This disc went on a lot longer than I was expecting. It was almost 3 hrs long. I just looked on Wikipedia and the whole mini-series is 10 hrs, so I’m guessing each disc is going to be of equal length. Considering how much I enjoyed this, that is a good thing.
The quick and dirty synopsis is that Prince Wendell, of the 4th Kingdom, is due to be crowned king soon. The Evil Queen, who killed Wendell’s parents, is in magical prison but with the help of the Troll King, escapes and makes Wendell change places with her dog. Wendell, as a dog now, escapes through a magic mirror into New York City, where he meets Virginia and her father. The Evil Queen sends the Troll King’s 3 children after Wendell as well as Wolf, who was also being kept in Magical Prison. They all follow Wendell through the mirror into New York. The troll siblings claim the land, which they think is the mythical 10th Kingdom, for the trolls. The trolls and Wolf track down Wendell to Virginia and her father Tony’s apartment.Wolf falls instantly in love with Virginia. Magical, funny things happen and everyone heads back through the magic mirror to the 4th Kingdom.
Virginia and Tony, along with Wolf and Wendell (who can talk to Tony due to some of the magical shenanigans back in NY) are all being chased by the Troll Siblings. They get split up, come back together and begin chasing down the magic mirror so they can return to NY. We get a history lesson of the land that brings us up to speed. The Troll King reneges on his deal with the Evil Queen and decides to take over the 4th Kingdom for himself. The Evil Queen realizes Wolf isn’t going to help her and sends her Huntsman after the group. Our Gang runs into a group of Gypsies and Virginia gets cursed with Rapunzel hair. At this point Prince Wendell is now a gold statue of a dog due to Tony getting greedy with a Midas spell. He’s getting dragged along by Tony on a little cart. Wolf hides them from the Hunstman so he can find the Woodsman, a man with a mythical axe. This axe can cut anything, including Virginia’s ever growing hair and that will break the curse. Of course, Virginia sneezes at the most inopportune time and gets captured by the Huntsman while Tony and Wolf attempt to track her down to rescue her.
I have obviously left out a lot of details, but needless to say, I was amused. The digital FX were definitely dated but thankfully there is very little of that. The actors carry the story and I want to talk about a couple of them.
Virginia and her dad Tony
Virginia is played by Kimberly Williams. She’s a waitress whose mom left when she was 7 and her dad, while loving her, is pretty self absorbed. All she wants is to lead a normal life and open her own restaurant. She is the epitome of “the little feisty girl” and at one point even pushes Wolf out of a second story window with a broom. How can you not love that? Tony is played by John Larroquette and my goodness, is he good in that role. He gets a magic bean that grants him 6 wishes, but they all go wrong in various ways and that is what leads him to jump through the mirror. He has the bumbling, selfish yet lovable dad thing down pat. He is such a jumble of good, bad and mediocre that you know he’s going to get in trouble, and yet you can’t wait to see HOW he’s going to get into trouble.
Virginia and the Big Bad Wolf
Wolf is played by Scott Cohen, and much like Laroquette, really nails the part. He’s constantly rubbing his eye with his forearm, howling, making little in the throat dog noises and saying things like “huff , puff”. Being part of the Nine Kingdoms, he’s very much our channel into the thinking of that land. Since he’s with Virginia and Tony so much, it helps explain a lot.
Wendell is actually 2 characters here. One is the Real Prince Wendell in a dog’s body that is with Virginia, Tony and Wolf and the second character is Dog in Prince Wendell’s body. He is played by Daniel Lapaine. He only has to do the voice over for the dog part but where he really shines is as Dog ala Prince Wendell. Whoever was directing definitely gave a lot of thought to what a dog would be like who suddenly had a human body. He’s constantly on his hands and knees looking for bones. There is one scene near the beginning where he’s in the carriage and they’re racing along and his head is out the window with his tongue lolling out, exactly like how you see dogs in cars today. Priceless! He’s not to fond of being a human, but since the Evil Queen is his master, he does what she says, because she’s his master. Very dog like 🙂
The Troll King and The Evil Queen
Now we come to the main villains of the piece. The Troll King is rescuing his inept kids from prison at the beginning of the movie and that is how he gets involved with the Evil Queen. He is played by Ed O’Neil and I don’t envy him having to wear all that makeup and prosthetics. I bet it was wicked uncomfortable. He’s not particularly bad, he’s just a troll who wants everything, now. The Evil Queen, played by Dianne Wiest, was a just a bit of a let down. We’re told she’s evil and that she poisoned Wendell’s parents (hence her being in prison) and her plans for taking over the 4th Kingdom certainly make her SOUND evil. She didn’t come across as an Evil Mastermind though, more of a tired woman going through the motions, rather harried instead of being in control. Part of the issue is she doesn’t have as much screen time, but then, neither did the Troll King. I don’t know that I would have noticed it so much if it weren’t for how well I thought the other actors portrayed their characters.
I’ve been doing some looking around as I was writing this and it turns out there are about a bajillion different releases of this miniseries starting out with vhs up to a more recent bluray. Turns out that 10hr run time was for tv, as this was released in 5 episodes, each being 2hrs with ads. Various video releases range from 6 to 8hrs. We’re watching the Hallmark/Artisan version from 2000 and the runtime is 417 minutes in full screen. This was not episodic in we viewed it, but was put together as one big movie.
While I had a lot of fun watching this, I was also glad to take a break after the first disc. 2 3/4 hours was enough for one session.