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Movie Review

The 10th Kingdom

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Reviewed by: C. I. Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Children to Adult
Genre:
Fantasy
Length:
5 hr.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Box art for “The 10th Kingdom”
Featuring: Kimberly Williams, John Larroquette, Scott Cohen, Daniel Lapaine, Dianne Wiest
Director: David Carson, Herbert Wise
Producer: _____
Distributor: _____

Imagine a world where fairy stories are real, where Cinderella and Snow White and Red Riding Hood grew up to be great queens and formed the 9 Kingdoms, a place where everyone lives happily ever after… until now. Prince Wendall’s crown has been cunningly and unknowingly overthrown by his wicked stepmother, the Queen, and at her beck and call is the Troll King and his doltish children, as well as Wolf, a part-human-part-wolf mix who often has trouble controlling his wolfish tendencies.

Virginia Lewis lives an ordinary life in an apartment with her janitor father, Tony, in New York, “at the edge of the forest,” as she calls Central Park. Only what she doesn’t know is that her world is about to be shattered when Prince Wendall, who has been turned into a dog by his stepmother, leaps through a magic mirror into “The 10th Kingdom.” When Wolf and the trolls follow him, Virginia finds herself in danger, and her father tricked into revealing her whereabouts by the gift of a magic bean that gives him five wishes. He wishes himself into trouble, and the only way they can escape is to flee through the mirror… and into the 9 Kingdoms.

Magic and mischief abound in this 6½ hour epic that spread its spell through a three-part miniseries on NBC, with so many twists and turns, unexpected horrors and thrills enough for the most hardened seekers, “The 10th Kingdom” puts together a mixture of Tolkien and Grimm that will please any fantasy lover. However, the film is not for everyone; no doubt proving too intense for young children, and often turning violent, with creatures ghoulish in appearance and jump scenes involving the Queen. Left unrated, I would give it a PG-13. Wolf, Tony, and Virginia encounter a gypsy camp and have their fortunes told; this later backfires. From a later mention of pregnancy, we discover that Wolf and Virginia have slept together before marriage. The Huntsman kills many people with his magic arrows; people are also poisoned. Also, some parents won’t like the whole magical “edge” of the film, although Wolf does say that the more one uses magic, the more one wants it. Wolf is accused of murdering a young girl whom he was flirting with earlier, although Virginia and Tony prove him innocent. The Queen’s many mirrors spy on people, and she pops up in the most unexpected moments.

In conclusion, with a few bumpy moments, “The 10th Kingdom” is an “almost clean” story of romance, adventure, and suspense.


Viewer Comments
Although the movie started out with some fun eye-candy and a good premise, I have to say that I couldn’t get past the scene with the father (Tony) making a wish that his arrogant boss and his entire family would just kiss his a__ (no bleeping here) and serve him as slaves for the rest of eternity. The next half hour was spent watching these people attempting to do explicitly that. I am not a prude, but I do know that according to the bible we are to rise above “course jesting” and vulgar language. Interspersed with those scenes we watch the wolf-man make no doubt about his intentions with the main character, Virginia, and it wasn’t just to enjoy her a’la’ Little Red Riding Hood.

I was watching with two 8 year old girls, a 12 year old boy and a 15 year old boy. The 15 year old left before these scenes. I pulled the plug when the father was making suggestions that he would like to have his boss’ wife. As for the moral rating above, I would put it as “simply offensive” if there was such a category. It is not VERY offensive, I’ve seen worse, but “average-somewhat offensive” doesn’t convey the fullness of vulgarity, either. FAMILY entertainment? Is this what our Christian culture is accepting these days? No wonder we are not making a difference out there—there’s no difference in here. To close: good premise, poor delivery. My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—M.Silies, age 41
I liked the movie a lot, and I sincerely hope they make a sequel and a good one to. My favorite actor had to be Scott Cohen as Wolf.
—Amy Davis, age 24
“The 10th Kingdom” is now one of my favorite movies. I love fantasy and for once it wasn’t filled with wizards and sorcery, but fairytale magic that reminds me of the stories I loved as a kid. I watched the last 4 hours with my best friend, and we couldn’t even pause it! I was disappointed by the later sexual relationship (though nothing is shown) between Wolf and Virgina. I’m sure they meant it to leave the door wide open for a sequel, but it is something they definitely could have left out. Other than that I found very little to be offended by in the movie. My friend and I thought it was beautifully done and very funny… especially the part near the end with the talking frog. If you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend it. The first two hours are the hardest to get through, but once you get into the 9th Kingdom, you’re trapped and it won’t let you go till the very end. Enjoy it! My Ratings: [4/4½]
—Estella, age 17
I thought this was the best fantasy movie I have seen in a very long time! Well, it’s taken me a long time, but I finally found a really good web page for “The 10th Kingdom”! I found practically nothing to offend me, altough there were some parts which were a bit boring! I was wondering does anyone out there know whether there is going to be a second series? I’m dying to know! Please let there be a 2nd series! If any producers see this web page plllleeeaaasseee make one!
—Alice, age 14, non-Christian
I thought “The 10th Kingdom” was wonderful, truly a “magical world” in the best sense of the phrase. As a Christian, I found very little to offend and plenty to agree with. It is an age-old morality tale where good always triumphs in the end. I’m glad that the reviewer picked up on the fact that the magic spells are not seen as good, but rather as something akin to drugs, which superficially appear to give you pleasure, but rather suck you in to sin. Thought the character of “Wolfie” especially was excellently written and performed. Looking forward to the next series! My Ratings: [4/4½]
—James Taylor, age 40
Negative—The 10th Kingdom, while a very cleverly done film utilizing twists on fairy tales and common phrases from movies sinks below it’s “could be a classic” rating. We are to be in the world, but not OF the world. There is sexual innuendo, pre-marital sex (nothing visual—just allusion to it, with the noise of a scuffle after some innuendo), and also referred to at the end of the movie that the main character may be carrying a child).

Uses of God’s name (some misused, some an exclamation when encountering danger). John Larroquete, a la “Night Court” continues in that skirt chasing, course jesting attitude. I had invited some boys in the neighborhood over as these fantasy/medieval movies are usually fun, but was very uncomfortable with the innuendo and the allusion to pre-marital sex.

This was a Hallmark Entertainment film, and so I thought that it would be as “family-friendly” as “Hallmark” movies used to be—I was wrong, sad to say. This could have been done just as well and been just as entertaining, if they had pulled back. This would have been rated PG-13, by me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Laurel, age 52 (USA)