Fantasy Film Review: Mio in the Land of Faraway
Why, in 1987 of course!
This weird little fantasy film was a co-production of Sweden and the Soviet Union. Maybe the third Red Scare in the eighties was the reason I never heard of it until a few years ago.
Finding this movie can be something of a challenge. Even bootleg DVDs sell for over a hundred dollars on Amazon. Is it worth the trouble?
In a word: No.
In three words: Oh, hell no!
If you were lucky enough to glimpse this film on some weird cable channel when you were a child, you might have found it fascinating and have a fond memory of it. But take off those rose-tinted glasses and look at it with the clear eyes of adulthood, and you’ll see a plodding, poorly acted, badly written, saccharine, and slightly trippy wish-fulfillment film.
Following child-fantasy tropes now made famous by Harry Potter, Mio lives with his terrible Aunt and Uncle until he is wisked away to a magical land where he is the only one who can defeat a dark lord and save everyone. Of course, in Mio and the Land of Faraway, he is carried off to that land by grasping the long beard of a flying, decapitated head of enormous proportions. And waiting for him in the fantasy land is his father, who didn’t die but instead is the king of a fantastic and wealthy kingdom. Going much more into the details will make my brain hurt, and it might intrigue someone into seeing the film, so I’ll just say something about Christian Bale and Christopher Lee.
Although I often recommend you watch hard-to-find fantasy films, the only thing to recommend this one is that it might not be a wild misinterpretation of the end of the film to believe that Mio’s experiences in the land of Faraway were his dreams as he lay unconscious and dying of exposure.
Final Rating: DO NOT WATCH