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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

‘Damsel’ is just OK

A boy and a girl stand next to each other overlooking a valley. Millie Bobby Brown stars as a warrior-princess in her new Netflix film “Damsel.” (Netflix under Fair Use)

Millie Bobby Brown’s newest film “Damsel” was released on Netflix March 8 and has been gaining traction on sites like Letterboxd – with 164,000 logged views on the site since the film’s release.

“Damsel” follows Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown), a princess about to be wed off for money. 

As Elodie begins meeting the royal family of Aurea, she meets Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright) and Prince Henry (Nick Robinson) whom she is to marry. 

The family apparently is cursed, and directly after the marriage, they throw Elodie into a pit where a dragon resides.

The majority of the film follows Elodie trying to escape the dragon and get back to her real family. 

The film is clearly trying to subvert the damsel in distress story arc, where a young princess gets into trouble and a man – usually a prince – comes and saves her. 

This plot, though having some intrigue, is a little played out. 

Films like Disney’s “Brave” do the exact same thing but with higher quality – and “Brave” at least has the main character prove she has the competent skills to escape her problems. 

For even cooler versions of this, many of Studio Ghibli’s movies have similar premises, without the dragons and such of course. “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro” jump to my mind immediately. 

Now, none of this criticism is to say the film is bad, per se. 

I couldn’t say the film does anything substandard or does anything outside of norm. 

Again, not inherently a bad thing, but the film lacks anything to make it special.

Yes, you have Brown acting in the movie which means it’s guaranteed some amount of viewership.

Yes, Angela Bassett has a small role in the film which is honestly a pretty good performance.

And yes, the CGI is starkly different from much of what I have seen before. There is nothing huge – even the dragon is depicted pretty simply – and because of that there is little room for error. Thus, the CGI is not bad and doesn’t have many off moments.

Still, the film is so basic. 

Now, if you don’t approach your movies with a critical eye and just want another thing to watch and then forget, I have no hesitations offering this up as your next watch.

If, instead, you like to find something interesting or new in your films, “Damsel” is not for you.

Another piece of Netflix’s soulless, cookie-cutter content with ham-fisted thematic moments, “Damsel” doesn’t do anything at all.

There’s no emotion. There’s no cinematic experimentation. There’s nothing new.

But, there’s nothing bad at the same time.

The definition of the word “mid,” “Damsel” will be quickly forgotten. 

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