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If the Ending of Millie Bobby Brown’s Damsel Feels Half-Baked, That’s Because It Is


If the Ending of Millie Bobby Brown's Damsel Feels Half-Baked, That's Because It Is


Summary

  • Damsel is a captivating watch with a warrior princess taking charge, but the ending may leave audiences wanting more.
  • The film’s rushed conclusion lacks emotional depth and fails to fully utilize the talented cast, leaving viewers yearning for a more satisfying resolution.
  • The novel offers a richer, more detailed narrative that could have enhanced the film’s plot and provided a more fulfilling ending.



Netflix’s Damsel debuted on Mar. 8, 2024. Since then, the film has found itself at the top of Netflix’s Global Top 10 chart, claiming the second spot in the week spanning Mar. 18 – Mar. 24 with 19.5 million views. If the viewership of the film is anything to go by, it is clear that Damsel has found success with audiences. However, the film has received mixed reactions and, although viewers are choosing to watch the movie, Damsel has been flagged for not being all that memorable.


The film follows the story of Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown), the daughter of Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone). With her father’s lands not prospering and the people facing hardship, Elodie, despite her reservations, agrees to the proposal of marriage that arrives from the wealthy kingdom of Aurea. However, little does Elodie know that her decision to marry Prince Henry (Nick Robinson) will lead, not to a happy and comfort-filled life, but to her being thrown into a dragon’s lair as a sacrifice.

Damsel amounts to an engaging, entertaining watch, with a princess who fights a magnificent dragon. However, the ending of the film failed to deliver in the manner that audiences were expecting.


How Did Damsel End?


In true damsel-not-in-distress style, Brown’s Elodie takes charge of her plight. Choosing not to mope around and give in to her fate of being sacrificed to a ferocious dragon, Elodie turns herself into a warrior princess. Using what is available to her, she crafts protective armor for herself. Her dress, the crown of a princess thrown into the lair before her, and in the end, her father’s sword become Elodie’s tools of escape. Applying her intelligence, she reads clues that have been left by her predecessors, and, with the help of the ropes left by her father, makes her way out of the cave. However, Elodie returns to face the dragon yet again when Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright) forcefully takes Elodie’s sister, Floria (Brooke Carter), and throws her into the lair upon Elodie’s escape.


As viewers may have predicted as the film progressed, the ending of Damsel is neither gruesome nor particularly poignant. The warrior princess returns to face the dragon and rescue her sister. In doing so, she learns the dragon’s story and reveals the truth about what the royal family gives to the dragon. She goes as far as to do what no knight before her has done and defeat the dragon with its own fire. However, going the sympathetic route, she then heals the dragon with magical glowworms.

With the dragon as her ally, a battle-worn Elodie walks into the marriage ceremony where Prince Henry is marrying his new bride, the next sacrifice to the dragon. As Elodie warns Queen Isabelle that her story has now come to an end, the mighty dragon appears from the sky. As people scream in terror, the royal family looks up at the dragon in disbelief, just seconds before the creature spews molten lava, destroying both the family and the castle. A triumphant Elodie walks out of the destruction with the dragon flying above her. Subverting the fairy tale trope and taking charge of her life, Elodie, Floria, Lady Bayford and the dragon leave Aurea behind, setting sail for their home.


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What Could the Film Have Done Better?

Overall, Damsel feels poorly written, with the talented cast not taken advantage of. With names such as Angela Bassett and Robin Wright accompanying Brown, the film could have been crafted in a manner that afforded more of a spotlight to the talent and showcased their range as actors. Moreover, the plot of the film feels underdeveloped, with the same applying to character arcs. However, the greatest letdown of Damsel is perhaps in its ending.


The film’s conclusion is rushed and hurried. Beginning with Elodie returning to the dragon’s lair to rescue her sister, Damsel moves at a considerably fast pace, preventing the narrative from affording enough attention to the dragon’s story and, in the end, the death of Aurea’s royal family. The ending could have had more of an effect on audiences, and garnered a much more emotional reaction, if the creative team had chosen to afford much more significance to the dragon’s story of her children being killed and vividly portrayed the anguish, grief, and fury she may have felt. This elaboration would have perhaps provided more meaning to the dragon’s merciless killings of the princesses before Elodie.

Further, if the film chose to allow more time for Queen Isabelle, her son, and her husband to process their terror at seeing the dragon and realize the consequences of their actions, their deaths at the hands of the dragon would have been more poignant. Due to the deaths of the family taking only a few minutes at most, Elodie and the dragon’s revenge felt somewhat underwhelming. The revenge of the dragon could have perhaps been more striking and evocative if the creative team allowed the dragon the chance to speak. Shohreh Aghdashloo’s voice would have sounded magnificent as the dragon spoke over the family and the residents of Aurea, revealing her true story to the people.


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A More Satisfying Ending in the Novel

One of the main reasons that the ending of Damsel feels rushed and half-baked, is most likely the fact that the film premiered before its corresponding novel debuted. The novel, written by Evelyn Skye, was published in April 2023, whereas filming for the movie wrapped in the summer of 2022. The novel and the film have a complicated relationship. Dan Mazeau, the film’s writer, initially penned Damsel‘s story and the screenplay for the film. His draft was then handed over to Skye who was given the freedom to craft her own story based on Mazeau’s early work, novelizing the film.


Despite Mazeau pioneering the story, those who have read Skye’s novel believe that the book contains a more substantiated, fully-fledged narrative than what the film offers. The novel delves into the details, offering comprehensive backstories into what propelled the Aureans to attack the dragon, why the dragon did not have children, and why princesses were needed as sacrifices. The book explains that the dragon only hunted princess after princess to find one that would give her the ability to once again bear children.

The novel ends with the dragon finally able to have children, thanks to Elodie’s blood mixing with that of the dragon. While the novel’s ending, similarly to the film, depicts Elodie and the dragon taking revenge on the royal family, the conclusion is made evocative by Elodie offering them the choice of abdication or death and the fact that Elodie and Floria remain in Aurea, helping to rebuild the destruction.


Although Damsel‘s novel and film have a somewhat complicated relationship, with the film’s script coming first followed by the novel and then the release of the film itself, perhaps the movie may have benefited from incorporating more details from the novel into its plot. Doing so would have provided more substance and weight to the film’s narrative and also allowed the cast to fully showcase their talent as actors. Through this, the film could have provided audiences with a more satisfying, fulfilling ending.

You can stream Damsel on Netflix now.

Millie Bobby Brown holding a sword in the poster for Damsel

Damsel

Release Date
March 8, 2024

Director
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Studio
Netflix, PCMA Management and Productions

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