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Review: Damsel

While she’s battled Vecna and demogorgons on Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown battles a dragon in the new Netflix movie, Damsel.

Brown plays Princess Elodie, who agrees to marry the prince of the prosperous kingdom of Aurea, mostly to help the people of her desolate and frigid kingdom.  Charmed by the prince (Nick Robinson), Elodie soon learns the terrible truth about Aurea, that they sacrifice maidens to a dragon that lives in the nearby mountain to keep it from destroying their kingdom.  Trapped in the dragon’s cave, Elodie has to find a way to survive and escape.  The movie does a solid job of subverting fairy tale tropes, like the charming prince or evil queen, and using items like crowns and dress decorations as survival tools.  There could have been a bit more backstory to show how Elodie is so different from the previous maidens that were sacrificed, maybe training with her father, played by Ray Winstone, so that we get that she has combat skills.  We only really see her chopping some wood and that she can ride a horse.  There could have also maybe been a bit more fantastical elements in the cave that is the movie’s main setting.  There are a few interesting chambers, like one where there are glowing slugs that prove useful to Elodie later on, but it would have been fun to see some more distinctive areas or have it be more of a journey deeper into the cave.  As is, Elodie mainly travels through 3 or 4 unique areas and a few of them feel similar.

Millie Bobby Brown does a great job as Elodie and shows off her determination and survival instincts fantastically.  She’s making mostly smart decisions and it makes sense that she’s the one that could make it out where so many other maidens have failed.  Shohreh Aghdashloo is also fantastic as the Dragon and her accent and distinctive raspy voice are the perfect sinister presence throughout the movie and you get a sense of the nasty joy she gets from toying with Elodie as she chases her through the caves. You can also tell they focused a lot of the budget on the dragon and the fire effects because that all looks pretty great throughout, especially the fire which has a devastating, almost liquid quality to it and you see the deadly effect of it throughout. Robin Wright, in her few scenes, does a great job devouring scenery as the truly despicable Queen Isabelle, who you just want to see get her comeuppance by the end of the movie.  Angela Bassett unfortunately doesn’t have a lot to do as Elodie’s stepmother Lady Bayford and Ray Winstone is fine as Elodie’s father.

Damsel is a fun subversion of the fantasy genre and Millie Bobby Brown does a great job transforming into a sort of princess Rambo in her battle with the dragon.  There could have possibly been a bit more backstory and interesting locations to explore but if you’re looking for a solid, fantasy action movie, it’s worth checking out on Netflix.

 

Where to watch Damsel

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