I keep forgetting I watched these movies to review them. The fact I’m offering three stars for them to share is a Christmas miracle of true generosity (although all three stars were earned by the third movie). My charitability is a shining North Star.
I gave the first of the franchise five stars because I really couldn’t think of a reason not to. It artfully dodged evoking emotions, producing the perfectly bland inoffensive Christmas vibe such movies are meant to evoke. Romance has a lot of very problematic tropes that are, in my opinion, most effectively used when you do not try to justify them or ground them in reality.
I’m so comfortable with the princess fantasy; marrying into socioeconomic security and fancy dresses IS, in fact, an awesome fantasy.
The problem is when you try to actually talk about the monarchy and get into monarchist fantasies. I mean, who does it really serve to have a fantasy of the “good king”? Is there any utility to the lower classes to fantasize about monarchy without violence? Sounds like a nice way to validate a shitty system.
Royal Wedding was more of a mystery (I assume driven by the desire to use Rose McIver’s experience and audience from iZombie) and unfortunately not an especially good or memorable one. The second movie barely has King Richard present, which means it’s not really very romantic, and he’s mostly getting up to stuff that shows us how he’s one of the good members of the ruling class. The monarchy was making life heck for Aldovian citizens, and King Richard felt Just So Dreadful about it (frowny face), but luckily it turned out it was a scheming McBadguy and the monarchy is still cool. Phew!
I thought I had zero patience for “one of the good ruling class” anymore, but I was more patient by the time the third movie came around. Mostly because there was lots of King Richard being romantic! I love baby tropes. Being concerned for his wife (who births a four-month-old baby, which I ALSO LOVE), getting another king’s help building the crib, sitting around trying to figure out The Baby Stuff, interfacing with the doctor.
Turns out I’m okay just kinda shoving all the gross monarchist stuff behind the curtain if they will be so kind as to push my buttons about cozy family and the ongoing romance of marriage. It’s all I want, and it feels like it’s not that hard.
Basically if I’m getting All Sara About The Politics, the romance isn’t good enough to distract me. The third movie pulled it off way better. It also gave us a really good amount of Alice Krige. For future Christmases, I might honestly revisit the Aldovia trilogy (70% to thirst over Alice Krige), but just kinda skip over the middle one.
I would love if they put a pin in this series for now and brought us back to Aldovia in about 10 years to keep going.
(image credit: Netflix)