The 10th Kingdom: “Love will find a way, if you want it to”, so spake progressive rock group Yes, but I don’t think even they counted beastiality as being on the cards.
Virginia Lewis (Father of the Bride‘s Kimberley Williams) is your all-American gal who lives with her handyman father Tony (John Larroquette), works as a waitresses and dreams of finding the man who will one day sweep her off her feet.
She’s soon to come into contact with a world she’s never known before since the place where she lives, near Central Park in New York, is a mere stone’s throw from a vortex to the Nine Kingdoms, a place where fairy tales are turned on their heads. Central Park happens to be the 10th Kingdom in the title where trolls, led by Relish (Ed O’Neill, aka Al Bundy in Married.. with Children), emerge looking for Prince Wendell (Daniel Lapaine).
The prince’s problem is that he’s been turned into a dog by The Evil Queen (Dianne Wiest) and what follows is seven hours of fantasy and humour with added special effects, but that can get a little violent and extreme at times, hence the 15-certificate. The extensive and talented cast also includes Ann-Margaret, Rutger Hauer, Jimmy Nail and Robert Hardy.
“Someday, my prince will come” ?
The picture is quite reasonable having been presented in the original NTSC video format as opposed to converting it to PAL, which would’ve resulted in a significant loss of quality and given that most people will connect their DVD player to the TV with a SCART or S-video lead, it makes sense.
I’m presuming the series was shot in standard 4:3 fullscreen, as shown here, but I haven’t found any confirmation that it was made in 16:9 although that is tending to become the norm. The feature is split over 3 discs and the average bitrate of the first is 4.38Mb/s, occasionally peaking over 8Mb/s.
The soundtrack is in Dolby Surround and when special FX are used, it twinkles along nicely and effectively enough but it’s not something that will tax your speakers. The original score comes courtesy of The Art of Noise‘s Anne Dudley.
The extras are all on disc one and begin with a 22-minute featurette,The Making of The 10th Kingdom, which is a standard affair mixing cast and crew chat with programme clips and B-roll footage. The rest is textual information labelled Cast and Crew, giving biogs and filmogs for all the main actors, About the Characters, Production Notes and individual about each of the worlds in The Kingdoms.
The set contains 10 chapters for each episode, totalling 100 which is an excellent amount, but there are no subtitles which is a shame. The menus have subtle animation between them, but only the extras menu has animation and sound. The three discs are packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve.
Running time: 415 minutes
Studio: Warner Vision International
Region(s): 2, NTSC
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
Disc Format: 2*DVD 9 and 1*DVD 5
Directors: David Carson and Herbert Wise
Producers: Brian Eastman, Simon Moore and Jane Prowse
Screenplay: Simon Moore
Music: Anne Dudley
Virginia Lewis: Kimberley Williams
Wolf: Scott Cohen
Antony ‘Tony’ Lewis: John Larroquette
Prince Wendell: Daniel Lapaine
The Evil Queen/Christine Lewis: Dianne Wiest
Snow White: Camryn Manheim
Queen Cinderella: Ann-Margaret
Relish, the Troll King: Ed O’Neill
Huntsman: Rutger Hauer
Blabberwort the Troll: Dawnn Lewis
Clayface the Goblin: Jimmy Nail
Chancellor Griswold: Robert Hardy
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.