Well, here’s an interesting one for you today, and a baffling one at that. The focus of this particular review goes to The King’s Daughter – a new fantasy movie, which is as bizarre and confusing as it is bad.
And I use the word “new” very lightly here, as this film is not particularly new at all. The King’s Daughter is technically quite an old film in some respects (or at the very least a recent-ish film in others), and is only ‘new-new’ to those who are fortunate enough not to have seen it yet.
Confused? Then let me try and explain.
Directed by Sean McNamara, The King’s Daughter stars Pierce Brosnan, Kaya Scodelario, Rachel Griffiths, Fan Bingbing, and the late William Hurt. The movie is based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s book, The Moon and the Sun, and arrives in the UK on Monday February 27th.
However, while this film is new to the UK next week (in 2023), it was released in the US and Canada back in January 2022. The UK was also supposed to receive this movie last year, but The King’s Daughter was pulled from the schedules mere days before release, and it temporarily vanished into the ether with no explanation.
Strange? Yes – but you’ve not even heard the half of the story yet!
Development on this film started way back in 1999, with plans for the Jim Henson Company to become involved. The movie then went into various stages of development hell over the next 15 years, changing directors, studios, and even its own title, before finally going into production in 2014!
Filming began on the picture in April that same year, before concluding one month later in May. The movie was then set to arrive in cinemas in 2015, before it was pulled from its release date just three weeks ahead of its debut.
No real explanation was given for film’s disappearance, however, speculation suggested the movie needed some work. Either way, it was in the can and could have been released back in 2015, but a decision was made to delay things for a while.
The King’s Daughter then sat on a shelf for the next seven years, while some tinkering took place and decisions were made about what to do with it. It was then finally shunted out at the beginning of 2022, in select territories, where (not surprisingly) it promptly flopped.
Due to the length of time it took to be released, The King’s Daughter stands as the final movie appearance for actor William Hurt, who passed away in 2022. However, in reality, Hurt shot this film long before his death and he took on various other roles after.
So, that’s the backstory to The King’s Daughter, but what about the plot? Well, the film has one, but it is all a bit jumbled, it makes barely any sense, and feels like it was pieced together in post-production.
You can tell this, because Julie Andrews (YES, JULIE ANDREWS) has been drafted in somewhere along the way to provide voice-over narration, to try and pull it altogether. For the record, Andrews does what she’s paid to do, and it is always lovely to hear her voice on film, but not even a magician could magic this thing back together.
It is incredibly dull, is totally uninspiring (and unoriginal), and is absolute codswallop. This is a cut and paste job, about a king, a princess, and a mermaid, and that’s about it.
The king in question is the French king, Louis XIV, who is inexplicably played by the Irish actor, Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan neither puts on a French accent, nor even sticks to his own Irish tones for this role, and this is certainly not his finest hour on screen.
Anyway, Louis XIV has an estranged daughter called Marie-Joséphe (played by Kaya Scodelario) who also doesn’t have a French accent, but has been living in a convent for reasons only the writers of this film understand. Either way, she’s now back living with daddy, even though she doesn’t know about their connection, but none of this matters as he’s more fixated on a mermaid.
This mermaid (played by Fan Bingbing) may be able to give the King immortality and this becomes a key plot point. Problem is, the immortality comes at a price, and this doesn’t sit well with his daughter.
Meanwhile, William Hurt drops by to play the part of a religious advisor to the King, and there is a role for Benjamin Walker, who plays a love interest to Marie-Joséphe. Once again, none of these actors speak with French accents, despite playing FRENCH MEN in a movie SET IN FRANCE, but by this point it really doesn’t matter.
Other stuff happens in the film, none of it is interesting, and none of it is reason enough to waste precious moments of your life on this dreck. Heck, not even the sight of Pierce Brosnan hamming it up in a ridiculous wig is an excuse to give this a go, so trust me when I say you should avoid it at all costs.
The King’s Daughter reportedly cost $40 million to make, which is an obscene amount of cash to waste on such nonsense, and it is unlikely to make its money back for a very, very long time (if at all). The film only managed to scrape together $2 million during its theatrical release in the US and Canada last year, and even this seems far too generous.
However way you look at it, The King’s Daughter was shelved for so long because it is a total disaster, and everyone involved must have been aware of this. No amount of messing around with it could knock it into shape, and no amount of distance from its production could give it any charm.
It is probably best for all concerned to forget all about it. The King’s Daughter may be making its UK debut next week on video-on-demand platforms, but this is not a valid reason to bother watching it and believe me when I say you will only be wasting time and money if you take a look.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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