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‘The Princess and the Goblin’ (G)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 06, 1994

Now that Disney has reinvented the animated feature, less talented 'toonsmiths -- like those behind "The Princess and the Goblin" -- might as well fall on their pencils. An adaptation of a 19th-century fairy tale, the film sets a standard as far beneath that of "Aladdin" as the pea was beneath that other princess.

Jozsef Gemes directed this English-Hungarian co-production, an awkwardly drawn, unimaginatively scored and dramatically stilted tale of a wee Scottish royal with Fergie-colored hair and a cat named Turnip. Princess Irene (the voice of Sally Ann Marsh) overcomes her timidity and saves her kingdom from the goblins with the help of her magical great-grandmother (Claire Bloom) and Curdie (Peter Murray), a goblin-savvy miner's son.

When Curdie accidentally tumbles down a mine shaft, he uncovers the goblins' plan to take over the kingdom by forcing Irene to marry the lisping goblin dauphin, Prince Froglip (Rik Mayall). The goblins, whom writer-producer Robin Lyons designed to provide both peril and comic relief, excel at neither. A compelling villain would do wonders for the story, but wonders are in short supply in a kingdom without magic.

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