The Lords Of Magick

  • 1990
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Fantasy

Credit THE LORDS OF MAGICK with this much: an unheralded low-budget fantasy, released directly to home video, it's just as entertaining (if not more so) than recent overproduced fairy stories (like KRULL) whose failure at the box office have left the sword-and-sorcery genre in a comatose state. Most movie fantasies suffer from what could be called "Dragon...read more

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Credit THE LORDS OF MAGICK with this much: an unheralded low-budget fantasy, released directly to home video, it's just as entertaining (if not more so) than recent overproduced fairy stories (like KRULL) whose failure at the box office have left the sword-and-sorcery genre in a comatose

state. Most movie fantasies suffer from what could be called "Dragon Burnout Syndrome," a numbing familiarity with stock characters and plots. No matter how lavish the sets, how incendiary the special effects, or how flamboyant the performances, one unicorn is very much like another. THE LORDS OF

MAGICK at least manages a few original touches. Ulric (Mark Gauthier) and Michael (Jarrett Parker) are brothers, a pair of young "Merlinite" wizards sowing their magical oats in England in the year 988. Dragged before the king on a charge of necromancy (they resurrected an ungrateful nobleman,

murdered by thieves), the pair plead for a chance to redeem themselves. Remembering the pre-credit sequence in which his daughter was abducted by Salatin (Brendan Dillon, Jr.), "the most evil and feared sorcerer of black magic," the king orders the two brothers to retrieve Princess Luna (Ruth

Zackarian) and kill her captor. Michael is doubtful, but the older, bolder Ulric warms to the task; Salatin has fed the souls of many a kindred wizard to the Dark Powers in his plan to rule the Universe. The brothers find Salatin's altar, and the spectral villain challenges them to follow him a

thousand years into the future, where he has hidden the princess. Because of the gap between the centuries, only one of the brothers will be under the personal protection of Merlin, but they depart anyway, landing in modern Los Angeles. The expected culture-shock incidents ensue (including a

scuffle with a stage company of "The Princess and the Pea"), but magic bails the brothers out. However, during a fight with a street gang, Ulric forgets the escape spell until it's shouted at him by an onlooker, Thomas (David Snow). A college student steeped in magical lore, he joins the wizards

in their quest. Directly, the trio is attacked by a driverless car, which Thomas traces to a rural farm where the heroes do indeed find Salatin and Princess Luna, both in a trance-like state. When our heroes take the princess, Salatin awakens and his taunts pursue the group (via car radio) back to

Thomas' neighborhood, where they must again battle the street gang, now transformed into sword-wielding zombies. Clearly, Salatin must be eliminated, and Thomas and Michael look for guidance in a university archives. A medieval manuscript indicates that Michael will prevail (thanks a lot; there

goes the suspense element), but it gives no hint of Ulric's fate. Meanwhile, Ulric, dallying with an LA prostitute, is corrupted by Salatin. With the princess in his clutches, Ulric telephones Michael and tells him Salatin can be found at a certain warehouse. There, Michael challenges the fiend,

but his magic is ineffective; Ulric, hiding out of sight, deflects his brother's every spell. However, Thomas has learned some wizardry of his own by now, and he grapples with Ulric while Michael and Salatin magically duke it out in a sequence strongly reminiscent of the Boris Karloff-Vincent

Price spellfest in THE RAVEN. Thomas purges Ulric with the standard movie exorcism routine, and the elder wizard steps in front of his brother to take a death blow from Salatin. His rage unleashed, Michael reduces the evil sorcerer to a blackened skeleton, then takes Princess Luna and his

brother's body back to medieval England, where the grateful king grants Michael permission to raise Ulric from the dead. He also makes the heroic wizard a nobleman, opening the possibility of marriage to the princess, who has fallen in love with the younger wizard. As the pair embrace, Michael

decides Ulric can remain safely dead until after the wedding. The wearily cliched final shot shows Salatin reappearing.

THE LORDS OF MAGICK is a mixed bag, but it becomes fairly diverting at times. The rather tired time-travel gimmick--no compelling reason is given for Salatin's excursion into 1988, unless it's just to get far away from Merlin--gives the plot some verve, and it saves money on medieval scenery. The

computer-generated special effects endow the film with the look of a video game. Dillon resembles a Marvel Comics super-villain in his cape, skullcap, and cowl, but he makes an adequate menace. Looking far too old for a college kid, Snow's Thomas is hardly a memorable character, but his presence

provides an excuse for the wizards to explain a bit about their magical realm. Producer-director-cowriter Marsh does well with some of the details, like the cute spell Michael uses to open any lock and an interlude with a storefront gypsy fortuneteller who considers time-travelling wizards to be

minor league. Of greatest interest is the relationship between the two heroes; despite his good humor and bravado Ulric will never be as powerful a wizard as his younger brother and he knows it. His secret resentment is what really gives Salatin control over him. It's this sort of archetypal

conflict that makes good fantasy, and it endows these characters with an added layer of meaning. Even with its cheesy production values and low-rent acting, THE LORDS OF MAGICK should please now-desperate fans of the genre who bother to hunt it up at the video store. (Violence, profanity,substance abuse, adult situations.)

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Credit THE LORDS OF MAGICK with this much: an unheralded low-budget fantasy, released directly to home video, it's just as entertaining (if not more so) than recent overproduced fairy stories (like KRULL) whose failure at the box office have left the sword… (more)

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