seem to be a specialty. Weaver’s voice changes fluidly and, of course, she can speak the role of the evil stepmother as well as anyone around. Music by Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, with a strong beat, jumps in and out at the right moments.

The Wild Swans

(Tues. (18), 6:30-7 p.m., Disney Channel)

Production

Animated in Moscow by Lightyear Entertainment. Executive producer, Arnold J. Holland; producers, Joshua M. Greene, Igor Kostigin; director, Vladen Barbe.

Crew

Camera, Oleg Kuzovkov; writers, Greene, Marek Buchwald, based on story by Hans Christian Andersen; storyboard, Buchwald, Barbe; music, Rob Hyman, Eric Bazilian.
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