#REVIEW: “THE KING’S DAUGHTER”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
THE KING’S DAUGHTER opens deliciously with the iconic Julie Andrews narrating a scene where a young lady, Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario) is having problems with her superiors in the convent (…how can you NOT break into a chorus of “Maria’s not an asset to the abbey”?) and is followed by the next scene which has King Louis XlV surviving an assassination attempt, that only intensifies his attempt to achieve immortality by any means. Louis XlV is played by Pierce Brosnan with affectations so fey and mincing, it would have insulted Oscar Wilde’s sensibilities. But your relentless Reviewer is still digging the Movie – thinking it will be high camp and clever. Then it morphs into a scene best described as a “Pirates of the Caribbean” outtake where the hunky and handsome sea captain, Yves de la Croix, (Benjamin Walker) captures a sea creature which turns out to be a mermaid. I shook my head and began to dig this Movie a little less. Back in Versailles, Louis and his religious advisor Pere la Chaise (Oscar winner William Hurt) are having scowling-faced conversations regarding the moral ethics of murdering the mermaid (now safely ensconced neath the Palace grounds) and transplant her magical heart into the King, thus granting him immortality as suggested by members of Louis’ royal court. That’s when it hit me hard…they are playing this with dead-seriousness.
The best thing about THE KING’S DAUGHTER are the many scenes filmed at the Palace of Versailles. Beautifully shot, it brings to life all that is glorious and elaborate about this Modern Wonder of the World (the remaining outdoor scenes were filmed in Australia, also renowned for its unique and breathtaking beauty) and is visually-arresting. I only wished Director Sean McNamara hadn’t filled the background with female models looking like they were in a current Vogue fantasy fashion shoot, wearing dresses that Vera Wang would be proud to call her own. (It’s uncharacteristic of Lizzy Gardiner who won an Oscar for her costumes in “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert”) I suspect ladies wearing smoky eyeshadow and so many men with manbuns or cropped, coiffed and product-to-death hair was NOT the rage in the 1700s! The big reveal, almost an hour into the Movie, that Marie-Josephe is actually the daughter of Louis XlV is laughable: the Movie is called THE KING’S DAUGHTER after all! Brosnan‘s gestures were foppish and we wonder if he was trying to outdo fellow Bond alumni Sean Connery’s wig worn in “Zardoz”. Amidst the many scenes of the characters on horseback or swimming under water, there’s also a total eclipse of the sun and references to the Lost City of Atlantis.
In doing some research into THE KING’S DAUGHTER, I learned that this Movie was made some eight years ago and is only being released now. Let that guide your decision, but rest assured when you finish watching this Movie, you will be happily humming the scenery.
Universal Pictures Canada release THE KING’S DAUGHTER Friday, January 21, 2022.
*Please exercise caution observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*