The King’s Daughter has a lot of strikes against it. It wrapped in 2014, and it shows. It’s a shameless Pirates of the Caribbean wannabe, with the romantic lead resembling an Orlando Bloom-Johnny Depp mashup. The other performances are broadly mannered. The overlit locations look as if they belong on stage or on a television show. And, the effects are a little hokey.
I arrived at a crossroads with The King’s Daughter. I could stay on this path of believing I was better than the movie, or I could check my jaded outlook at the door and open my mind to this off-beat flick. I chose the latter path, and I’m glad I did; because it made me enjoy the movie a whole lot more and understand who would be delighted by it.
The King’s Daughter will be a little kid’s new favourite movie. They may not fully comprehend the story, which is convoluted and could’ve been watered down a bit more. But, the youngsters will be too swept up in the movie’s fantasy elements to really care. It reminded me of when I first saw Labyrinth or Ever After: A Cinderella Story, though those movies are in a different league than The King’s Daughter, which may not be timeless but it’s still a good time.
King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) embarks on a personal journey for immortality, and kidnaps an enchanting mermaid (The 355’s Bingbing Fan) to achieve his goal. The film cuts to the chase fast with the mermaid, and the movie doesn’t draw anything out by having other characters discover the creature and being inspired by its powers. There’s a lack of nuance but, then again, the fast pace fits accordingly. Likewise for a power play involving the mermaid being used as a bargaining chip to get King Louis’ daughter to marry “the right person”.
The King’s Daughter is flamboyant camp that, with the right attitude, can be genuinely appreciated as entertaining fare for the PG crowd. It’s a step up for director Sean McNamara, who is usually a hired gun for surface-level kids flicks and has a vast resume of that ilk. The King’s Daughter shows fun filmmaking effort from McNamara that I would like to see more of in the future. Hopefully it doesn’t take him another nine years to get that movie to me.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie