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"Damsel" 4K Review

If it's Friday it must be time for another Netflix Original Movie and this week's forgettable disposable reason why they're the most expensive service is Damsel, a fantasy movie starring Stranger Things girlboss Millie Bobby Brown as, well, a damsel in distress.

 Brown is Elodie, a poor girl from a frigid region scraping for food and firewood. One day, a proposal comes from the Queen of Aurea (Robin Wright, cuz she was The Princess Bride) for her to marry her son, Henry (Nick Robinson). The union would greatly help her people, so she heads to Aurea with her father, Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone, Beowulf), her stepmother (Angela Bassett), and younger sister Floria (Brooke Carter). Once there, they are ensconced in luxury and Elodie spends time with Henry and finds common interests.

Of course, anyone who's seen the trailer knows that this is all a ruse because after the wedding, they head to the mountains for a blood ritual surrounded by the partygoers from Eyes Wide Shut after which our damsel (roll credits!) is unceremoniously tossed into a pit where after crashing through various branches and vines to break her fall, ends up in a cave network within the mountain which is home to a dragon (voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo and her "smoked three packs a day beginning in kindergarten" voice) seeking to burninate her. Rude!

 Turns out the Royals (BTW, what ever happened to Lorde?) made a deal long ago that in exchange for not burninating their lands, each generation they would sacrifice three royal daughters and thus the blood ritual to make these peasant girls smell like royal blood. Fortunately, Eleven Elodie is a clever resourceful girl and with some convenient help from magic healing creatures and notes left by previous losing contestants on The Royal Bachelor, she is able to turn the tables on everyone. (No, this isn't a spoiler. What did you think was going to happen?)

 While predictable and disposable, I had an OK time with Damsel. Brown is acceptably capable without being too girlbossy and other than too much time spent getting on with the twist (which is in the trailer), it passes quickly. I've seen some nerd rager YouTubers lose their minds over this being a girlboss who don't need no man/men are ineffectual and weak feminist Mary Sue hatefest a la the M-She-U, but that seems more a need to keep the outrage clicks coming than genuine anger. The villain is the Queen, so what's the problem?

As far as AV goes, the Dolby Vision presentation is bright, especially the golden carriage, and the cave scenes aren't too dim. The Atmos audio has some good bass notes like the dragon's voice and flames. Speaking of which, the way they portray the dragon breath as more of a napalm-like liquid fire than a gas flame was different and even more effective because if it sticks to you, you're burned.

Score: 6/10. Catch it on Netflix.


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