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10th Kingdom

A made-for-TV fantasy movie directed by Herbert Wise.

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Happily Ever After Didn't Last as Long as They had Hoped (film only)

  • Nov 11, 2010
Once upon a time, a young woman lived at the edge of a forest known in one of the many tall towers upon the island of Manhattan. Every day she went to work. She took care of her father, and dutifully visited her grandmother. Virginia thought that she was no one very special, and she was quite certain everyone else knew it too.

She almost never thought about the mother who left them so suddenly years ago. She also never thought about who or where her mother might be now, only that it was somehow her fault her mother chose to leave. If she had only been beautiful enough, talented enough, socially desirable enough... Virginia is sure her mother would have stayed.

Far away in a parallel universe, on one perfectly ordinary day that began like any other, Prince Wendel White begins his coronation tour. Beginning with the Snow White Maximum Security Memorial Prison where he plans to preside over his wicked step-mother's parole hearing, Wendel walks right into the Evil Queen's escape plan!

Transformed into the form of a golden retriever, Wendel runs for his life. Winding his way through the prison's storage area, he is pursued by three troll siblings and a potentially bad, although not particularly big, Wolf who do the bidding of his wicked step-mother. Slipping through a forgotten magic mirror, Wendel's only hope of regaining his human form and his kingdom, suddenly lies in the hands of cynical Virgina and her ne'er-do-well father.

In the tradition of all great kings and queens of the Nine Kingdoms, Prince Wendel is now firmly stuck in his own fairy tale! Will anyone besides the powerful and devious Queen be able to find a happily ever after?

~~~~~~~~~ My Thoughts ~~~~~~

"No, no! "Rare" implies dangerously cooked. When I say rare I mean just let it look at the oven in terror, then bring it out to me." Wolf

Released in February of 2000, this made for TV mini-series is a truly delightful fantasy adventure for viewers of all ages! At a full run time of just over 400 minutes, 10th Kingdom holds up very well for repeat viewing, but does require more than a single sitting. The humor, enchanting characters, and general story manages to be entertaining and appropriate for adults and kids alike, with a minimum of mild language along the way.

It did not receive an abundance of attention or praise during it's initial release, but fantasy fans continue to devour this wonderful piece on DVD where it can be enjoyed at leisure. I particularly enjoy the marvelous sense of humor that permeates the 10th Kingdom from beginning to end.

The interplay of the three troll siblings, the unlikely romance between Virgina and Wolf, pokes at our own society, and the over the top fairytale dilemmas and situations that are found throughout the film are enchanting through every viewing. 10th Kingdom has just enough moments of cynicism, darkness and deeper thought to round out the outrageous characters and running gags.

"Ya got wool on your face, Ya big disgrace! Waving your fleece all over the place! Singing, we will we will shear you!" Virginia

Written by Simon Moore, 10th Kingdom did win an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design. The diverse and talented cast have a wonderful chemistry, and did a marvelous job of bringing the people and world of 10th Kingdom to life.

Light or dark, everyone in our family has a favorite scene that we wait for eagerly each time around. The singing ring's rant and Virginia's improvised song for the Shepherdess contest, built around Queen's "We Will Rock You" are Must See moments for everyone!

Like all good fairy tales though, our heroes are in search of more than just a happy ending. Each one must learn to recognize and overcome their own shortcomings, and like people everywhere, some emerge from their fairy tale stronger... and some discover that they do not have enough faith in themselves to break free of their self-imposed illusions and capture a real happy ending. Their combined journey of self-discovery however, continues to entertain, fascinate and inspire us.

"You are still lost in the forest. But lonely, lost girls like us can rescue themselves. You are standing on the edge of greatness. " Snow White

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January 23, 2011
I cannot believe that I almost missed this review! I need to give this one a look since I am such a sucker for stories with strong fantasy elements.
November 15, 2010
I enjoyed this over all, but I felt that tonally it was very uneven. At times it seemed like it was meant for kids and the at other times decidedly not. I also wish the trolls had been portrayed as a more serious threat.
November 16, 2010
I think perhaps the trolls were at their most threatening during the "rush a torture, ruin a torture" scene, but I also feel that their comedic incompetence made it easier for the heroes, and through them the audience, to under-estimate them as the very real threat they are throughout the film. Certainly the Huntsman and the Queen herself are far more impressive as villians in this piece though. However, 10th Kingdom does have a lot to say about the dangers of appearance, biased perception and shallow judgements in general. The mushrooms, for example, were also deceptively simplistic as a potential threat, and yet they nearly ended the story for both Virgina and her father. The fairies and gypsies who appeared at first to be friendly, become potentialyl lethal threats as well. I would go so far as to say that one of the major points this work makes is that ultimately, no threat is quite as great as the danger we put ourselves into with bad choices and stubborn blindness, especially in regards to Shadow material. There are both good and bad ways in which to never grow up. 10th Kingdom gives us a curiously amusing look at both sides of that fence, but when you get right down to it... I think that all of its light-hearted fantasy is like a heavy sugar-coating to help us swallow the bitter medicine of the tale's darker truths. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I greatly appreciate your thought-provoking points! It most definitely can feel uneven, but then I also feel that my own progress in the unfolding act of being human is uneven in pacing at best! lol Perhaps this aspect for me, lent it a greater feel of reality. :o) wishing you laughter
November 16, 2010
The Huntsman was a wonderful addition and Rutger Hauer was the perfect actor to play that part as he can be both extremely intimidating and simultaneously charismatic. He almost seemed to be a character from a different film.

I think probably what hurt this miniseries the most was that it was advertised as being more family-oriented than it was, which lead me to believe I was going to be seeing something different. It also didn't help that the first two hours or so were very light and comedic and didn't hint much at the darker portions of the story later on (such as the revelation regarding the Queen/Mother and what happened with her and Virginia), which weren't really something that you'd expect to see or want to see in a film meant for young children. That's what makes fairy tales so difficult to adapt for modern mediums. Originally they were very dark and gruesome and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries they've been watered down so much that we almost forget about their adult themes and dark potentiality. Arthur Rackham was really the last person to address this and even he was working in a medium, illustration, that was considered to be for children.
More The 10th Kingdom reviews
review by . November 30, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Acting, adult fairy tales, different, downright fun     Cons: A few hokey moments (but those can't really be helped)     The Bottom Line: If you're tired of all the crap on television and want to escape, this is the proper way to do it.  Just remember that Happy Ever After doesn't last forever...     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Back when I was, yikes, about 15 or so, Hallmark put together …
About the reviewer
Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #10
Hello, my name is Quinn. :o) I also answer to Mom, YaYa, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe these to be true and sacred things … more
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About this movie


Virginia (Williams) and her father Tony (Larroquette) encounter a stray dog wandering the streets of New York City. The dog turns out to be Snow White's Prince Wendell under a spell by an evil queen (Wiest) who plans to rule his kingdom! In an effort to help the prince, they follow him through a magic mirror into a mystical world where trolls, giants, and goblins wander and fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood actually happened. They confront the wicked queen and a battle of good versus evil commences in a display of astonishing visual effects. An adventure for the entire family from the producers of the hit television mini-series MERLIN. Originally airing on NBC as a five-part mini-series.
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Director: Herbert Wise
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: Artisan Entertainment (May 09, 2000)
Runtime: 6hr 30min
Studio: Hallmark
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