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September 6, 2003
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Hidden Gems

— Posted by John Campea

I wanted to draw your attention to some Hidden Gems on the rental shelves. These are not movies that “should have won an Oscar” and do not stand out as blindingly good acting or unforgettable moments.

1) The 10th Kingdom – 3 VHS or DVD

Two centuries after Snow White and Cinderella had their adventures, the Nine Kingdoms ready themselves for the coronation of Prince Wendel, Snow White’s grandson, to the throne of the Fourth Kingdom. But an evil once-queen has freed herself from prison, and turns the prince into a golden retriever. Wendel, by means of a magic mirror, escapes into a hitherto-unknown Tenth Kingdom (modern day New York City) and meets Virginia and her father Tony. They re-enter the 9 Kingdoms in an adventure to save the world from the evil Queen.

This movie features every actor you forgot about including John Larroquette (Night Court), Kimberly Williams (Father of the Bride), Ed O’Neill (Married with Children, Dragnet) and Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Ladyhawk) and a whole pile of other forgettable “somebody’s” that we all know but haven’t seen in a LONG time. Its good fun with some borderline adult context that you can still show most kids. It was originally viewed as a TV mini series. The only drawback is that it is VERY long and likely not easy to find.

2) Merlin

The Arthurian legend is again retold, only this time from the perspective of the life of Merlin. The story begins with young Merlin being schooled in magic by the evil sorceress, Mab, and her apprentice, Frik. Merlin ultimately rejects her tutelage setting up a war between them which leads to her attack on Arthur.

The predecessor to The 10th Kingdom, presented also as a TV Miniseries features other actors of note in another well presented fantasy movie that promises fun and adventure. Sam Neill (Jurrassic Park), Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, Planet of the Apes) and Martin Short (SCTV, Saturday Night Live) dominate the stage, as we see this legend through the only eyes present its whole course. Its a beautiful tale, and well worth the viewing.

Like I said, no Oscars here, but I loved these movies. Each installment made me crave more.

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  • http://angryamerican.blogspot.com Jake

    Both are very very good. I was thrilled to find 10th Kingdom at my local movie store two weeks ago. I had to rent it just for old times sake. I also thought that the Jack and the Beanstalk movie was also good, but not nearly as good as the 10th Kingdom and Merlin.

  • http://www.johncampea.com John

    Yeah, I’ve got to agree. I haven’t seen 10th Kingdom, but I remember watching Merlin when it was on tv. Man I loved it. I don’t think I ever realized you could actually rent it. I guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow night.

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