Our BMT venture (and future empire) is inherently a silly venture. But serious things do have impact. The King’s Daughter is a clear byproduct of one such serious thing: the pandemic. Way back in 2015 we were already seeing the writing on the wall regarding streaming (and the writing spelled out “The Ridiculous 6” in big block letters). Sandler was the king of BMT and yet would disappear from our lives if we didn’t relax the theatrical requirement… but we didn’t break. Flash forward to the pandemic and nothing is theatrical and so the end of year cycle was in an existential crisis. What is a theatrical requirement without theatrical releases? … but we didn’t break. And now this is our reward. 2022 has juuuuust enough films for us to do a true blue end of year cycle and so we take what we can get and that includes The King’s Daughter. Funny enough, The King’s Daughter had already wrapped filming BEFORE we watched The Ridiculous 6… and yet it also didn’t break. It persisted all the way to BMT glory.
To summarize, Pierce Brosnan has some glorious flowing locks and is like “check out my hair and also I want to live forever find me a mermaid.” And someone does. This dude brings the mermaid back and the king’s doctor is like “thanks, and also we are going to murder it so make sure it survives till then.” And the guy is like… uh, OK. Meanwhile he also has a secret daughter that has been kept away in a convent and Brosnan is like “check out my hair and also bring me my daughter.” And someone does. She’s a dope musician and pretty quickly he’s bipping and bopping to her tunes. While she’s living it up in luxury she stumbles upon the sea captain and his hot bod (and also the mermaid). She’s instantly smitten. Meanwhile her daddio is ready to marry her off for profit (and still planning on killing that mermaid). She ends up going out for a day of fun with the sea captain and breaks her arm which is then magically healed by the mermaid. So as you can imagine, she is horrified when it is then revealed that this magical creature is going to be sacrificed for the King. She and the sea captain go off to free her. They fight off an evil doctor and then she flees to the coast where she begs her dad not to kill the mermaid. He refuses so she does the only thing she can: fling herself from the cliff so that he needs the mermaid to live in order to save her life. He stops the mermaid murder and allows her and the sea captain to go off on sea adventures together. THE END.
Let’s start with some positives. Cool looking movie. It was filmed at Versailles so it’s a visual feast at times and you can really feel at those times the love and care that finally brought the film to the big screens. I also found the story itself to be weird fun… although the book appears to be even weirder so maybe I would have liked it more if it was a more faithful adaptation. Now for the negatives. The film is a narrative mess, particularly in the beginning as they try to hack their way into the story. And I really do mean hack, as the film appears to have been edited by a terminator robot designed to get you from beginning to middle as quickly as possible. Once there you just kind of muddle along as you wonder to yourself exactly how you ended up watching a movie that even Pierce Brosnan has probably forgotten exists. So yeah, negatives certainly far outweigh the positives in this mermaid tale that everyone was clamoring for. As for Spiderhead, is it wrong that I kind of dug it? I thought the acting was pretty good and the concept engaging (if maybe a little simplistic). I often find contemporary science fiction a little cold and often extremely stupid (The Circle is a good example… Replicas as well) and this is far superior to most of the films in that genre that I’ve seen recently. Surprised it dropped so low on RT, even if it’s overall just an OK film.
Hot Take Clam Bake! Brosnan was right. First of all he seems like a pretty good king. I didn’t see the obligatory attempted assassination scene that would tell me he was bad ergo he was good. And it’s not like this is the only mermaid around. So maybe he’s just trying out this dangerous experiment first on himself so that then he could bring the disrupting technology to the masses of France. Ever think about that? We even get a glimpse at the end of Atlantis and there was like… a lot of mermaids. So, what? This alleged King’s daughter gets to decide whether the world gets to know about being immortal. Who came along and made you Queen of Mermaid Protection, lady? I want to be immortal, but I also don’t want to be the first person to try out some weird mermaid medical procedure. Brosnan was a risk-taking visionary stopped by his shortsighted daughter. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’
‘Ello everyone! The King’s Daughter? More like Wince Harder! Amirite? A film so big it was 20 years in the making and shelved for 8 of those years. Let’s go!
- So this film was optioned in the late 90s/early 00s and has been in production for literally 20 years. It is basically this generation’s Avatar 2. The grand vision of (checks notes) Sean McNamara finally coming to screen!
- Oh, but it was filmed around 2014. That’s right, it sat on a shelf for 8 years waiting for just the right moment to dump it in theaters (that has to be a contractual thing right?) and forget about it.
- It was also apparently the largest Chinese investment in an American film ever? That is a very 2014 thing as well. These days American films don’t even get released in China. This could actually be a record held by The King’s Daughter for a long long time.
- The first third of the film is basically 70 separate shots all strung together by a poor editor who was probably given 48 hours to recut the film and chainsmoked the entire time. I’ve never seen so many smash cuts in my life. Just smash cut to the North Sea. Smash cut to the convent. Smash cut back to Versailles. There is clearly very very little footage available to construct this film. Which also makes it ultra confusing as to why it isn’t 80 minutes long. I would have fully expected it to be 80 minutes with 7 minutes of credits to stretch things out.
- There is something to the costume design and pop soundtrack. Like a CW show or Vampire Academy thing maybe. There are moments where it is jarring. Like when they have a shot of the main character and she’s in a dress with a full length back zipper. I had to look it up. Zippers weren’t invented until maybe 200 years after the film took place. So there is an anachronistic faux-modern thing going on with the costuming and stuff. I hate it personally, but it is a thing.
- All the acting is awful. There is a scene near the end where William Hurt and Pierce Brosnan are just spouting like “Forgive me Father for I have sinned” and Hurt is like “You are forgiven” and then they awkwardly touch each other’s faces and … I think half this film might be improvised? Something is up with it because even the established actors seem to be bumbling around not quite knowing what they are supposed to be doing.
- This film is very perplexing. It should be a fun watch as it is a complete mess with several laugh out loud moments. But it is also only entertaining for the first thirty minutes and then sinks into a boring non-story for an hour and the film is overall just quite boring. Which is too bad.
- Naturally a Setting as a Character (Where?) for France, and specifically Versaille. There is nothing else. It is set in a specific year in the 17th century (they say at the beginning) and it is specifically set during a solar eclipse, but I looked it up. There wasn’t an eclipse in the right spot that year, so that was just all made up. Closest to Bad for committing the bad movie mortal sin of being boring.
- Along with The King’s Daughter we had to go hunting for a 2022 friend and that naturally led us to Spiderhead. I knew of Spiderhead because it is based on a short story which people seem to enjoy quite a bit called Escape from Spiderhead. Naturally I read the short story which is very short and it is an interesting read. It does kind of ruin the movie. The movie ends up veering into a weirder story involving an actual escape, the main scientist taking his own drugs, and a lot more prisoners than in the book. The main differences: (1) In the original the main character doesn’t just drunkenly kill his friend and girlfriend, he kills a guy with a rock during a fight on purpose; (2) There is no love interest; (3) He kills himself in the end, that’s his escape, he gives himself a huge dose of the sadness drug and then kills himself. The movie is interesting in its own way, but would have been much more interesting if they had stuck to the book more. A character study where you really only see three or four characters and keep the title and twisty ending. As it stands it just ends up being a glossy Netflix movie without much heart. C. Some interesting stuff, but not enough to recommend.
Check out the sequel to the film called The King’s Granddaughter. Cheerios,