I’m so glad that the Princess Principal films have been taken in by hi-dive. At the very least, it means being able to watch these films as they appear. I wish the same could be said for the Girls Und Panzer films, but alas that isn’t the case right now. Maybe sometime in the future though. That being said, have these and inevitably missing out on not having Princess Principals very good dub until later on kind of hurts too. I wish we could hear their accents in English, but oh well. We see the continuing adventures of our favorite girl spies going out to save the land of not England from the hands of the Kingdom for the people of the Common Wealth. Given how Princess Principal ended, it needed more anyway and here it is. I just didn’t expect the film to go in this much more methodical direction, but I am all for it if it’s as good as this film.
So, what is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to a spy movie? If you think about James Bond and/or Mission Impossible, you are probably thinking about some of the loudest spies possible causing all sorts of chaos when facing an evil organization run by a billionaire who wants to rule the world, use the most advance gadgets possible for the precise crimes they need, car chases, and some of the most impossible stunts possible that they can put on camera. Well, the only time some of these things occur in this film are in the beginning. The spies of control work hard to save a person who could find the mole, a bookstore owner currently in prison. That has one of the most cinematic, explosive, and exciting heists and car chases in a while. Otherwise, it’s mostly character drama and spy games.
Just like all classic spy thrillers, there is a mole or double agent whose loyalty they are unsure about. Following the assassination attempt on Princess Charlotte’s life in the series, this is an important thing that needs to be situated for the entire spy organization in Control to have some sense of stability. That is the central plot of this shorter film, finding the mole, figuring out their affiliations, giving them a sense of story, and then having the film end on a cliff hanger we do and do not expect. Why? There is a hidden third party in all of this that isn’t important for the film itself until it really matters in the end. This is a film mostly centered on character drama between Ange, The Princess, and the mole inside the Royal Palace, Mr. Winston.
While I mentioned Ange and Charlotte on the top of this, the real story is about Mr. Winston. The story between Ange and Charlotte switching places plays into this because Mr. Winston can tell who is who and that just makes him more dangerous. He knows a secret that can bring about Control’s destruction. So why doesn’t he? A lot of time is spent finding that reason why and even attempting to outsmart him. Something is hard to do considering that the man is a former master of spy work himself. That makes this film Mr. Winston’s story with Ange and Charlotte being the vehicle for why it’s told. What happens when an old spy master retires? We now know. Death.
That of which is another consequence or message of the film presented to Charlotte and Ange. What is the life of someone who has lived their life in the shadows like? Can they truly escape it? I don’t think this movie explores it as much as it wanted to. Especially since Mr. Winston is an old man who has lived a long life. Ange and Charlotte are still young and have an entire life ahead of them to fight for their own gains. What the film did do by leading to Mr. Winston’s death is show the appearance of that third party spy group as the villain group at the end of the film. We don’t know anything about them yet and it creates all sorts of possibilities for the five films to follow. With six movies, I don’t think anyone needs to rush any story bits. For all the things it does, it does most of it pretty well honestly.
What is left behind? Well, the wonderful cast of spies that were left behind for the rest of the film. You know, Chise the girl form of Goemon, the older member of the group who is so cool and bad ass Dorothy, and Princess Charlotte’s attendant Beatrice who is still finding her path in the spy business. They did some cool things in the opening chase sequence and do off screen spy work to create the boundaries behind Ange’s and Charlotte’s investigations of Mr. Winston, but that’s about it. I suppose that’s not a bad thing considering that the focus of the film is still Ange and Charlotte, but I hope that they do more in the future films and I am pretty sure they will with no trouble. Should be fun. Pretty excited to see these characters more and more over time! It’s a good film that is a great start to see where all of this goes!