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Princess Emmy


Stars: Voices: Ruby Barnhill, Bella Ramsey, Franka Potente, John Hannah, Tim McInnerny, Steve McNicholl, Gabriel Quigley, Clare Waugh

Director: Piet de Rycker

A pastel-coloured and sometimes slow-moving feature cartoon for small girls who like princesses and horses. Emmy (Barnhill, from The BFG) is a princess who lives in a castle built rather precariously on the edge of a concave cliff. And she has a secret talent: she can talk to her stable of horses (and hear them talk back!), thanks to a magic book inherited from her ancestor Carlotta, now only seen in spectral form.

Currently, the harem-scarem Emmy is preparing to be 'introduced' as a princess at the Princess Day ball. for which she must continue to study music, dance and other subjects (the film's a little woolly on royal etiquette), as well as pass 'The Test' (presumably of character). Naturally Emmy would rather be with her horses, even though they prove to be rather a dull bunch.

But her mortal enemy, Princess Gizana (Powley, Lyanna from Game of Thrones), arriving for a visit, is determined to throw a spanner in the works. Getting Emmy turfed out of her room, she also has her eye on the magic book, which has one loose leaf that may hold to the key to, well, everything.

Although sluggish in development, the film does have some striking visuals, notably a nighttime ride when two tiny horses are the only spots of light in the blackness. But it lacks those individual details that can bring a feature animation to life: a cat and mouse are nicely drawn, but too briefly seen. The cartoon work is otherwise fairly rudimentary, and voiceover performances somewhat indifferent, save for McInnerny as the giggling castle ghost.

None of this, of course, will matter to the five-year-old girls at whom the film is aimed.

David Quinlan

Germany/Scotland/Belgium 2018. UK Distributor: Kaleidoscope. Colour (unspecified).
77 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 28 Aug 2019