Monday, March 15, 2010

Movie Monday - Fairy Tale Retellings

The 10th Kingdom

First Aired: Beginning February 27, 2000 for five nights

Written by: Simon Moore

Directed by: David Carson and Herbert Wise

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Two centuries after Snow White and Cinderella had their adventures, the Nine Kingdoms ready themselves for the coronation of Prince Wendel, Snow White's grandson, to the throne of the Fourth Kingdom. But an evil once-queen has freed herself from prison, and turns the prince into a golden retriever. Wendel, by means of a magic mirror, escapes into a hitherto-unknown Tenth Kingdom (modern day New York City) and meets Virginia and her father Tony. Pursued by trolls, cops, and a wolf in man's form, the three blunder back into the Nine Kingdoms and begin their adventures to restore Wendel to his human form and throne, and find the magic mirror that will take Tony and Virginia back home, all the while unknowing that Virginia already has a connection to the Nine Kingdoms that may prove deadly before we reach Happily Ever After.

This week is a week of firsts; this is the first of many Movie Mondays and later this week there will be a first on Friday as well. And so, in order to mark this momentous occasion, I have decided to choose a monumental movie to review.

Let me start off by saying this; my movie library is almost as vast as my paper one so I should never have a lack of movies to review. And I battled with myself over which movie I should choose. First, with the untimely and sudden death of Corey Haim I thought that I might review my all-time (one of them, anyways) favourite The Lost Boys. I have watched this movie so many times that I have lost count and I bought the sequel that came out a few years ago AND I cannot wait for the third instalment to come out soon.

But, instead, I decided to go with a more ‘story book’ movie and review The 10th Kingdom.

Ok, it’s not really a movie so much as a mini-series, but it’s so amazing that I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, I was watching it just last night before I fell asleep and even as I write this it’s playing in the background of my computer.

What can I say about this movie? Well, how about the fact that I love how it incorporates more fairy tales into its story than a person can count in one watching? It is truly amazing to see how little details from so many different old fairy tales and legends intertwine to make this amazing tapestry of a movie. I mean, you take the main love story that takes after Little Red Riding Hood (so weird to think about but it works SO well), then the Snow White aspect with Virginia Lewis, the Evil Queen and Prince Wendell. Those aspects intermingle with the King Midas-ness of Tony, Virginia’s Father, and the general fairy tale exploits of Trolls. Throw in magic mushrooms for Sleeping Beauty, the nasty monopoly of the Bo Peep family, gypsies and werewolves, and the many uses of Jack’s beanstalks, plus every other fairy tale that you can ever think of. Then there’s the Tooth Fairy as an eccentric dentist who thinks that tooth decay comes from poor diet, not brushing properly, and bad fairies. But it’s the way that they are all related back to each other and adapted to make you see a different view on stories that you thought you knew so well. The intermingling is done so well that you sometimes think that that may have been how it was originally, but I suppose that was just some phenomenal writing in the script.

The actors are so encompassing of their fairy tale characters that they make them pop all the more off the screen. Dianne Wiest is absolutely breathtaking as the vindictive Evil Queen antagonist and it’s such a change from her generally good-hearted characters that the change slaps you up-side the head and makes you realize just how talented she is. Come to think of it, she was in The Lost Boys too… Anyways, Kimberly Williams (According to Jim, Father of the Bride) plays the main protagonist Virginia beautifully with the fiery innocence that she brings to her character and John Larroquette as her greedy, though loving, father is an absolute wit.

The cast itself is star-studded all throughout with Ann-Margaret, Ed O’Neill, Scott Cohen, Warwick Davis, and Camryn Manheim who play anywhere to larger to small cameo roles within the movie.

I suppose that aside from the ingenious weaving of the plot and the character portrayals, the most amazing thing about the movie would be the make-up effects. Really, it’s award worthy it’s so amazing. They take normal actors and turn them into trolls, goblins, dwarves, and any other creature that you can think of. It just gives another layer to the already profound visuals and portrayals within the movie. No details seemed to be too small or too inconsequential to be forgotten.

There is so much more that I could say about this movie, but this review is getting to be a bit too long so I’m just going to leave it at this.

I give this movie a 10/10. It’s an amazing film that is funny, entertaining, mysterious, adventurous, suspenseful, and so many other things that I can’t even really put it all into words. It’s family friendly and appropriate for all ages.

1 comment:

Eli said...

I remember watching this forever ago, back on VHS tapes! I watched it so much I had to find another copy because the first half is completely worn out.

I adore Hallmark miniseries. I know this is an older post but I thought I'd pass along that you should check out Arabian Nights as well. Great series.