Now playing ‘The King’s Daughter’ | Comments

The King’s Daughter
Rhythm note: C
Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas
Rated PG for some violence, thematic elements, and suggestive material.

You almost have to give it to director Sean McNamara for successfully piecing together a fantasy adventure film starring Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Kaya Scodelario, Fan Binbing and Rachel Griffiths – narrated by Julie Andrews – which began production in 2014 , staggered shooting schedules of the current Palace of Versailles at locations in various countries, a studio dropping it a few days before its release, and COVID on top of it all.

But, after seeing the final version finally in theaters thanks to many Asian companies, one has to wonder if it was worth it.

The film is based on an award-winning novel by Vonda N. McIntyre, who died in 2019 at the age of 70 having never seen the finished film. Maybe there was some justice after all because the storyline went through a lot of drastic changes.

The film is set in the late 1600s, during the reign of King Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King (Brosnan). For his protection and because of his immense sadness at the loss of his wife in childbirth, he secreted his young daughter in a convent on the coast of France. Here, Marie-Joséphe D’Alember (Scodelario) is transformed into a beautiful but strong-willed young woman with a great love of the sea, which the nuns consider “evil”.

Meanwhile, the king has sent ships to scour the oceans in search of the fabled sunken city of Atlantis in order to capture a mermaid, who his court scientist Dr. Labarthe (Pablo Schreiber) claims can bestow the power of immortality to the royal vain. By catching up with one (Bingbing), the courageous captain Yves De La Croix (Benjamin Walker) returns with him and places him in the hold under the famous Fountains of Versailles.

The king finally brought Marie-Josephe but under the guise of a composer of court music. At this point, he still hasn’t revealed who she really is. Beneath the fountain, the mermaid’s health mysteriously declines. One day, when Marie-Josephe is struggling to find a suitable melody for the king, she hears a mysterious whale song and follows it to the source, which is of course the mermaid.

As the film unfolds, the cookie-cutter plot unfolds, and the adult audience may wonder how they ended up watching this rambling, oddly edited film that gets lost halfway through. Part of the reason for the weirdness is how the director ultimately decides to embrace anachronisms such as not caring at all about showing the zippers that run up the back of a woman’s skirt even though the zippers flash were invented only at the beginning of the 20th century or dialogue with the term “just kidding”. It seems McNamara ultimately decided that it wasn’t a historically accurate period piece. It’s just a fantasy, so anything goes.

And, that’s exactly what we see, even down to poor special effects and English accents instead of French. That’s life.

Kids will likely enjoy the whimsical story, especially the serious performances by Scodelario and Walker (who in real life are married), Brosnan’s excessive acting, and William Hurt’s confusion as the king’s priest wondering why he’s in this strange film in the first place.

Also showing at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas
Rated R for some sexual references, language throughout, and heavy bloody violence

Many of the original actors are returning from the 1996 original to star in this reboot, remake, relaunch, whatever. Suffice it to say, Ghostface’s killer is back and has a good enough memory to know who to target 25 years later.

After Billy Loomis and Stu Macher (Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard) terrorize the town of Woodsboro many years ago, high school student Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) is home alone when she is attacked by Ghostface, and is seriously injured but survives the attack.

Out of town, Tara’s older sister, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), is told by Tara’s friend Wes Hicks (Dylan Minette) about her sister’s attack. Sam returns to Woodsboro with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) to visit Tara in the hospital, where she reunites with the rest of Tara’s friendship group – Amber Freeman (Mikey Madison), twins Chad and Mindy Meeks- Martin (Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Liv McKenzie (Sona Ammar).

Liv’s summer fling Vince Schneider (Kyle Gallner) is next to meet Ghostface. Later at the hospital, Sam is attacked by Ghostface and struggles with hallucinations of Billy Loomis, who would later be confirmed as Tara’s biological father, and the reason she left town and moved away from Tara. Before long, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), Syndey Prescott (Neve Campbell), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) make appearances as the mystery deepens.

These films are screened at the Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road in Taos. To visit or call (575) 751-4245 for more information on tickets, schedules and COVID restrictions.

Alfonso E. Cramer