When a peaceful kingdom is menaced by an army of monstrous goblins, a brave and beautiful princess joins forces with a resourceful peasant boy to rescue the noble king and all his people. The lucky pair must battle the evil power of the wicked goblin prince armed only with the gift of song, the miracle of love, and a magical shimmering thread.
In a mountainous kingdom, the widowed King leaves to attend affairs of state, leaving his beloved daughter, Princess Irene, alone with her nursemaid, Lootie. When Irene is on an outing with Lootie, she runs away on purpose, and Lootie cannot find her. When sun sets, Irene is lost in a sinister forest, and is attacked when a clawed hands bursts through the earth and attempts to seize her kitten, Turnip. Several deformed animals corner the frightened Princess, until a strange singing sounds through the trees, driving them into a fit, and they flee. The singing is revealed to be a young boy, Curdie, the son of a miner. He discovers Irene is lost, and leads her back to the castle. He informs her that the monsters were goblins and their "pets", and that they are driven away by singing. Curdie says that everyone except the King and his family know of the goblins, and Irene reveals she is a Princess.
The next day, Irene goes exploring in the castle after discovering a magical secret door in her bedroom. She ventures into a tower and meets the spirit of her Great Great Grandmother, also called Irene. She informs her that she will be there to help her, for Irene will soon be in grave danger. The same day, Curdie and his father are underground in the mines, and Curdie falls through a pothole and into the realm of the goblins. Hidden, he follows the goblins to a vast cavern where the sniveling Goblin King and the malevolent Goblin Queen are holding an audience, announcing their scheme to flood the mines and drown the "Sun People"... humans. Suddenly, Prince Froglip, the feared yet spoiled and infantile, heir to the goblin throne, announces drowning them is "Not enough!" and states he shall abduct the Princess of the Sun People and marry her, thereby forcing the humans to accept the goblins as their rulers. He claims that this is revenge for the humans exiling the goblins underground centuries beforehand. Before Curdie can run and tell the others, the goblins find him and put him away in a dungeon, but Irene manages to find him with the help of magic string her great great grandmother Irene gave to her. The goblins finally manage to flood the mines and attack the castle, but with the help of Curdie and Irene, the people fight the goblins off and save the kingdom.
At the end of the VHS release (or beginning depending on VHS), a public service announcement would play, with Claire Bloom (as Great Great Grandmother Irene) talking about a support hotline, where lonely children could talk to her, Princess Irene, or Curdie by calling 1-800-994-8363. A Magic Phone Card is also offered.
- Joss Ackland - King Papa, Irene's father
- Claire Bloom - Great Great Grandmother Irene
- Roy Kinnear - Mump. This was Kinnear's final screen role released, following his death on September 20, 1988.
- Sally Ann Marsh - Princess Irene, the princess of the castle and the main protagonist
- Rik Mayall - Prince Froglip, the Goblin Prince and the main antagonist
- Peggy Mount - Goblin Queen, Froglip's mother and the secondary antagonist. This was Mount's final film role.
- Peter Murray - Curdie, a mining warrior boy and the secondary protagonist. (Paul Keating did his singing voice.)
- Victor Spinetti - Glump
- Mollie Sugden - Looti, Irene's nanny
- William Hootkins - Curdie's father
- Robin Lyons - Goblin King, Froglip's father
Differences from the bookEdit
- Irene's meeting with her grandmother took place before meeting with Curdie. In the movie, Irene met Curdie before her grandmother.
- Irene's cut came from handling a brooch in the book. She got scratched by a goblin creature in the movie
- Great-great Grandmother Irene had the ability to change her appearance depending on how old she feels. In the movie, it wasn't shown she can.
- The Goblin Prince is the film's main antagonist, and the Goblin Queen is the secondary antagonist. In the book, the Prince and the Queen are minor characters, and the Prince in the book is somewhat foolish.
- The Goblin Prince in the book is described as being the half-breed child of the Goblin King and a human woman, and the Goblin Queen is his stepmother. In the film, the Prince is entirely goblin and the Queen is his birth mother.
- In the book when Irene took Curdie to see her grandmother, Curdie wasn't able to see Grandmother Irene because he still doubted even though Irene can. In the movie, Grandmother Irene wasn't in her room when Irene and Curdie came in.
- The confrontation against Prince Froglip wasn't in the book.
- In the book, the goblin prince was named Harelip. In the movie, his name was Froglip.
- A blue dinosaur/snail-like creature appeared in the movie, but not in the book.
- Helfer, Glump's son appeared in the book, but not in the movie.
- In the book, Irene learned about the goblins when she and Lootie, her nurse, get stuck on the mountain after midnight and Curdie rescues them. In the movie, Irene learns about them when she runs off alone with her cat.
- In the book, Irene doesn't have a cat, although the cook does. The cat is only mentioned once in the book, and doesn't have a specific name.
- In the book, Curdie intentionally breaks a hole through the mine to learn of the goblins plans. In the movie, he accidentally breaks a hole in the wall and plummets down into a passing cart, and ends up hearing of their plans while he's stuck down there.
- In the book, the room that houses Grandmother's spinning wheel is the middle of the three doors. In the movie, it is the one on the left.
- In the movie, Irene's Grandmother tells Irene about the magical thread after she encounters the goblin cat in her room. In the book, it happens before.
- The song Curdie sings in the movie is much different from the ones he sings in the book.
- In the movie, Irene's grandmother says Irene needs to use the thread to make her own magic. In the book, she says to follow the thread when she's frightened.
- Irene is portrayed as being younger, more innocent, and much more gullible in the book then she is in the movie.
- The Goblin's royal family only plays a small part in the book, whereas they're seen many times throughout the movie.
- In the book, the author describes the tunnels in the mountain as black as night, but in the movie, they are all well lit.
The Princess and the Goblin was the first animated feature from Wales, and the 25th full-length cartoon from Hungary. The film was produced by the Welsh television station S4C, and the Cardiff-based Siriol studio, along with Hungary's Pannonia and Japan's NHK. Costing $10 million, the film teamed producer/screenwriter Robin Lyons with director József Gémes (from 1982's Heroic Times). Most of the principal animation was produced at the Siriol facilities.
Release and receptionEdit
Originally released in 1992 and 1993 across Europe, The Princess and the Goblin was picked up for North American release by Hemdale Releasing for a summer release in 1994. The film was a critical and commercial disappointment there, only grossing US$2.1 million from 795 venues, being overshadowed by the release of The Lion King.
In a desperate attempt to counter its bad reviews, Hemdale asked several movie critics to view the film with their children, and asked those children for their comments on the film; these were subsequently included in its newspaper promotion. Mentioned in the advertisements were Michael Medved's daughter, Sarah, and Bob Campbell's four-year-old daughter ("It gets 91 stars!"). The idea came from Hemdale executives who thought animated films from the Disney company were preferred over those from other studios.
The Princess and the Goblin received a Seal of Approval from the Dove Foundation, and the Film Advisory Board's Award of Excellence. Moreover, it won the Best Children's Film Award at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
Hemdale Home Video premiered the movie on VHS some time after its theatrical outing. It was released on DVD in August 15, 2005 by Allumination FilmWorks.
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