The King's Daughter (2022)

4.3 of 5 from 49 ratings
1h 31min
Not released
Rent The King's Daughter (aka The Moon and the Sun) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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King Louis XIV's (Pierce Brosnan) quest for immortality leads him to capture a mermaid's (Bingbing Fan) life force, but his immovable will is challenged when his long-hidden illegitimate daughter (Kaya Scodelario) forms a bond with the magical creature.
, , , , , , , , , , Virginia Bowers, , Floriane Andersen, , , , Benjamin Clegg, Lily Constantine, , Meg Deyell
David Brookwell, Paul Currie, Wei Han, Sean McNamara, Hong Pang, Leo Shi Young
Voiced By:
Sergine Dumais, Julie Andrews
Narrated By:
Julie Andrews
Ronald Bass, Barry Berman, Laura Harrington, Vonda N. McIntyre, James Schamus
The Moon and the Sun
Action & Adventure, Children & Family, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
91 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1

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The King's Daughter (aka The Moon and the Sun) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

On its surface, one might wonder why a film like The King’s Daughter remained in development hell and on the shelf for several years. It’s a historical fantasy involving royalty politics, questioning relationships, dreading mortality, and finding hope with a mermaid that can grant immortality. But much like a can you find in the back of the kitchen cupboard, it becomes clear why this film was pushed to the side for the longest time.

Pearce Brosnan sleeps through this story, where he plays King Louis XIV, the French king consumed with his mortality. Well, that’s what the narration implies. His fear of death seems to only stem from witnessing the sight of his blood and realizing he might not live long enough for more politics. He wants more life and believes he can attain more of it with the power of a mermaid. They succeed after ordering his men to find one, and the fantastical creature is captive at his estate.

The king’s daughter, Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario), is less concerned with death and more with life. She wants to make choices and live with happiness and kindness, which doesn’t sit well with a king who prefers to arrange marriages. They have a dispute that is so dry and stuffy one has to wonder if this was more of a made-for-TV movie or if the actors were being paid so little they didn’t care enough about this production. Watching a film like this feels like eating trashy burrito meat in a fancy tortilla, looking lovely but tasting off.

There are so many elements present that never take off. Benjamin Walker makes for the handsome love interest willing to do whatever it takes to win Marie’s heart, but he’s almost as bland as Marie’s arranged-marriage fiance, played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes. William Hurt might’ve been absorbing as the king’s priest Père La Chaise, but he’s just as wasted as Brosnan, present to dole out some nothing dialogue without much personality. And then there’s poor Fan Bingbing, who appears in the most thankless role as the mute vampire, smothered in makeup and CGI that makes her barely visible on screen. Bingbing has such a distinctive look that she deserves a better movie that knows how to write a vampire into the plot.

It’s stunning how a film can have the historical drama of costume romance and the fantastical nature of a mermaid and be so dull. The mermaid becomes such a prop that the film becomes Free Willy: Medieval Style. Towards the film's end, there’s this desperation for a vibrant ending after so much dreariness and tired scenes that there’s a complete tonal whiplash. Out of nowhere comes the lost city of Atlantis and a modern dose of vocal love music to make you believe you just got done watching a young-adult picture. But you didn’t. You’re left wondering what type of film this was as it became lost in its muck of historical details.

The King’s Daughters is one of those films that probably should’ve stayed in production hell and been given a massive overhaul. With enough reworking, this type of movie could’ve been a more enticing bit of drama. Whatever the intent of this picture might’ve been, it falters so hard that it sinks deeper than its mermaid character does into the background.

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