French animator Michel Ocelot brings 4 magical tales together in Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess. Using a combination of colourful backgrounds and silhouette characters, Ocelot’s film tells tales of inspiration and magic. Stories of a girl who can battle monsters, a shape-shifting princess, a special cat who lives on a pirate ship, and a young boy who learns to be a sorcerer, adults and children will be transported to new worlds.
Ocelot certainly tells enchanting tales with Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess, with each short beginning with a girl and boy who meet a projectionist in a movie theatre every night to create their own unique story. While the stories are incredibly unique, the choice in animation does leave a little to be desired. The backgrounds for each scene is beautiful, but the characters are all presented as silhouettes, which starts to get a bit tiring after the second short. Had the film been left as separate short films, it would have been more visually entertaining.
Coming in at just under an hour, each short is briskly paced to tell its story in under 15 minutes. This is great for the younger kids in the audience, but it’s a bit of a shame when some of the stories have something great to say. In particular, the first short, about a young girl who overcomes her fear of monsters to find freedom from her underground world, tells such a wonderful story of overcoming fears and working through failure that it’s a shame it doesn’t last longer.