A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this mostly live-action movie has many dark, scary sequences that might be disturbing for the very young or those who have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality. It isn't simply the animated creature jeopardy (monsters, serpents, beasts), but there are shrouded, ghoulish humans as well, and a mystery that is less suspenseful than confusing. The film's "comedy" involves a character who uses insults like "How gay is that?," "She has lesbian delusions," and "fetus town." The romance, despite the murky circumstances that surround it, is sweet; the princess has all the attributes of royalty: kindness, beauty, intelligence, and courage. It's an odd mix of elements -- a princess, danger, myths, and grown-up sexual insults.
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What's the story?
William (Kip Pardue) is a lost soul, a trust-fund kid with no direction in life. Then he meets the strangely private, beautiful Princess Ithaca (Nora Zehetner) at her annual charity ball. A miscommunication leads the princess to believe he is a "Searcher" (a mysterious character who has been sent to help her find a mysterious someone). William, thinking she's just a little crazy but really beautiful and sweet, goes along with it. Their search takes the two of them on a quest in which they and a number of mythical creatures (a mermaid, wood nymphs, and some helpless but scary beasts) are in jeopardy. The story unravels slowly, and it isn't until just before the end that the puzzle of the Princess Ithaca is solved.
Is it any good?
It isn't easy to determine who this made-for-TV movie is meant for. It's part fairy tale romance for little girls, part "dragon killer" mystery for young action fans who aren't very selective, and part modern, not-very-funny insult comedy for grown-ups. The combination doesn't work, especially when none of the elements is well-executed. Even fairy tales depend upon plots that have some logic and consistent rules -- this one doesn't. The hapless hero never gets a chance to be heroic; the beautiful princess is perfect from beginning to end and has no place to grow; and the animated mythical "creatures" are so poorly conceived and realized that they provide the only comic relief.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how special effects are done, including computer animation. Which images are live-action, and which are a combination of live-action and animation? How can you tell?
What do you think about the film's suggestion that the legends surrounding the mythological creatures in the film may be based on some ancient truth?
Why do you think William waited so long to tell Princess Ithaca the truth about his purpose?
Themes & Topics
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