Sir Rothbart, also known as Lord Rothbart, the Great Animal, or simply Rothbart for short, is the central antagonist of The Swan Princess film series, serving as the main antagonist of the 1994 animated fantasy film The Swan Princess and the 2012 computer-animated fantasy film The Swan Princess Christmas and a posthumous antagonist in The Swan Princess 2 and The Swan Princess 3 (he appears in the latter via flashback).
He is a despicable warlock who kidnapped and changed Princess Odette into a swan. In Tchaikovsky's ballet, Swan Lake, he is based on the sorcerer Von Rothbart who transformed the actual princess into a swan while also planning to have his own daughter marry the prince. He is Princess Odette and Prince Derek's arch-nemesis.
Sadly he has been flanderized in the fourth film of the series The Swan Princess Christmas.
Why He’s Not the Warlock We Know Here
NOTE: This article only applies to the character as depicted in The Swan Princess Christmas, as he was flanderized.
- He has the worst flanderization out of all the characters (excluding Bromley or Sir Chamberlain) from the first three Swan Princess films who appeared in this movie. Rothbart went from being a powerful and villainous enchanter who tried to take over King William’s kingdom by assassinating William and turning his daughter, Princess Odette into a swan in the first film to a one-note generic doomsday villain who wants to be alive and ruin Christmas for the entire kingdom.
- His plan is very stupid and pathetic since the idea of getting rid of Christmas in the kingdom is very unreasonable. For example:
- First off, he's basically a ghost since he has powers beyond the dead, meaning that he can have many potential motives and interests that he can seek for himself like fame or stealing the crown, and yet he only wants to ruin a holiday for the locals in the mildest and most trivial way possible.
- Second, if he uses his powers to make everyone in the kingdom grouchy throughout Christmas, Odette and Prince Derek could easily be the only ones that aren’t affected by Rothbart’s powers and could easily bring back the spirit to the kingdom.
- Third, did he seriously need the Christmas tree to work? If he needs a Christmas tree to carry out his plan? Then why has he tried to destroy Christmas this whole time?
- He's also a coward since he was scared of wind chimes just because it represents Christmas which is false by the way since Wind chimes are just musical instruments that are only played with the wind and don’t represent Christmas, unlike Christmas trees. This pointer, alongside WHSN #2 is what makes him a villain that is too childish, goofy, and harmless to take him seriously in any way.
- He's very hypocritical when it comes to his evil plan, he told Number 9 that he can't affect Odette and Derek just because they're full of Christmas spirit and yet he affects Queen Uberta and Lord Rogers who are both full of Christmas spirit with the former being the most Christmas crazy of them all just fine, causing his plan to be backfired thanks to Odette and Derek undoing the curse.
- He has no real motivation beyond “ruining Christmas for the kingdom” even though he is a ghost.
- Much like everyone else in the Swan Princess, the way his design got transferred to CGI, is a bit ugly and uncanny in comparison to his original 2D design in the first three films.
- The flanderization of the character caused critics and fans to take their hatred out on Sir Rothbart, thus ruining his reputation after this movie.
- His defeat in this movie is considered to be the absolute worst climax of the series by many fans due to the climax being a rehash of the first film and that Odette in her swan form singing a Christmas song in front of him, causing the death of Sir Rothbart/the Great Animal.
- His flanderization in this movie is one of the main reasons why the Swan Princess Christmas was poorly received.
- He barely interacts with the main characters until the climax and just hangs out in a cellar for 90% of the film.
- Sean Wright does a decent job voicing Rothbart, reprising his role from the third film.
- Though flanderized, it's nice to see Rothbart back after appearing in flashbacks of the first two sequels.
- He was more tolerable and comedic in the first two films.