Monday, March 11, 2024


Damsel works better in concept than in execution. Millie Bobby Brown stars as Elodie, the smart and capable daughter Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone) in a remote region hit hard in recent years. The chance to save the kingdom comes in the form of a marriage proposal for Elodie from Prince Henry (Nick Robinson) and his family (Milo Twomey and Robin Wright) who rule over a realm for more rich than that of Elodie's father. The family accepts the arranged marriage which goes off without a hitch at least until Elodie is thrown into a dragon's lair as tribute to the creature that once ravaged these lands.

What follows is Millie Bobby Brown skulking around caves, exploring, hiding, and screaming, while tearing off small pieces of her princely gowns for survival. The dragon will toy with Elodie long enough for her to come to grips with her situation and formulate a plan.

The script has baked in elements to help Eloise survival in the maze of caves in which she can hide from the dragon, the glowing insects which can cure all manner of injury and help light her way in the dark, and her abundance of clothing that no matter how much she removes, or gets singed by the dragon's fire, remains amazingly in place to keep Brown from showing anything beyond a PG level of skin.

The tag line for the film states "this is not a fairytale." Unfortunately Damsel isn't much of an action movie. While technically a fantasy film, it's not much of one either. Damsel needs to be more. There are several directions the movie could have leaned. It could be more of a horror movie. It could play up the mythology and fantasy elements. It could play up the revenge storyline. It could go grittier, it could go wackier, or it could go far sultrier playing on its beautiful young star. Sadly, Damsel doesn't go strong in any direction leaving it as empty as the caves Elodie wanders through for most of the film.

The fault with Damsel lies more on the script by Dan Mazeau than Brown or her co-stars, although the uninspired directing by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo doesn't do anyone any favors, either. This film has no punch, no spirit, and no pizazz. Damsel is a TV-movie with a high budget that hopes it's likable star and CGI dragon can cover up its wide range of flaws. While passable, the script asks far too much of its dragon (and its star) to save this sinking ship.

When you get to the end of any movie and the story it sets up is immensely more interesting that the story you just boredly sat through, you know you something went horribly wrong. The Princess wasn't a great movie either, but at least it allowed Joey King to be a heroine. Elodie, on the other hand, is a victim. She's the virgin running from the boogeyman in a horror flick who eventually, only out of necessity, stands to fight. There's never a doubt that Elodie is getting out of this situation, but the film limits her hero moments, in favor of screaming and hiding, and then rushes through the a final act that offers far more possibility, and far more interesting themes, than that of poor Elodie running around some caves.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Damsel
  • IMDb: link
  • Title: Damsel
  • IMDb: link

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