A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Leprechaun is a 1998 movie about a leprechaun and two kids who try to thwart the evil plans of a greedy butler and a frightening woman who is possessed by a banshee. The banshee woman is the biggest concern -- especially for younger viewers -- as she is quite frightening, and coupled with shrieking and howling cheesy audio effects, you have a nightmare in the making for sensitive viewers. Aside from this, the butler is fond of eating bugs he comes across while in barns, for no discernible reason. There's also a healthy dose of comedic pratfalls -- characters falling out of windows, falling into pig troughs, and flinging each other in the face with food.
What's the story?
In the basement of an Irish mansion, Simpson the butler (David Warner) casts a spell and brings a banshee back to life in the hopes that the banshee will help him find gold and make him rich. Instead, the banshee demands to possess a human body, and as the banshee makes this demand, the Lady of the House, Laura (Veronica Hamel), goes down the basement stairs. Simpson casts the banshee into Laura, and learns too late that the banshee will not be serving him, but the other way around. Meanwhile, two children from America -- Ethel and Tommy -- are sent to live with their stepmother-to-be Laura while they await the arrival of their real estate developer father (Jack Scalia). As they realize something is terribly wrong and evil with Laura and Simpson, they begin to see a leprechaun named Finn. It's up to the kids to protect both Finn and their father from the clutches of Laura and Simpson, and they must prove to their father that Laura is, in fact, a banshee.
Is it any good?
THE LAST LEPRECHAUN is marred by cheesy audio special effects and over-the-top acting, especially in the case of Veronica Hamel. She shrieks and moans and howls her way through her role of a greedy woman possessed by a banshee. Much of the movie, in fact, seems over the top. Why does the butler eat roaches while in the barn? Why are there so many pratfalls? Why the food fights? It all seems done just to provide shock value to keep the audience engaged through a subpar story.
Speaking of: While the storyline should be easy to follow, quite often, it isn't. A butler brings a banshee back to life in the form of his boss, and she wants to sell land to energy interests while brainwashing her husband-to-be while trying to scare away her husband-to-be's children, while a leprechaun gallivants about and has gold stashed away somewhere, and the kids must convince their father that his fiance is actually a banshee. Something like that. It's a lot to take in, with no real payoff, and everything about the acting and special effects make this one difficult -- if not impossible -- to care one way or the other how it all, predictably enough, ends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about leprechaun movies. How is this one similar to and different from other movies involving leprechauns?
How did the movie represent Irish culture and folklore? Was this an accurate depiction? Did you learn anything about Irish culture?
Did you find the story confusing? How could the story have been told in a clearer way?
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