Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play (1997)

Starring Jamie Renée Smith, Kevin Wixted, Saxon Trainor, David Brooks, Godfrey James, Eileen T’Kaye, Gerrit Graham, Bryan J. Terrill, Eugen Cristian Motriuc, Ion Haiduc, Brent Morris, Iulia Gavril, Ileana Sandulescu, Daniela Marzavan, Stelian Nistor, Mihai Niculescu

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate. I liked the first one.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


The first Magic in the Mirror film was a great blend of weird B-Movie thrills and kids’ movie charm, so I was hopeful that the sequel could deliver more of the same. It turns out that the sequel does just that, but upon receiving it I’m not sure that I actually needed any more. Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play tries its best to move the adventure in a different direction, but even with this shift the story still boils down to the same beats as the original. For kids who enjoyed the first film, this will likely be a good thing, as the sequel scratches the same itch, but do kids who enjoy these movies still exist? If you’re looking for a bit more, you should probably look elsewhere, although if you’re reading this I’m not sure this applies to you. You’re a special type of person if you’re reading reviews of low-budget kids’ movies from the late ’90s. 🙂

After returning home from her adventure in the mirror world, Mary Margaret (Jamie Renée Smith) is helping her parents prepare for her mother Sylvia’s upcoming party. I honestly don’t remember why they were having a party, but I know it wasn’t a birthday, and I’m pretty sure it was something to do with Sylvia’s work in the field of making lasers that rip holes into other dimensions. Meanwhile, her partner in this work, Dr. Lazlo Tuttle (Mihai Niculescu), has decided to go rogue and use the machine for his own purposes. In doing so he lasers himself directly into Dragora’s palace, and if you forgot who Dragora is, she’s the Drake queen who enjoys nothing more than a good cup of “people tea.” This allows Dragora to enter our world unchecked, bringing with her a couple of Drake underlings and a serious grudge against Mary Margaret.

In general, I prefer a film that takes a normal human and has them go on an adventure in a new world. The first Magic in the Mirror crafted an effective, low-budget version of this very well, and so the logical next step is to reverse the formula and have the wild fantasy creatures visit our world. This is inherently less interesting to me, and in the case of this sequel there isn’t a lot of effort (or money) going into making it anything special. It does bring the Magic in the Mirror films one step closer to a kind of B-Movie Dark Tower, but no matter how much I love Stephen King’s magnum opus this doesn’t help. I do feel like kids who liked the first film would be far less critical of the film’s perceived lack of excitement, though, as there’s an inherent horror in having monsters from another world invading your home — giant duck monsters who want to boil you into tea, no less. Even I was a little scared when I put myself into the situation, so I imagine it would be even more effective in the open mind of a child.

Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play was shot back-to-back (or simultaneously) with the first film, so it reuses all the same sets and locations, further cementing my boredom. That fact that we’ve seen all the fantastic visuals before, and that the majority of the film is stuck inside Mary Margaret’s mundane home really puts a hamper on how much enjoyment you can get out of the film. The only time I was truly taken aback and impressed was the decision to have the Drakes and the evil scientist travel via the time-honored method of transportation favored by everyone from legitimate businesses to serial killers: the white panel van! Seeing Dragora riding shotgun was enough to make the whole experience worth it for me, but I am easily amused these days.

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie, I’ll be checking in with a movie related to the Full Moon series: David DeCoteau’s The Brotherhood V: Alumni! See ya then!

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