Judgment

Abstract

For what you can get for the 10 dollars, this collection is definitely worth it, but you’ll have to decide if it’s worth seeing them all.

Merlin: Return (2000)

Lot:

A scholar awakens King Arthur and his knights, and the forces of good and evil fight again.

Revision :

A medium working with a scientist (played by a bored Tia Carrere) in modern England uses his powers and mind to evoke the essence of Mordred (Craig Schaeffer), a sworn enemy of King Arthur and Merlin since antiquity. Around the same time Merlin (Rick Mayall) travelled to the same period, using a portal of an underground cave to travel through time. Sliding through time he also wakes up Arthur (Patrick Bergin) and his greatest knights in time. Lancelot (Adrian Paul), Arthur’s trusted knight, and Guinevere (Julie Hartley), his lover, are also awake, but the drama follows because the last thing Arthur remembers is that Lancelot betrayed him. In the middle is also an American boy who has just moved to England with his mother, and he’s a regular freckle until he meets Merlin and the Knights, and he begins the adventure of a lifetime when Merlin takes him under his wing and teaches him magic. Mordred and Morgana (Grete Fox) arrive with their evil horde, and suddenly the modern landscape (and Stonehenge, which is central) becomes the next battlefield for Arthur and his enemies, with the ultimate prize, Excalibur.

Shot in South Africa and much more ambitious than he should have been, Merlin: The return is surprisingly interesting and graceful, especially with its sinister and terrifying special effects. There is a scene in which skeletal ghosts are evoked that remain in my mind, and the other peripheral effects are just as impressive. The actors are strong and everyone does their best, even though the Excalibur support must be one of the most brilliant swords in the history of cinema. Writer/director Paul Matthews has made the film as cool as possible, and although he has largely disappeared from the radar so far, he deserves to be seen.

The sorcerer’s apprentice (2001)

Lot:

When his new neighbor turns out to be the wizard Merlin, young Ben Clark is dragged into an age-old battle to save the world.

Overview

A young South African boy named Ben (Byron Taylor) moves his family to Ireland so that his father can work in an important museum function, and immediately the boy gives up his bad attitude towards his new life in the rather beautiful countryside. He hates his new school where he is bullied, despises his absent father and his outlook on life is all wrong. All he cares about is his village neighbor, Mr. Milner (the dishonest Robert Davy), who shows him a few sewing tricks, but then he pushes the boy away, for fear that he has shown him too much magic…. Because he is in fact the immortal Merlin of the Arthurian era, and to reveal his true face would be the fault of the devilish Morgana (Kelly Le Brock) who has hunted him for centuries. Morgana believes that Merlin has hidden his magic wand and his almighty talisman that can give him power over the world, and when she notices it when she looks at young Ben, she believes that he is training the boy to be his successor. It turns out that the child in fact has magical abilities in his head that have remained silent for millennia, because he is in fact a reincarnated knight and a friend of Merlin, in charge of maintaining the staff and the talisman for generations to come. While the child wakes up, Merlin goes to his assistant to repel Morgana in a short exhibition in the museum, where the staff always … has always been embedded in old rocks.

An innocent and twisting family film about swords and witchcraft in South Africa. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a suitable film that may seem a bit outdated for children and families these days, and it doesn’t offer much excitement or surprises, but it doesn’t really need them. It has a simple and relaxed approach, and if you’re willing to see and accept Robert Davy in a giant old Merlin wig and beard, then you can watch the movie at face value. Director David Lister has directed other low-budget science fiction films, including Blood of the Beasts, Beauty and the Beast (2010), which tells the same story, and The Last Leprechaun.

The Magic Gate (2007)

Lot:

The magic troll tries to defeat the black witch and find a magic door that brings him home with the help of Flip the Elf and the children Sally and Liam.

Revision :

Two young children, Liam and Sally (Liam and Alix Matthews), are going through a difficult time after their mother’s death, and their father (Anthony Head) and his short story Claire (Patsy Kensit) have to deal with their unconventional behaviour. The children live in the English countryside and love to play outside. One night they are visited by a friendly dwarf troll called Raglin (Mick Walter) who has been trying for years to find a magical door to return to his kingdom. The children don’t realize it yet, but the black witch (Jenny Agutter) has been chasing little Raglin for a while and is using the children to get to him. A helpful and brave fairy named Flip (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) helps, and the children and a troll are able to defeat the evil witch. Meanwhile, his desperate father and his girlfriend roam the countryside with police and detectives, convinced that they have been kidnapped or killed by a local tramp.

There’s not much to see here unless you pack Christmas Eve presents and there’s nothing else to see. The Magic Door can attract a very small audience, and it seems that these kinds of films are no longer being produced. There was a time when the Cannon group could distribute it as part of their fantastic series. It was written and directed by Paul Matthews.

The fairy king Ar (also known as Genesis) (1998)

Lot:

After learning that their grandmother’s crazy stories have an erratic basis in reality and that by freeing the fairies from the mine, they will find a cure for their terminally ill father, the two children fight for time to free the trapped fairies and save their father’s life.

Revision :

When the family’s old matriarch died, the Prestons inherited her estate in England, and no sooner were they there than they discovered that the stories of fairies, goblins and giant grandmothers told to the children were actually quite true. Crotchet’s caretaker (played by Malcolm McDowell) warns the family that the gates of hell are beneath the estate, but the family’s father (played by Corbin Bernsen) ignores the warning when he finds a gold mine on the property. His two children fall in love with the little flying fairies on their property, but when Daddy digs too deep into a gold mine, he lets go of the Fairy King (a scary looking creature better suited for a horror movie than a family movie), causing him a heart attack. When the father recovers at the hospital, the family is threatened by a horde of seemingly evil fairies… who eventually prove to the Preston’s – and the whole village – that they’re benevolent and only want to befriend humanity.

An unusual curiosity of director Paul Matthews (Merlin: The Returns), Fairy King Lar may seem cheap and unacceptable to most, but I found him strangely attractive and sincere, though unequal. It goes from cute and sweet to scary as hell, even though the target audience is family and children. I found this movie in a WalMart DVD box set, where you can also find a lot of other decent fantasy movies.

Excalibur Kid (1999)

Lot:

Zach doesn’t have the usual teenage problems. Located in medieval England, it lands in the middle of a brutal battle between an evil witch and Merlin, the master of witchcraft, for control of the kingdom of Arthur.

Revision :

A teenage boy named Zack (Jason McSkimming) complains about his family and his life and complains that he wasn’t born in the age of knights and dragons, and a witch named Morgause (Francesca Scorsone) has heard and seen him since time immemorial. This brings him back to the time of Arthur and Merlin, before Arthur pulled the sword Excalibur out of the stone and became king. The first thing Zack does (instead of declaring how he got there or wondering what on earth is going on) is to pull Excalibur out of the stone, using the black magic of Morgause to use the boy of the future as a puppet king. When Zack becomes king of the kingdom, Morgause makes many concessions to him (like a girl with a full belly at her disposal), but he turns out to be a half-modern king. When Zack discovers that Merlin and Arthur are real, he begins to realize that the future of England – and perhaps the world – is in danger because he has crossed time and drawn the sword of fate, so he defies Morgause and joins the clumsy Merlin to find Arthur (Mac Fife), who turns out to be a humble squire who has no idea what Zack means when he tells him to be the true King of England.

If you’re half awake and aren’t trying to pay attention, The Excalibur Kid may be a nice watch for you, but if you’re looking at it for some reason to explore, you’ll hang your head full of annoyance. The story is good, but she looks like a skeleton from a movie, with bones but no real meat to make her worth it. I have no idea who the audience for this film is anymore. Will the kids like it? Adults? Who knows? From Moonbeam Entertainment, an offshoot of Carl Band Full Moon Entertainment, it was directed by James Head and filmed against a background in Romania (where I was).

Blindness (1999) Plot :

An author of fantastic bestsellers is shocked when a real fairy shows up at his doorstep… and true love catches fire.

Tom (Maxwell Caulfield), author of a successful children’s book and widower, tries to cope with depression as the father of a little girl. His child’s teacher (played by Mia Sarah in school naivety) is frustrated that his daughter is constantly obsessed with fairies, and Tom’s publisher doesn’t want to publish his latest book because it’s so dark and gloomy. When a fallen fairy named Crystal (played by Chantell Stander) appears on his doorstep, completely naked and desperate, Tom greets her, not knowing how to deal with this embarrassing situation. Barely two minutes later Tom and Crystal are desperately in love, but Tom doesn’t realize that a sinister collector of fairy souls (played by a creepy green-eyed Jeff Fahey) is already chasing Crystal. So first he has to believe that fairies really exist and then figure out how to stop Crystal from collecting them so they can live happily. Meanwhile, two clumsy dwarf messenger fairies are on their way to help Crystal find her way back to the fairy world.

A cute little fantasy film set in South Africa (no one can hide their accent). Dazzle is similar to Splash, but with fairies. The budget is very modest, but everyone seems to invest in what it does, and although Fahey’s role is rather dark and scary, the film works for young people and families, despite the slight suggestion of nudity. From director David Lister, who also directed the fantastic Blood of the Beasts, Beauty and the Beast (2010) and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Film Le dernier lutin (1998) :

A witch disguises herself from marrying a rich man, but two brave children and a goblin thwart her plans.

Revision :

Project developer Henry Barridge (Jack Scalia) temporarily moves to Ireland with his two lovely children and his new wife Laura (Veronica Hamel), who is actually a witch with a sidekick called Simpson (David Warner, who seems very tired and bored). The kids are friends with the last gnome in the forest, a bouncing little guy named Finn Regan (Mick Walter in a fun and energetic performance), and Finn’s mission is to stop real estate developers from cutting down every tree in his kingdom. But there’s a big problem: The father of the children, Henry, was enchanted by his wife to cut down every tree in the valley, regardless of the environmental cost. So the children join forces with the goblin to help him in his task, and he helps them in their task: to denounce their mother-in-law as a witch and send her back to hell.

The Last Leprechaun was recorded in South Africa and directed by David Lister, who has made a career with fantastic films such as Blood of the Beasts, Dazzle, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and others. Best of all is Mick Walter, the sinister gnome who, despite the thick makeup on his face, even surpasses the children with his generous energy. Scalia and Warner seem confused.

Images of the Little Unicorn (2001) :

A young girl’s favorite horse dies, but her wish to get it back is granted in the form of a magical unicorn, which saddles her small town with a scandal.

Revision :

The young Polly (Brittney Boman) doesn’t get along with her rich mother, but she loves her grandfather (David Warner) very much and when she visits him for a while, she collapses when her beloved horse dies of old age. She would want the horse to come back somehow, and she and her grandfather are stunned when the horse comes back… like a magic unicorn! When the small village they live in catches a unicorn, the media invade their privacy and summon local thugs and even a few villains – including a circus master (played by Joe Penny from the film Jake and the Fatman) and his midget sidekick, and a poacher (played by George Hamilton) who wanders around to see if the magical creature is simply stealing. Meanwhile, Polly’s mother sends her to boarding school, which means she cannot protect her pet from outside forces. With the help of a local boy she manages to escape from boarding school and help a unicorn.

Another small South-African production by Paul Matthews, the director of Merlin: The Return and the King of the Ar Fairies, Little Unicorn is adequate family entertainment without a hint of refinement, which is probably a plus in these times of exaggerated sensationalism. It’s simple, effective and cute, and it’s designed for little girls, not boys, so pay attention. The fantastic elements are virtually non-existent, except for the unicorn itself.

The conspiracy of the Secret Empire (1997) :

The three children are transported to a miniature kingdom under their kitchen sink, but the country is ruled in a totalitarian way, so they join the resistance to turn the situation against the dictator and his followers.

Revision :

While their parents are away for the weekend, the three children at home go crazy when the middle son is accidentally carried into the secret kingdom under the sink. A teenager finds himself in a terrifying and dictatorial country ruled by a mad despot whose army and followers are blind or genetically adapted to his whims. Because the boy has no identity and no explicable history, his younger brother and older sister have to go home for him. When a boy and his sister are finally transported to a secret kingdom, they join the rebels fighting the despot, but things get complicated when the girl is also captured by the dictator’s henchmen. With some self-esteem problems, she’s easy prey for a dictator who promises to surgically change her appearance at will, and so she ends up in the farm of a young boy who gathers the rebels to finally go to war against the crazy despot.

Shot in Romania under a full moon, the Secret Kingdom begins well and soon becomes erratic when the children meet in the Secret Kingdom. He looks like one of those crazy nutcrackers from the fantastic 3D children’s movies, but he’s too weird, too scary and too talkative to please children. For a full moon it is interesting because there are no real special effects, although there are many characters with weird makeup and prosthetics. The film was directed by David Schmoller.

Pay attention: The 10th. The movie is called Dragon World: Legend Continues is also in this collection, but I didn’t think about it because I didn’t see the first Dragon World movie. I’m a purist, even at the lowest level, so I didn’t see the second movie first.

This DVD collection comes with three discs and a numeric code for all movies. For what you can get for the 10 dollars, this collection is definitely worth it, but you’ll have to decide if it’s worth seeing them all.

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