Teenagers and Knights in Time-Travel Films (#SFWApro)

By chance, this week’s viewing was heavy on teen-oriented material, and a lot of that was Medieval or Arthurian.

TIME WARRIOR (2012) has two teenagers playing the eponymous videogame learn it’s actually a tool by the immortal Cain to recruit new warrios and send them into Great Battles of History (not to change the outcome, just to prolong the bloodshed). I like the concept, but the execution is at the level of the crappy kid-with-a-raygun film Laserblast and the actors are talentless. Fortunately there’s almost no actual time travel so this goes in the appendix. “You have enrolled your soul—you can now access any level.”

The pick of the kidvid was JOHNNY MYSTO, BOY WIZARD (1997), an inept stage-magician wannaba until his discovery of Merlin’s magic ring makes stage magic a snap. Next thing he knows, though, Johnny’s been drawn into the past to save Camelot from Dark Mage Michael Ansara and finds he’s in way over his head. Surprisingly fun, and well acted, particularly Russ Tamblyn as the bumbling sidekick and his daughter Amber (pre-Joan of Arcadia) as Merlin’s helper. It’s also a nice change that Johnny’s reward is to become good at stage magic rather than hitting a winning home run or the like. “Say rather King Maggot—for I am sworn to turn all this Earth into one rotten corpse!”

A whiny teen fencer becomes THE EXCALIBUR KID (1999) when Morgause teleports him back through time and tricks him into drawing the sword from the stone, calculating he’ll be easier to control than her brother will. Weak, and the Romanian accents for Olde England are really distracting; interesting, however, that it’s drawing on T.H. White’s Once and Future King rather than Sir Thomas Malory, with Morgause as Big Bad (“I’m banishing you to the Orkneys.”), a Merlin-Morgause magical duel and a crotchety, backwards-in-time-living, shapeshifting Merlin. “I’m dealing with one problem at a time—the fact I’ve put a fool on the throne indicates I’m doing pretty well.”

TEEN SORCERY (1999) is a teen comedy that has the new girl in school discover alpha bitch Lexa Doig holds her power through magic, then forms a coven of good witches to counter her. This has a time travel element (Doig stashes the captured protagonist in a medieval parallel world) but it’s slight enough this goes into the appendix too. Nothing Sabrina the Teenage Witch couldn’t do better. “Now everyone in school is going to think we’ve gone Goth.”

MEDIEVAL PARK (1999) is a slow-moving, meandering tale in which the owner of the title attraction discovers recreating a castle right down to the Sinister Mystic Symbol on the front gate enables an evil lord and his pet sorcerer to pull it back through time and merge with the real one, allowing them to seize control of it (I have no idea why this is a good strategy). This is way, way too talky (lots of it about Can We Really Be Back In Time, No! Yes! ) and also suffers from cutting corners on extras, so the villain’s army is almost as non-existent as the castle’s inhabitants. “I saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear on TV once.”

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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

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