Newest Reviews
Capote Tapes, The
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
  Mio in the Land of Faraway Lindgren Light
Year: 1987
Director: Vladimir Grammatikov
Stars: Nicholas Pickard, Christian Bale, Timothy Bottoms, Susannah York, Christopher Lee, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Igor Yasulovich, Gunilla Nyroos, Linn Stokke, Stig Engström, Geoffrey Staines, Lyubov Germanova, Andrei Petrov, Andrei Sergeyev, Denis Bodrov
Genre: Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A young Swedish orphan named Bosse (future Hollyoaks regular Nicholas Pickard) lives in misery with his cruel old aunt and uncle, until one night he is whisked away to the magical land of Faraway. Here he discovers that his real father is the King of Faraway (Timothy Bottoms) and he is Prince Mio. Alongside his friend Jum-Jum (Christian Bale), Mio sets out to defeat the evil knight Kato (Christopher Lee) and free the children he has kidnapped.

Mio in the Land of Faraway was based on a novel by Astrid Lindgren, best known as the creator of Pippi Longstocking (1969) and a prolific and much beloved author in her native Sweden. Although now best remembered for marking the screen debut of young Christian Bale, starring opposite the original "dark knight" Sir Christopher Lee, at the time this Swedish-Norwegian-Russian co-production was more notable for being the most lavish Lindgren adaptation to date. The big budget encompassed lavish production values: beautiful cinematography that makes Faraway a luminous and heartening pastoral fantasy land, modest but effective special effects by Derek Meddings - a regular contributor to the James Bond films - and a lovely theme song composed by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus that lingers longer in the memory and conveys the underlining themes far more eloquently than the film itself. Hindered by the heavy-handed direction of Vladimir Grammatikov, Mio is sadly lacking in magic.

Two previous epics, The Brothers Lionheart (1977) and especially Ronja Rovardotter (1984), had been enormous critical and commercial hits in Sweden but both were scripted by Lindgren herself. She had no creative input here and it shows. Swedish reviewers criticised screenwriter-producer William Aldridge for supposedly Americanising the novel and making a muddle of Lindgren's themes in an obvious bid for the same success enjoyed by another European children’s blockbuster, The Never Ending Story (1984), but actually such accusations don't hold up to close scrutiny. The opening scenes are set in Stockholm and the film draws more from the twin traditions of Swedish and Russian children's filmmaking than the Hollywood model.

A staunch advocate of children's rights, what makes Lindgren's original novel so achingly poignant is that it fundamentally embodies the fantasies of a neglected child and his simple longing for a loving parent or even just a few encouraging words. Prior to his flight to Faraway, Mio is shown sitting alone in the freezing cold, a fact that coupled with his final melancholy glance to camera (and that touching theme song) implies everything we have seen has been the fantasy of a dying child. An idea that would be far more unsettling had Grammatikov endeavoured to make anything out of it, or the conceit lifted from the movie version of The Wizard of Oz (1939) where people from the real world have doubles in Faraway. Mio shrugs off Jum-Jum and the king's resemblance to his real world friends rather too easily.

Charismatic Christian Bale easily overshadows the bland Nicholas Pickard, whose flat line readings thwart the promising subtext. The script is heavily reliant on Bosse/Mio's voiceover but he never really learns anything to makes his journey seem worthwhile. Most of the guest stars, including Bottoms and Susannah York as a magical seamstress, add nothing but Christopher Lee brings his customary gravitas to the glowering, if poorly written villain. Mio was a hit in Sweden, where pop group Gemini also scored a top three hit with the theme tune, but has to be chalked up as a missed opportunity and arguably a rare movie worth remaking.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3126 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: