A Wizard’s Tale review – wasp-waisted princess misreads the feminist memo | Film

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The film-makers behind this noisy, brain-frazzling kids’ animation have evidently read the memo that it’s no longer OK for passive princesses to wait around until a lunk of a prince charges over the horizon to rescue them. But evidently they are still processing the information, since A Wizard’s Tale monumentally misses the point with a princess who does decide that the patriarchy won’t keep her down – but only after an hour of some pretty hardcore simpering.

A Mexican-British co-production, the film is based on Here Comes the Grump, a short-running series on NBC in the late 60s. Ian McShane is the voice of The Grump, a grouchy old wizard who has been terrorising the land of Groovynham since a girlfriend broke his heart in his days as an idealist young sorcerer. Actually, it turns out, the sweetheart in question did not do the dirty on the Grump, but was banished by the king and sent to Earth via a portal. Decades later, her grandson Terry (Toby Kebbell) finds himself magically transported to Groovynham, where the king’s spoilt daughter Princess Dawn (Lily Collins) mistakes him for her Prince Charming.

The movie is full of wackiness but contains only traces of comedy. There are a couple of nice touches, best of all a forest of psychotic Christmas trees that use twinkly lights to lasso their victims. But A Wizard’s Tale never comes to life, and some of its updates to the original are baffling bordering on embarrassing: the worst offender is the kingdom populated by hipster balloons with beards and trendy specs. And the depressingly disempowered, wasp-waisted Princess Dawn really is the pits – though she does have one of the film’s few decent lines, after being put under a gloomy spell. A GPS system announces, “You have reached your final destination.” “What?” she replies, “death?”

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Source: The Guardian
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