The 10th Kingdom
Release Year: 2000
Running Time: 6 hour 57 minutes
I’m diving into the gloriously cheesy pool for this week’s Film Friday. “The 10th Kingdom” was a TV mini series that aired back in 2000, which incorporated elements of well known fairytales and pop culture references to create almost 7 hours of corny fun. I watched this series as a tween when it first aired and loved every second of it. Recently, I stumbled across it again and decided to do a rewatch.
The plot goes thusly, Virginia Lewis (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) a young waitress living in New York is pulled into a parallel universe with her father (John Larroquette) after she accidentally hits a dog with her bike. The dog, it turns out, is the cursed grandson of Snow White who’s on the run from three trolls and a wolf who were hired by the evil queen (Dianne Wiest) to kill him. Trapped in the alternate dimension, Virginia and her father strive to find a way back home while reluctantly helping the cursed prince save his kingdom.
“The 10th Kingdom” is a fluffy piece of goodness, filled with bright colors and oddball characters. If you’re into fairytale retellings you’ll be tickled at all the references sprinkled throughout the series (Little Red Riding Hood, Little Bo Peep, Snow White, Cinderella, etc.). While some of the scenes and special effects are extremely corny, the overall story still works. It helps that there are a lot of great actors populating the series. In addition to the ones already mentioned, it also has Ed O’Neill playing Relish the troll king and Rutger Hauer as the Huntsman.
The only areas where the series really failed was in its handling of Virginia’s relationship with her mother. Throughout the entire story, it’s shown that Virginia is still bothered that her mother abandoned her when she was only seven. While this bit of backstory is brought-up throughout the series, the scenes dealing with it always felt forced. It might be because Viriginia was all over the place with her emotions concerning it. So, you never had the opportunity to connect with her on the issue because you didn’t know where she really stood. This all leads up to what is supposed to be a huge dramatic moment where Virginia and her father finally discuss what happened. However, the scene is the most cringe-worthy point of the series with how out of place and forced it felt.
Despite that moment and a couple of throw away plot developments that irked me, I still enjoyed watching this again. The main reason is because the dynamic between Wolf (Scott Cohen) and Virginia worked well. Wolf is an extremely passionate character, who is constantly bouncing excitedly from one thing to another. I absolutely loved his over-the-top enthusiasm about everything he encounters. So, pairing him with the down-to-earth Virginia was a lot of fun to watch as she is often completely overwhelmed and exasperated with him.
If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings and like campy films, this is worth a watch.