#REVIEW: The Princess (2022)

You could be forgiven– I would forgive you, at least— if you dismissed the idea of watching Hulu’s The Princess almost immediately upon hearing about it. You have literally heard the plot a thousand times; the titular Princess, who is never named in the movie, is expected to marry a Bad Guy to ensure the also-unnamed Kingdom has an heir, refuses to do so on account of he’s an obvious sociopath, blah blah blah everyone’s captured and she’s chained up in the top of a tower awaiting her forced marriage because apparently the Bad Guy’s only rule is that he can’t just usurp the kingdom by killing the king; he has to do it “legitimately,” even though the wedding is a farce.

The movie has the distinct feel about it, especially in any scene not starring Executive Producer and star Joey King, of something that Disney would make with 7-10 year old girls as the expected demographic. There’s a lot of broad humor. At one point there’s a trap pulled directly from Home Alone. There’s a guy whose only role in the film is to be fat. The first forty minutes or so are structured in a way that feels very video-gamey. It’s all very, very Disney, and while there’s nothing wrong with making movies for 7-10 year old girls, it is also fine (especially if you aren’t a 7-10 year old girl) if you are someone who does not enjoy said movies.

And then, maybe five minutes into the start of the movie, the Princess dislocates her own thumb on camera so that she can slip out of her chains and then messily kills the two men who are there to keep her quiet and under guard. And, uh, we’re off to the races after that.

So take that Disney movie you had in mind, and then cross it with a really hard-R Charlize Theron action film, only with better fight choreography and a petite redhead who doesn’t immediately scan as a monstrous badass, and understand that there is DNA of both of those things in this movie (which is, for the record, rated R), and that this film, which starts out with the Disneyest of imaginable plots, ends with a beheading.

It’s … really something.

I only found out about this movie from TikTok, which advertised it to me relentlessly for weeks until I caved. I haven’t seen any promo for it anywhere other than TikTok and Hulu.

You want to see this movie for a couple of reasons: 1) the fight choreography really is fucking amazing. It’s well-shot, which is getting rarer and rarer in action films, and the choreographer never (well, really rarely) forgets that his heroine is a 120-pound girl, and despite fighting lots of grown men who are much bigger than she is, she manages to come off … realistic? She uses her agility and size to her advantage throughout the movie, fighting with accuracy rather than strength– there’s a bit where she’s fighting a knight in full armor that is just remarkably well-done, as she focuses on dodging big, heavy swings and counter-attacking at the gaps in his armor, and the movie never lets you forget that swinging a sword around is exhausting, as King spends roughly half her time on-screen gasping for breath.

Oh, and she has virtually no dialogue at all for about the first 45 minutes of the film. There’s only escaping, hiding, and kicking ass. The film’s even really light on badass quippery, which wouldn’t feel appropriate with this character. She does get a great “to the pain” monologue late in the movie, but there’s surprisingly little badassery for the sake of badassery in this movie.

The second reason is closely related to the first: Joey King is awesome, and I want to see her in many many more movies, only movies that know from the start that they’re geared for adults. I don’t know how well this has done for Hulu (it’s possible it’s been a runaway success; I genuinely don’t know) but it straddles two genres that really don’t generally … uh … straddle together, and I fear that that might have cost it some well-deserved viewership. This kid’s the real deal, and the fact that she somehow snagged an executive producer role for this and a couple of other Hulu projects makes me think that she’ll be around a while. The movie itself? Harder to say, but the bad parts are wrapped around some seriously cool shit, and I think it’s probably worth your time.

A Christmas abortion story

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this terrible show. If not, well, it’s fuckin’ terrible, and it’s on Hulu, and you should probably watch an episode or two because it is terrible in a uniquely addictive way, like, I hate it but I can’t get enough of it.

Anyway.

The wife and I have started season 3. She has somehow already watched all five (Five? Sure. It could be as many as twelve; I have no idea) seasons already and is rewatching them with me. At the end of Season 2, one character found out a woman he’d recently had sex with was pregnant. I believe his entire reaction to this news was the single word “Fuck.” And then the season ended.

And do you know what happened at the beginning of Season 3?

She told him she’d had an abortion, and he was cool with that, and that was the end of the storyline. It was barely a three-minute conversation, with not a trace of remorse on either one of their parts. It has not been mentioned since.

And I gotta be honest: it was fucking refreshing. Because with any other show this would have been a half-season fucking ordeal, and there would have been endless conversations about it, and then it probably wouldn’t have happened.

But this one? Yeah. Season 2 cliffhanger, done and dusted four minutes into Season 3.

I approve.

Quick question

I’ve completely lost patience with The Walking Dead, and haven’t watched an episode since the show came back from its midseason hiatus.  We’re, I dunno, four or five episodes into the new season of Jessica Jones and I can barely pay attention.  I did notice that Season 2 of Into the Badlands was on Netflix, and I’ll watch that, and I binged The End of the Fucking World on Hulu a week or two ago but that’s kinda a one-off.

What’s good in TV right now?  Y’all should have a decent idea of what my tastes are like after all this time, right?

In which I defend myself against something no one accused me of, and other bits of nonsense

510Cy7ZwEHL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_I watch a lot of Hulu, right?  Lately we’ve been binging all of Scrubs, which means that generally if the television is on in my house and there isn’t some sort of childrens’ programming on that’s probably what we’re watching. Hulu’s been promoing this program lately that appears to be about a fat old rich white guy who gets accused of rape.

Be it known to the world at large: at this particular point in my life I find it really fucking difficult to arouse any sympathy for old rich white men accused of rape, and I sure as shit am not interested in watching television programs that cast said old rich white men as the victims.  Can I just fucking watch Scrubs, please?  Maybe advertise other light comedies?  And not this show, like, ever again?  Thanks.


A warning: this part of the post is going to be kind of ill-formed and unfinished, as it’s still a work in progress in my brain and I’m not at all sure how I feel about any of it, so don’t expect me to come to any  conclusions.  I had a dream the other day where a former student (and I am one hundred percent certain that she will both see this and know who she is) sat across a table from me and lectured me about representation and cultural appropriation in my work.  I’ve been reading a lot about both issues lately (the recent spate of articles about the whitewashing of Nnedi Okorafor’s The Shadow Speakers is only the newest example) and as someone who has actually written a science fiction book and deliberately made sure to get the black woman on the cover it’s kind of an important issue to me.

So, yeah, here’s the thing: I’ve got two books in the works right now featuring women of color as the leads.  The lead race in my fantasy series is matriarchal.  And my short stories tend to feature non-stereotypically-western cultures.  I’m not good enough about writing LGBT+ characters but when you come down to it there are precious few straight relationships in my books either for some reason.

I do not write this to be awarded cookies. I don’t want cookies.  In fact, I’m starting to wonder if I’m approaching all this the right way at all.  Do me a favor, and go read this, and then read this.

I’m torn as hell on this and still thinking about it.  But it’s on my mind at the moment.


I leave for Denver in, like, three days.  I am still not looking forward to it.  At all.

Okay, this is just embarrassing

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We may need new TV to watch.