Secret Society of Second-Born Royals Parent Guide
Adults will roll their eyes at the improbable plot, but there are lots of positive messages for young viewers.
Parent Movie Review
Princess Samantha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is frustrated. The “spare to the heir” of the throne of Illyria, Europe’s smallest country, is tired of cutting ribbons and smiling graciously. As her dutiful older sister, Princess Eleanor (Ashley Liao), prepares for her upcoming coronation, Sam and her best friend, Mike (Noah Lomax), sing protest songs on street corners in hope of democratizing Illyria. But when Sam winds up at summer school with some other young royal spares, she is shocked to learn that all second born royal children are genetically endowed with superpowers so they can safeguard their kingdoms. Now they need to identify their powers, hone their abilities, and save the world.
This discovery comes none too soon because trouble is brewing deep in the castle’s dungeon prison. (No cliché is overlooked in this story.) Locked deep underground is Inmate 34 (Greg Bryk), a nameless prisoner whose powerful telekinetic abilities are suppressed with a high tech metal collar. But when he finally escapes, his dastardly plan will destroy Sam, Eleanor and every other royal attending the coronation, unless Sam and her fellow trainees can stop him.
I must warn adults that this show might cause muscle strain injuries related to constant eye rolling, but, frankly, this film isn’t made for you. Secret Society of Second Born Royals is geared at kids and tweens, neatly bridging the gap between Barbie princess movies and The Avengers. It lets its young viewers celebrate princess-y dresses and a girl power message simultaneously.
Thankfully, this princess/superhero movie manages to provide plenty of action without a lot of negative content. The only potential issue is some plot driven violence as the teens battle the bad guy. Frankly, minor negative content is less of an issue for me than the movie’s flat acting, terrible music, appalling CGI, and unsettling politics. Throughout the film, I had trouble wrapping my head around the fictional country of Illyria. On the surface, it looks like a pleasantly multicultural, peaceful little kingdom. Then we learn that the country has no parliament and is apparently ruled by royal fiat. (No wonder Sam wants to get rid of the monarchy.) Apparently, Inmate 34 was put in solitary confinement without a trial, which is also disturbing. In conjunction with his goals for political reform, this manages to make his motivations much more sympathetic, despite his murderous methods.
If you can overlook Illyria’s weird politics, there are plenty of positive messages here for young viewers. Standing up for what you believe, accepting yourself for who you are, and not judging on appearances are some of the film’s themes. It also shows the benefits of being inclusive, working together, and trying to make change from within. As Sam learns to her sorrow, rebellion has its costs, and they aren’t always paid by the rebel. And the story clearly encourages self-discipline, honesty, and honor. As Queen Catherine (Elodie Yung) says to Sam, “The key to mastering your power is mastering yourself.” Royal or not, that’s a message worth remembering.Directed by Ann Mastro. Starring Elodie Yung, Skylar Astin, and Greg Bryk. Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release September 25, 2020. Updated September 24, 2020
Watch the trailer for Secret Society of Second-Born Royals
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals
Rating & Content Info
Why is Secret Society of Second-Born Royals rated TV-PG? Secret Society of Second-Born Royals is rated TV-PG by the MPAA
Violence: There are several scenes of superhero violence. People are hit, kicked, shoved and thrown. Large building stones are thrown at a teen. Teens are locked in a cell. A girl is trapped under a tree branch. A character plans mass murder by means of a genetic device. A person is vaporized by magical smoke and stored in a container. A character confesses to murder. People are forced to do things against their will. Teens run an obstacle course that fires laser beams at them. A prisoner in a cell is shown with a metal collar around his neck.
Sexual Content: A girl is seen in a corset and petticoat. A man mentions his boyfriend.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character learns her sandwich is poisoned but hasn’t eaten it so she’s unharmed..
Page last updated September 24, 2020
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals Parents' Guide
Why does Sam want to see an end to the monarchy? Why does Edmund? Why do you think they have chosen different routes to end it? Do you think Eleanor will succeed in changing the system?
If you could have a superpower, which one would you pick? Why?
None of the other royals ever noticed Matteo before. Why do some kids seem to be perpetually socially invisible? What do we miss when we overlook people? How did a quirky power like Matteo’s come in useful?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Princess Magnolia has an alter ego – The Princess in Black. If your young reader wants to read about a crime fighting princess hero, he or she will have a blast in this series written by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.
Shannon Hale has also created a book series based on Princess Anidori of Kilderee. Her ability to talk to birds unsettles her kingdom so she is sent to the neighboring kingdom of Bayren to marry the prince. But rebellion and danger drive her to the fields where she tends geese and tries to figure out how to save her kingdom. The Goose Girl is a lovely tale of courage and self-acceptance.
Melanie Cellier’s The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, features Princess Celeste, cursed to appear witless despite her beauty. But no one knows that Celeste’s mind is sharp and she has found her own way to protect her kingdom.
The daughter of the Prime Minister, Anjeni has always rebelled against her parents’ expectations and her perfect sister. Then she falls back through time and discovers that her unusual magic has the potential to save both the past and her future in Kate Straddling’s Namesake.
Princess Margaretha finds herself acting as a spy when a suitor arrives at the castle with what she believes to be a dangerous agenda. Melanie Dickerson’s The Princess Spy is a Christian spin on this fairy tale story.
A young decoy princess discovers that she has magical powers in Ellis O’Neal’s The False Princess. The true identity of royal children is the question at the heart of The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen and Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Related home video titles:
The children of superheroes attend a special school that trains them and sorts them into heroes and sidekicks in Sky High.
In Mulan, a young woman takes her father’s place in the army and pretends to be a man.