A father and daughter are caught in a parallel universe where the great queens Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood have had their kingdoms fragmented by warring trolls, giants and goblins.
The Trolls, now teamed up with the Huntsman, have captured Virginia, Tony and Prince. Meanwhile, The Evil Queen prepares the false Wendell's coronation. Tony and Virginia manage to escape, but Prince...
The journey continues and the team now travels in a boat trying to find Acorn the Dwarf that has the Magic Traveling Mirror. When they reach River Town, Acorn the Dwarf has already left and has gone ...
An American spends his holiday in Ireland, where he is introduced to the world of magical creatures like leprechauns and fairies. In a subplot, a forbidden love story blossoms between leprechaun Mickey and fairy Jessica.
After a plane crash, two opposing half-brothers find themselves on an amazing lost island where enlightened pacifist humans and intelligent talking dinosaurs have created a utopian medieval society. But imminent disaster approaches.
An Englishman returns after nine years abroad and tells strange stories of the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnang, the flying island Laputa, and the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses.
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.Written by
When the evil queen threatens the enchanted dog to do her bidding, she tells him "there are no masters here, only one mistress." That line is directly inspired by Queen Elizabeth the 1st's statement to her court, that she would have one mistress on the throne and no master. See more »
When the messenger is killed on the way back from Prince Wendell's hunting cottage, the Huntsman's arrow originally enters his back. When the Huntsman reclaims his arrow, it has entered from the front. See more »
My name is Virginia... And I live on the edge of the forest.
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An entertaining, somewhat grownup take on bedtime stories
Hallmark's miniseries "The 10th Kingdom" is not based on any book, and given the staleness of so many fantasy adaptations, that may be a good thing. But it is reminiscent of a range of novels, the kind where modern big-city dwellers find themselves thrust into a preindustrial and typically magical setting. It's a genre that has rarely been done well on screen and is usually the domain of outright camp like "Army of Darkness" (not that there's anything wrong with that). Yet here it is, a straightforward epic fantasy in this tradition, and it doesn't embarrass itself.
About a decade after its original airing, which I missed, I picked up the DVD intrigued but not excited, impressed by the big names in the cast but hardly expecting anything more than a reasonably competent production--at best. I remembered the unhappy experience of Sci-Fi Channel's "Legend of Earthsea," which not even Danny Glover and Isabella Rossellini could save from sheer awfulness. I also remembered Hallmark's solid if unmemorable "Gulliver's Travels" with Ted Danson. I assumed that was the best these sorts of projects usually got. Halfway through "The 10th Kingdom" I was hooked, realizing I had never seen a TV fantasy serial this good before, and savoring every moment.
It begins in the realm of "the nine kingdoms," where an evil queen (Dianne Wiest) plots to take over by transforming the king-to-be (Daniel Lapane) into a golden retriever. The Dog Prince escapes by jumping into a magic mirror, which turns out to be a portal to present-day Manhattan, and crashes into a young waitress (Kimberly Williams) riding her bike through Central Park. At first she thinks it is a stray, until she starts noticing its rather un-canine behavior, such as tracing messages in spilled flour. The queen sends three trolls and a wolfman named Wolf (Scott Cohen) after them. The Wolf sells the waitress's dad (John Laroquette) a magical bean in return for the address of her grandmother's apartment where the girl is headed. If you think you can guess what happens next, you're probably only partly right. Here as in elsewhere, the miniseries follows the fairy-tale conventions only to subvert them.
I was a little uncertain about these early scenes, especially those involving the dim-witted trolls who seemed to have stepped out of a Saturday morning cartoon. They tromp through New York, or what they call "the tenth kingdom," calling each other "you idiot" and puzzling over such sorcerous objects as cars, boomboxes, and elevators. But the series picks up pace when the waitress and her dad, accompanied by the Dog Prince, enter the alternate world, where the classic tales of Grimm exist as historical events from a couple of centuries before. "Happy ever after didn't last as long as we'd hoped," the Dog Prince sullenly observes. The Wolf, appearing at first as a sort of Jim Carrey-esque comical villain, soon makes a hilarious and scarcely believable transformation into a fascinating character who dominates the whole story. Meanwhile, the queen sends a menacing Huntsman (Rutger Hauer) to track the group down, wielding an enchanted crossbow guaranteed to kill a living being every time it is fired.
The miniseries cruises through these events with a confidence in tone that screen fantasies often fail to achieve. It strikes a balance between seriousness and silliness, creating an involving and often funny adventure that grows in complexity as the protagonists traverse the different kingdoms. Some elements are more or less predictable, such as the way the mirror that will lead them home always manages to stay just beyond their reach. But the story has a couple of real surprises along the way, and as the Wolf character becomes the focus of attention, we realize we don't want the girl and her father to return home just yet; what's happening in this realm is more compelling.
Among the funniest scenes are their encounters with a blind, demented woodsman, a singing ring, and a trippy swamp with talking mushrooms swaying to "A Whiter Shade of Pale." We meet a few fairy-tale celebrities including a zaftig Snow White (Camryn Manheim) and a 200-year-old Cinderella (Ann-Margret), but most of the time the miniseries settles for more indirect references, such as a logical question that somehow never crops up in most tellings of "Rapunzel."
But "The 10th Kingdom" is not a "Shrek"-style parody. For one thing, while it isn't anywhere near as dark a subversion of fairy tales as "Pan's Labyrinth" or Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm," much of it seems aimed at adults, despite its being labeled in many places (including the DVD cover) as a family film. (That may be one reason for its poor ratings: people were unsure who the intended audience was.) For another, it takes the fantasy part seriously. It vividly imagines the nine kingdoms with their own history and rules, and although many of the elements will be familiar to those well-versed in the fantasy genre, they frequently come with a twist. (Even something as obvious as the werewolf legend is handled in an interesting manner, emphasizing the psychological over the physical.) As usual, the magic never works quite as well as it is advertised: it's unreliable, or unpredictable, or dangerously addictive.
With high production values and a supporting cast full of British character actors, "The 10th Kingdom" has the mark of quality. But it wouldn't have amounted to much if the story weren't compelling. There are several things that make it work: a warm, natural chemistry between Laroquette, Williams, and Cohen, as the father, the daughter, and the enigmatic Wolf; two juicy villain performances by Wiest and Hauer; and a continual inventiveness on the part of the filmmakers, who seem to have put much thought into the subject of fairy tales, but who didn't let their hard work stop them from taking many risks with the material, making the story a lot more fun than it had to be.
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