Certificate: 12A

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Ray Winstone, Robin Wright, Angela Bassett, Nick Robinson

Release date: 2024

2 out of 5


Millie Bobbie Brown is the damsel of the title who turns out to be Rambo in disguise when she is trapped by a dragon in this so-bad-it’s-almost-watchable Netflix fantasy adventure.

She plays Elodie, who lives in a frosty land where food and warmth is scarce, so her dad (Winston) arranges for her to be married to a prince from a wealthier, sunnier land – in exchange for money, of course. The entire family – Elodie, dad, Stepmother (Bassett, delivering one of the many creaky faux-English accents in the movie) and sister – travel to Prince Henry’s (Robinson) home for the nuptials, meet his formidable mother Queen Isabelle (Wright), and then Henry and Elodie are duly married.

However, thanks to a nearby dragon and a deal Isabelle’s ancestors made, it turns out Elodie’s first duty as a princess is to be thrown off a mountain into a deep cave where she gets to become monster munchies for the fire-breathing creature. It soon becomes apparent she isn’t the first sacrifice, but she may be the first to kick dragon butt and survive.

The movie proclaims to be a feminist fairy tale, but it’s by no means the first movie/series in which the damsel in distress becomes her own saviour (see Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Once Upon A Time etc) and unfortunately they all did it better, partly because they were not hampered by a clunky script, those aforementioned dodgy accents or seemingly endless scenes of Brown wandering around in dark caves getting muddy.

The action when it comes is fun – and Brown is enjoyable and believable in the lead role – but the movie also suffers because it can’t decide who it is aimed at. It’s too silly for grown-ups, yet too gruesome for younger kids (an opening scene has a handful of knights burnt to a crisp by fiery dragon’s breath in a scene that would traumatise most under-nines, and something very nasty happens to a horse, too), and it all ends up being a semi-entertaining mess of high calibre actors battling CGI backgrounds, and in which the dragon is the only one you’ll be rooting for.

Is Damsel suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

This is a 12 certificate and features numerous violent scenes throughout, including characters being burnt to death by the dragon, a character being stabbed by the dragon’s claw, birds flying while on fire and a horse also killed by dragon fire.

The main character is often bloodied and beaten up in appearance and there are some graphic wounds shown. As mentioned above, there are also scenes of Elodie being pursued by the dragon throughout dark caves which may scare younger viewers.

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