Apart from the terrible acting from an okay cast and some dodgy directing, this isn't too bad a story. As a film though, it's only average. Though the cast has B-Movie king Casper Van Dien (who directed this flick), Catherine Oxenberg, and Michael York listed, their worth in this film is minimal. The real bad thing is their lack of spirit is tangible. Poor York is the narrator and appears to have literally phoned his part in. There's no emotion or feeling in his voice; something which is a basic requirement in a narrator. Even though, Van Dein and Oxenberg, as Sleeping Beauties regal parents, are asleep for the majority of the movie they actually appear to be sleepwalking in their "awake" scenes. Even Olivia D'Abo who has a meatier role as the evil witch, Queen Tambria, ofttimes appears to be a somnambulist. The best actors in this little play are the Kings whipping boy, Barrow (Finn Jones) and the Prince Jayson (Edward Lewis French) along with his heavy Gruner (Gil Kolirin), and his soldiers. What this film really appears to be is an exercise in how many Van Dien's you can get on the screen in one film... that would be all of them. Most families would have a picnic... the Van Diens make a movie. The one thing that did surprise me was the location. For one, it actually worked. It even reminded me a little of the Hammer House Of Horror sets of far-off European principalities - it even came with a graveyard and earth clawing walking dead. Even the inside locations were decent. It was a delight to see proper stone walls. I would love to live in that mansion come castle. That said, there were a lot of gaping holes in the story that Dien should have ironed out when filming. For example, there's one scene where Prince Jayson sends Barrow up the castle walls to secure a rope through the only open window. Instead of getting him to check the place out while he's up there, he orders him to come straight down and they will camp in the courtyard, for the night. Then later the next day, they're being chased by dead warriors and climb the rope to escape only to find it leads to a balcony, with no entrance into the castle... hhhmmm, if only somebody had looked around before then they wouldn't be in this predicament. I cannot believe they were so stupid back then. This is bad writing and directing. There are some nice beasties in the film, though you can see when the budget started to run low. The lake monster is pretty good, as is the one which scales the outside of the building the first night they're there. However, near the climax of the film, the same monster is looking pretty funny and quite unrealistic as it prowls the dungeons. On the whole, this film could have been a hell of a lot better had the "Quality" cast put the effort into their portrayals of their characters... the story had been tightened and all the holes filled... and ropey special effects thrown onto the cutting room floor. You shouldn't rely on CGI if the budget won't carry it, find another way round to entertain the audience. If there's very little on the telly and it's miserable outside then you could give this a try. It'll waste an hour and a half.
When a young Prince and his trusted aid learn of a beautiful Princess's cursed eternal slumber, they embark on a journey to rescue her. They must battle an evil queen and legions of undead monsters before she will be free.
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April 12, 2019