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Running roughly seven hours (minus commercial breaks), THE 10TH KINGDOM ($30) is a miniseries that I have been eager to review on DVD, although finding the time to watch it in one sitting has been difficult. However, after NBC aired it for the second time, I knew that I would have to make time to watch the complete miniseries- and am I ever glad that I did. THE 10TH KINGDOM is an enchanting tale that proves to be exciting, humorous, romantic a just a tad scary- just like the fairy tales that inspired it. Based upon the premise that the fairy tales told by the Brothers Grimm were real events that took place in a magical alternate dimension, THE 10TH KINGDOM tells the story of Prince Wendell (Daniel Lapaine), grandson of the Queen Snow White (Camryn Manheim).

As the tale opens, the murderous Evil Queen (Dianne Wiest) transforms Prince Wendell into a dog, so she may put in motion her plans for revenge against those who imprisoned her. While in the form of a dog, Wendell is able to escape the Queen’s clutches with the aid of a magic mirror that deposits him in the legendary 10th Kingdom- namely New York’s Central Park. In New York, Wendell encounters Virginia Lewis (Kimberly Williams) and her father Tony (John Larroquette), who are forced to take the dog/prince back to the realm of the Nine Kingdoms, after the Queen sends the Wolf (Scott Cohen) and three Trolls (Jeremiah Birkett, Dawnn Lewis and Hugh O'Gorman) in search of him. Once inside the fairy tale realm of the Nine Kingdoms, Virginia and Tony discover that the "happily ever after" endings to all familiar tales didn’t last quite as long as people expected.

Making matters worse, the reluctant travelers also have to contend with the disappearance of the magic mirror, which is their only way of getting back home to New York. As Virginia and Tony journey across the Nine Kingdoms in search of the mirror and a way of restoring Wendell to human form, they are in fear of being caught by the Queen’s minions, who are always just a few steps behind them. The cast of THE 10TH KINGDOM also features Ed O'Neill, Rutger Hauer, Ann-Margret, Peter Vaughan and Warwick Davis.

Artisan Home Entertainment has done a truly fine job with their DVD release of THE 10TH KINGDOM. THE 10TH KINGDOM is presented in the 1.33:1 television aspect ratio of its original broadcast. The image on the DVD is clean, crisp and very attractive. Colors are vibrant and are reproduced without and form chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are solid and the image has very good depth. Digital compression artifacts rarely make their presence known on this two-disc set, which includes one DVD-18 and a second single sided, single layer DVD.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack has a very good "television mix" which balances all of the sound elements, while keeping the dialogue very clean and always intelligible. Directional sound effects are deployed on occasion and they are very well done. Of course, there is nothing that will tax anyone’s audio system, however the mix is always full sounding and pleasant. The interactive menus are mildly animated and offer a fairy tale inspired interface. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection feature, as well as a few nice extras. Included on the DVD is a half-hour making of documentary that includes interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Production notes, information about the characters and cast biographies/filmographies fill out the extras.

THE 10TH KINGDOM is a delightful miniseries that I thoroughly enjoyed though its full 417-minute running time. In fact, when it got to the end, I was kind of disappointed that THE 10TH KINGDOM was already over. Anyone who enjoyed watching THE 10TH KINGDOM on television, with all the commercial breaks, is going to love this beautiful DVD, since it saves them from the horrible advertising trolls.


The 10th Kingdom (2000)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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