Written and directed by Ross Venokur, ‘Charming,’ is a CGI animated film produced by Vanguard Animation in 2018 and was released in the United States in 2020 on Netflix.
Prince Philippe Charming (Wilmer Valderrama) was cursed as a child with being attractive to every woman he encounters after his father the King (Jim Cummings) breaks-up with an evil sorceress Nemeny Neverwish (Nia Vardalos). If the curse is not broken by true love’s kiss by his 21st birthday, the kingdom will fall into darkness. As a result, Charming ends up engaged to three princesses: the mistrustful Snow White (Avril Lavigne), anemic Sleeping Beauty (G.E.M.), and the fashion-obsessed Cinderella (Ashley Tisdale). The King informs his son that he must travel a gauntlet of heroic challenges to allow him the strength to find true love. The three princesses hire a thief named Lenore (Selina Gomez), who is cursed with a locked heart preventing her from falling in love, to travel with Charming as his guide. Disguising herself as “Lenny,” she takes him on the adventure, but soon grows to see the man beneath the prince’s veneer.
This animated film had an interesting release schedule. Despite being a Canadian production, it was released in Spain, then all of Europe, and then Africa through the year 2018 before being released in the UK in 2019. It finally hit the United States in 2020 via streaming. I found that interesting since, by all accounts, it is not a terrible film, though it has several faults.
The movie’s cast list is impressive. From singers like Sia to comedians John Cleese, it seems they had a great deal of talent lined up for the English version of the movie. Everyone does a good job with the roles they are given. Nothing is extraordinary, but the cast does a decent job in their roles, particularly the main characters Wilmer Valderrama and Selina Gomez.
As for the animation, it is not bad. I would not say that it impressed me but it was competent. I could tell that the original language was not English as the lips of the characters moving did not match their voice actors. That was a little distracting at times as I have seen anime with better dubbing quality than that. On the flip side, I thought the character designs were interesting, especially with how the princesses’ character designs mimicked their looks in other movies that had them as characters. That was funny, I will admit.
Now, the plot did have some hiccups. As Charming and Lenore go through the gauntlet, Lenore decides to tell the prince the truth. They were originally in some sort of mountain forest with traps and then they find themselves in a very conveniently placed village that has a restaurant where Lenore is going to tell him the truth. Also, it was a little convenient that the witch Neverwish cursed both Charming AND Lenore. The latter point came out of nowhere and did little with the plot.
That being said, I actually enjoyed it a bit. Sure, the movie has a few flaws, but it is not bad. It had a heartwarming tale of a prince who does not know what love is and a young woman who cannot let love in. Through their feats, they both find ways to heal one another. Through Lenore’s love, Charming learns how to be a prince. Through Charming’s love, Lenore learns how to be a princess. I find that a good change of pace from a lot of movies today that force a bunch of virtue signaling down your throat.
Bottom line, Charming is a flawed, but fun animated adventure that kids can enjoy with their parents. It has a lot of excellent voice actors and a heartwarming message.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some magical violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: Other nights, I dream of pancakes.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Over The Moon and Pixar’s Soul. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.