Mio In The Land Of Faraway Review
Bosse (Nick Pickard) is a fairytale kid, the kind of boy who doesn't have very many friends and who lives with his wicked aunt and uncle. Lonely outside of his home and punished within it, Bosse dreams of getting away to the corner shop where a much kinder woman than his aunt offers him the odd treat. On one night, Bosse runs away from his home and is given a bright red apple to eat and, sitting down to eat it in a park, is surprised when it rolls away from him and turns a bright gold. Bosse is even more surprised when a ghostly head appears before him and tells him about a magical land where his father lives. Wishing to go there, Bosse does just that and, holding tight to the head's long grey beard, he flies off in to the sky.
Where Bosse arrives is the Land of Faraway where his father (Timothy Bottoms) is the King of Green Meadow Mountain and Bosse himself is the prince Mio. But the Land of Faraway is not a contented place. The evil knight Kato (Christopher Lee) has been stealing children away from the villages in the Green Meadow and turning them into ravens. Kato, however, lives within the dark tower and Mio will need more than childish bravery to confront him. But there is a prophecy telling of a young boy who will confront the evil knight with another and so Mio sets off with his friend Jum Jum (Christian Bale) to face Kato...
Fantasy films are often directed towards children or at least with some nods in the direction of a younger audience even if they have, in the case of the Lord Of The Rings films, more terrifying material. It's rare, though, to have a fantasy film that's intended quite so strongly to children as this one, not least that its two stars - Nick Pickard and a fourteen-year-old Christian Bale - are children themselves. There are adults, of course, but other than Christopher Lee, they're either a miserable lot or thoroughly wet, particularly Timothy Bottoms as the king, who, you would have thought, might have stood up for his people more than he has done. But such things are not for Mio In The Land Of Faraway and the cast of children gather around Mio and Jum Jum chattering excitedly as they set off to confront Kato, more akin to their running away from home than risking their lives against the dark knight. Mio In The Land Of Faraway is often a curious mix of being wholly underplayed as regards consequences and pitched at such an excited manner that it bears no relation to the actual events in the film. The sight of a horse would appear to capture the minds of the young cast more than the defeat of Kato.
However, you will have seen this done much better elsewhere. Despite the occasional moments of horror in it, Krull is a much better film, as are The Dark Crystal, The Neverending Story and Labyrinth. This, on the other hand, is aimed at a very young audience who may well get bored of it long before its over whilst an older one might well be confused by a cast that, in reflecting its origins in an international production, hail from the US, Britain and Russia. Not that language ever poses a problem with the various styles of acting leave the film looking incoherent. But what probably does for Mio In The Land Of Faraway is how cheap it looks, with the grubby opening, the dull pastels of the Green Meadow and the cheap sets of the dark tower giving it a very dreary appearance with none of the magic that an audience, no matter how young, might expect of a fantasy film. The much better Princess Bride showed that it was possible to have danger, a winning sense of humour and some great dialogue in a children's story, none of which Mio In The Land Of Faraway offers its audience. The pity is that with a cast of children it might well have appealed to its audience much more.
Presented in a pan-and-scanned 1.33:1, Mio In The Land Of Faraway doesn't look at all impressive. The bitrate errs on the low side and it is very, very soft, as though the telecine process had a thin layer of Vaseline introduced into it for this film. Similarly, the print has seen better days and one suspects that the washed-out colours aren't so much as a result of poor authoring but of a battered and unloved print quickly sourced for the job of producing this DVD. Similarly, the English DD2.0 audio track (several of the cast members look to have been dubbed) is very ordinary with some small amount of noise in the background and a tendency for the upper and lower ends of the soundtrack to become distorted. The cheap sound effects don't aid matters any, with Mio In The Land Of Faraway looking to be a very poor release. Finally, there are no subtitles.
There are no extras on this DVD release.
Last updated: 19/06/2018 00:06:18