The Secret Kingdom (1998)

51TZAVR8HJL._SS500_The Secret Kingdom (1998)
AKA The Tiny Kingdom

Starring Billy O’Sullivan, Tricia Dickson, Andrew Ducote, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Jamieson Price, Andreea Macelaru, Florin Chiriac, Constantin Barbulescu, Bogdan Voda, Eugen Cristea

Directed by David Schmoeller

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

Like many Moonbeam films, The Secret Kingdom starts out with a fun premise and then drives it into the ground. Well, in this case they drive it under the sink, and I really shouldn’t be that harsh. Most of The Secret Kingdom is unadulterated WTF fun. The film opens in New Orleans, and surprise, surprise — it’s actually New Orleans! Later, the film transitions to the Romanian locales you expect from this era of Full Moon, but the series of events that opens the film would be fantastic no matter where they were shot.

The Secret Kingdom starts with a boy in his early teens, staring at his toy horseman. He compares it to the statue of the horseman in the square in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. He goes back to staring at the toy intently, and then walks around New Orleans. Some might call this the most exciting introductory scene to a movie ever, but I thought it went on for a ridiculous amount of time… long enough for me to think, “WHAT IS GOING ON?” Thankfully, it gets a lot more interesting, real fast. And by “interesting,” I mean that it dives deep into WTF territory.

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The Shrunken City (1998)

The Shrunken City (1998)
AKA Shandar: The Shrunken City

Starring Michael Malota, Agnes Bruckner, Jules Mandel, Steve Valentine, Ray Laska, Dorina Lazar, Christopher Landry, Lula Malota, Andreea Macelaru, Ion Haiduc

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate, the kids movies are always iffy.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

I’ve put off writing this review for the last hour or so after the movie had ended. Usually I start right away, eager to blast out my thoughts into some form of a rough draft. Whenever I hesitate, it’s usually a bad sign. In this particular case, it’s a sign of a film that has left me rather indifferent, but I’ll try to make the best of it. It’s odd too, because I enjoyed The Shrunken City, or Shandar – The Shrunken City! if you’re going by its most recent title (and what it’s known by at a Redbox near you).

Shandar is about the mystical city of Shandar that was shrunken into a glass bottle as a last-ditch effort to save it from the destructive forces of the evil Ood. As a sidenote, has there ever been a shittier name for a villainous force? The Ood? I suppose I could call them the El Ooderino, but they’re obviously into the whole brevity thing so I won’t. Anyway, the city is shrunken and then 26,000 years and a dimensional journey later, it is unearthed by our 13-year-old heroes, George and Lori. The only problem is that by unearthing it, they have also broken its protective shield and now the Ood are back to finally wipe out that pesky city of Shandar. Boy, these guys really know how to hold a grudge. You’d think after 26,000 years they’d let it go.

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