THEATRICAL REVIEW: King’s Daughter tarnishes its royal ambitions

There’s only so much quality you can expect from a film when its release was delayed seven years.

The King’s Daughter – originally shot in 2014 – is an innocuous, inoffensive film, but it worked out in the favour of most of its young talent that it took this long to see the light of day.

In the intervening time, names like Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), Benjamin Walker (The Choice), and Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is The New Black) have become synonymous with quality work, the ilk of which this film is not.

It is because of the careers they’ve had since the filming of this romantic romp that their reputations can take this hit – The King’s Daughter is not good. It’s mostly ineffective, in fact.

That isn’t to say it’s bad, but it adds nothing to the the film landscape or their resumes of these fantastic actors, and it deserves to be in the release date dumping ground that is January 2022, during a pandemic.

Directed by Sean McNamara – who I’ll celebrate for Soul Surfer and chastise for making a Cats & Dogs sequel – this film follows selfish King Louis XIV and his quest for immortality at the expense of his daughter’s happiness.

He ignores his illegitimate spawn’s request for mercy on a mermaid as he tries to take her life force for his plot.

Wrapped up in this silly tale is a love story between a poor worker and the technical princess, and while Scodelario and Walker are both fine actors, they’re wasted here.

Also aboard is Pierce Brosnan as the king, and while he walks around with his usual swagger, it’s not enough to inject life here. William Hurt is also on board as a conflicted priest and advisor to the crown, and with Julie Andrews narrating, there’s plenty of star power.

But perhaps most troubling is the inclusion of Pablo Schreiber – who has built an incredible career with Den Of Thieves, First Man, American Gods and 13 Hours on his resume. He plays a villain here, and is admirable and committed, as always. But he deserves better, as does the entire cast.

Based on a beloved novel by Vonda N. McIntyre, there just isn’t enough of a worthwhile plot to hold this one together. The King’s Daughter is hardly fitting for royalty, and may have been best left on the shelf.

2/5 Stars

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