Has any film stuck in development hell for 20 years, been worth the wait when the final product is finally released? This is a movie that was shot 8 years ago, and every bit of it shows in the production.
‘The King’s Daughter’ is a film where a bunch of British people pretend to be French for 90 minutes. King Louis XIV’s (Pierce Brosnan) is on a quest for immortality that leads him to capture and steal a mermaid’s (Bingbing Fan) life force. The move is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter’s Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario) who bonds a relationship with the mermaid after she is injured from a horse riding incident. Coupled with the fact that Louis XIV wants Marie to be in an arranged marriage of his choosing, Marie must choose between the life she always envisioned or the life that makes her happy.
Sean McNamara is the director of this film, if you are wondering why this feels like a Disney film from the early 2000s, you have your answer. The film suffers from a lack of a compelling story, none of the actors have the charisma to carry their own movie. Kaya Scodelario is once again placed in the role of carrying the emotional weight which she has yet to she can do as a leading actress.
Pierce Brosnan is a comic book villain with some Disney flair whose character goes down a very predictable path of villandry. The CGI is horrible, at no point does Fan Bingbing as the Mermaid look like anything that resembles a 2D character. At this point, I am certain that this film was an under the table money laundering deal by the filmmakers because no one with logic can explain why the Chinese production company, Kylin Films invested $20.5 million in the film. The largest financial contribution to a non-studio film produced outside China.
The costumes and the set design look great but with the only true positives out of the way, I can’t see how anyone else will be inspired to seek The King’s Daughter on their own dime.