The King’s Daughter (Fantasy, Family, Adventure) [Based on Novel] (2022)
Director: Sean McNamara
Writer: James Schamus, Barry Berman, Vonda N McIntyre (Based on Novel by)
Stars: Kaya Scodelario, Pierce Brosnan, Benjamin Walker, Pablo Schreiber
In an attempt to capture a mermaid’s lifeforce, able to heal any wounds, a king of France captures this mythical creature of the sea and experiments with ways to transfer immortality providing its lifeforce to his own.
Based upon the 1997 novel ‘’The Moon and the Sun’’ by Vonda N. McIntyre, this project has been in the works since 1999, with Michael London attempting to produce the film alongside The Jim Henson Company. Signing on theatre director Christopher Renshaw and actors like Natalie Portman, it has been lingering in production hell for decades. Sean McNamara was announced as the film’s new director in 2013. Most of ‘’The King’s Daughter’’ was filmed at the Palace of Versailles, with other parts in Melbourne, Australia. It has been released as a tie-in with McIntyre’s re-release of her novel and has been produced by Bliss Media, Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, Lightstream Pictures, Pandemonium Films, Firstep Productions, Exosphere Entertainment being distributed by Gravitas Venturas.
Ordering a ship out to sea, King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) aims to capture a mermaid (Fan Bingbing) and use their fabled powers of immortality for his own. His unruly daughter Marie-Joséphe (Kaya Scodelario), having been raised in a convent for most of her life, is also brought to the Palace of Versailles retrieved by father La Chaise (William Hurt) per King Louis’ request. She soon discovers the mermaid kept beneath the palace, becoming enamoured by her songlike murmurs.
An unruly princess and her morally fallible father provide a familiar tale. It shows true love conquering over an arranged marriage and provides understanding to be far more important than the selfish whims of a king.
Delivering a familiar historical setting, ‘’The King’s Daughter’’ and the Novel it is based upon see myth entangled within an enchanting early-Disney environment, actually filmed within the Palace of Versailles. Without straying far from films such as ‘’Enchanted’’ or even the ‘’Shrek’’ films, it is best to take this Brosnan feature with a heaping portion of salt. Going back to a period where historical films were often far from accurate.
Much of the narrative seems to have a play-like twist, especially because Brosnan’s lines feel recited in such a way, and everything being luminous and light, fully expecting actors to burst into song at any moment. While only the mermaid is fantastical, there’s magical essence beaming throughout McNamara’s musical approach.
Meant to promote McIntyre’s Novel re-release, ‘’The King’s Daughter’’ regrettably would dissuade more viewers than attract them to the novel in question. Featuring talents like Brosnan and Schreiber, among others, yet utterly failing to deliver, feeling like a rushed project despite being in the making since 1999, that’s quite a feat. There’s barely any nuance with each shift presented within a sentence, lacking coherent storytelling as the narrative is pushed rapidly without establishing much.
Grandiosity sweeps you off your feet in the worst way possible.