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Mio In The Land Of Faraway
cast: Christian Bale, Timothy Bottoms, Susannah York, Christopher Lee, and Nicholas Pickard

director: Vladimir Grammatikov

104 minutes (U) 1987 widescreen ratio 16:9 Eureka! DVD Region 2 retail [released 19 March]

RATING: 1/10
reviewed by Trudi Topham
This isn't so much a review as a public service announcement. Trust me, you'll thank me for it later.

Do you have warm, fuzzy memories about this film? Perhaps you saw it as a child, and have grown up with the mistaken belief that it's worth buying now that the DVD is coming out? Stop. Save yourself. I've watched this so that you don't have to. This is without a doubt the single worst film that I've ever seen, and I've seen Battlefield Earth.

Let's start with the script (based on Astrid Lindgren's book), shall we? It's awful. Dirty, bad, and capable of soiling your mind. Obstacles for the titular character Mio (Nicholas Pickard) to overcome are done so with such feeble ease that it seems as though the writer was rolling on a random encounter table as he went along. The status of the plot, so far... is recapped every five minutes either by Mio, or his best friend Jum Jum (which is pronounced like a baked good, and played by Christian Bale), just in case you're actually in a vegetative state and on life support in the intensive care unit of your local hospital. Dei ex Machinis don't just help end the story, they propel it along from start to finish, like running electricity through a dead dog to make it twitch in the semblance of life.

And now on to the acting. Pickard demonstrates extremely ably the amazing acting skills that landed him roles in Brookside and Hollyoaks, both shows noted for recruiting the cream of British acting talent (NB: this may be sarcasm). Poor Bale out-acts Pickard at every turn, even with an appalling script and an uninteresting character. Susannah York does her best, but is frankly only in it for about ten minutes, half of which can be cut because she's only repeating the dialogue she espoused in the first half of her on-screen appearance. And Lee, dear old Christopher Lee. When the press come to cover his sad and unfortunate passing, this will not be listed among his greatest works.

The directing is shoddy, the lighting abysmal, the visual effects far worse than any others of the late 1980s, and the fight choreography laughable. Honestly, I could go on for hours, but the fact of the matter is this: it's a very bad film. I decided to be lenient and give it one out of ten. The costume design was actually all right.

There are no extras on this DVD, which is, frankly, a blessing. You can if you so choose skip directly to a specific scene, but really, why would you?

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