Magic in the Mirror (1996)

Starring Jamie Renée Smith, Kevin Wixted, Saxon Trainor, David Brooks, Godfrey James, Eileen T’Kaye, Eugen Cristian Motriuc, Ion Haiduc, Ileana Sandulescu, Daniela Marzavan, Mihai Niculescu

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


B-Movies are always subjectively entertaining, so when I say that I found Magic in the Mirror to be one of the best Moonbeam films, I do so knowing full well that there will be others who absolutely can’t stand it. This usually should go without saying for any review, but with this movie I feel it bears repeating. One real key to my enjoyment of this movie (and not immediate & complete rejection) is that I love Howard the Duck. Yes, the movie. So the mere idea that Full Moon made a movie with a race of giant ducks was enough to put a smile on my face. The ducks of Magic in the Mirror are definitely not as well-realized as Howard in his film, but I found their limitations to be part of the charm (especially the flying). Anyway, I just wanted to get this out of the way right at the beginning, because I think this is great little fantasy adventure for kids, but I think the ducks will turn a lot of people off.

Mary Margaret Dennis (Jamie Renée Smith) is the daughter of two considerable, scientific talents. Her father works in the field of botany, following in the footsteps of his grandmother. He’s a little lacking in common sense, but his heart is in the right place. Mary Margaret’s mother (Saxon Trainor) is a physicist who is on the brink of finalizing a laser gun that shoots a hole into an alternate dimension. I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to describe it, but I’m not a physicist so that’s all I got. 🙂 Anyway, these are very engrossing jobs for parents to have, and as a result they aren’t as attentive as they should be with Mary Margaret. So when her great-grandmother’s mirror is bestowed on Mary Margaret, of course her ambitious idle hands will find a way to use it as a portal into another world.

This other world is a strange one indeed; one that could’ve only been dreamed up at the Full Moon studio. It is a land of beautiful rolling hills and exquisitely designed architecture, but it is also a world fraught with danger. Giant duck creatures called Drakes are great connoisseurs of tea, but your run-of-the-mill Lipton ain’t gonna cut it. They prefer their tea fresh and flash-brewed in a gigantic duck-shaped pot designed specifically to boil humans alive. There hasn’t been a human visitor to this world for some time, so they’ve made do by boiling stray mirror minders and whatever else they can get their orange hands on. It is one of these mirror minders, Tanzy (Kevin Wixted), who Mary Margaret meets upon traveling through her great-grandmother’s mirror.

Traveling from one world to another is always a quick way to my heart, and the image of multiple doors on a green field (presumably leading to just as many worlds) instantly brought to mind Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Magic in the Mirror definitely doesn’t rise to those heights (Dark Tower is one of my favorite things ever), but it manifests its ideas of parallel worlds well enough to entertain. In this case, I don’t think it’s because the world is especially well-realized, it’s more that the characters are. Mary Margaret and her parents follow the classic Moonbeam arc of finding that they need to spend more time together, but they do so in a way that felt unique and charming.

If you love B-Movies and you’re looking for a way to share them with your kids, then I’d say Magic in the Mirror is a solid choice. They won’t get the Apocalypse Now joke, but the idea of being brewed alive for tea should be suitably effective on them. Hahaha 😀

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be watching the Full Moon-related film, 2005’s Deadly End AKA Neighborhood Watch! See ya then!

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