Princess Emmy

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Princess Emmy
"The main source of tension here is between the two girls and their one-upmanship is well handled but even older child audiences are likely to find the general lack of any sort of danger a bit of a turn off." | Photo: Kaleidoscope Entertainment

Appearances can be deceptive. At first sight of the pink-saturated design of the latest animation from Piet De Rycker, you wonder if you might get a sugar overdose before the story has even started. Thankfully, this gentle tale of a little girl who can talk to her steeds is considerably less saccharine than it first appears, even if there's nothing here to scare the horses.

Sergio Casci - whose eclectic back catalogue includes everything from horror films The Caller and The Lodge, through episodes of Scottish soap opera River City to kids' series Katie Morag - wastes no time in getting the action going with a quick guide as to Emmy's special ability. We learn the book contains the secret of the horse whispering but that, if it is lost, the gift will also disappear. She's also facing a couple of tests - a mysterious power wants to know if she is worthy of the gift, while her parents also tell her she has 10 days to get in training for a ball. Most testing of all, however, is the arrival of her cousin Gizana, with whom she has a history of squabbling.

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Piet De Rycker has carved a niche for himself in family-friendly animation, including The Little Polar Bear and Laura's Star, which appeals to even the youngest audiences. The same is true of Princess Emmy, which contains a fair share of comic complications but very little in the way of dread. The main source of tension here is between the two girls and their one-upmanship is well handled but even older child audiences are likely to find the general lack of any sort of danger a bit of a turn off.

Still, the characters are fun, including a pompous teacher who aims to teach them deportment and a castle ghost (voiced by Tim McInnery), who while not necessary at all to the storyline, has a couple of nice moments.

The voice cast are better than average for this sort of film and it's nice to hear a northern accent for a heroine, courtesy of Ruby Barnhill (The BFG). Bella Ramsey (Game Of Thrones) pops up as Gizana and several other European nations are represented across the cast, including Scot John Hannah as the voice of Emmy's dad and German star Franka Potente as her mum. Despite its lack of adventure, Princess Emmy is likeable enough and the story goes at the gallop.

Reviewed on: 25 Aug 2019
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Princess Emmy packshot
A young princess with a secret gift is put to the test.

Director: Piet De Rycker

Writer: Sergio Casci

Starring: Franka Potente, John Hannah, Bella Ramsey, Ruby Barnhill, Franka Potente, John Hannah, Bella Ramsey, Ruby Barnhill

Year: 2018

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: Germany, Belgium, UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2018

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If you like this, try:

Laura's Star