It’s embarrassing to admit, but A Wizard’s Tale – a film intended for small children – took me a while to finish. The storytelling, so hyper. The humour, so random. And no matter how many times I rewatched pivotal parts, I was still left dumbfounded. When our heroes reached a kingdom of “balloon-people”, I knew I wasn’t losing it – the movie was.
A Wizard’s Tale is colourful nonsense designed to occupy kids for around 95 minutes. But instead of this children’s fantasy delivering the next Shrek, it rivals the junky obliviousness of Doogal or The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure.
Devoid of continuity, the plot follows a quest featuring unlikely heroes who will try and save a princess’ kingdom from being eternally down in the dumps. The gloomy spell is provided by a disgraced wizard formally known as “the Grin” but now goes by his evil title “the Grump” (voiced by Ian McShane). Our underdogs: a ditzy princess named Dawn (voiced by Lily Collins) and a young boy named Terry (voiced by Toby Kebbell) who has been whisked away to this magical world while maintaining his late Grandmother’s amusement park.
My one compliment is given to the voice cast. Despite their characters being unlikeable and unfunny, they don’t shortchange the production with phoned-in performances. You believe Collins as an airhead, McShane as a gruff villain, and Kebbell as a ne’er-do-well dweeb who has to step up to save the day. The rest of the movie, however, is a disconnected mess that will surely overwhelm youngsters. Screenwriter Jim Hecht (who co-wrote Ice Age 2: The Meltdown) likes to propose silly ideas, but has difficulty backing them up and stringing them together. Director Andrés Couturier is just as clueless as he tries to translate everything through rubbery animation that could use more time and effort.
A Wizard’s Tale, an alleged fun adventure for children, ultimately fizzles out from being undercooked.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie