Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play (1996)


USA. 1996.


Director – Ted Nicolaou, Screenplay – Ken Carter Jr & Frank Dietz, Producers – Kevin Hyman & Vlad Paunescu, Photography – Adolfo Bartoli, Music – Richard Kosinski, Visual Effects Supervisor – MacKenzie Waggaman, Digital Visual Effects – OCS, Freeze Frame & Pixel Magic (Supervisor – Ray McIntyre Jr), Creature Effects – Mark Rappaport, Production Design – Cristian Niculescu. Production Company – Bibi Productions


Jamie Renee Smith (Mary Margaret Dennis), Eileen T’Kaye (Dragora), Saxon Trainor (Sylvia Dennis/Queen Hysop), David Brooks (Gilbert Dennis), Godfrey James (Melilot), Kevin Wixted (Tansy), Gerrit Graham (Bloom), Ion Haiduc (Admiral Dabble), Cristian Motriuc (Swanson), Bryan J. Terrill (Rudy Mertz), Brent Morris (Boynton Mertz), Julia Gavril (Nicolette Mertz)


The scheming Dr Laszlo Tuttle manages to open a dimensional doorway between our world and a mirror in Queen Dragora’s throne room. Dragora evinces Tuttle’s aid and emerges, along with her minions, through the mirror to invade a costume party thrown by Mary Margaret’s mother, seeking revenge.

This is a sequel to the delightfully surreal Magic in the Mirror (1996). Both films give the impression of having been shot back-to-back (as have several other of executive producer Charles Band’s various films) – they share almost entirely the same production credits and several of the same sets. Magic in the Mirror, with its visions of flying duck armies and a demented mallard queen obsessed with cups of tea made with humans dipped in boiling water, proved a mind-spinning discovery not unakin to the surreal fabulations of an Alice in Wonderland (1865) or a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

Unfortunately, Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play lacks any of its predecessor’s imaginative delights. It merely uses – rather than builds – on the existing elements and characters and does nothing new with them. The major spin on the original is to transport three of the ducks from the other world through into our world. However, compared to the original’s journey into a complete secondary world, – most of the first film’s surreal delights have been replaced here by characters in funny suits running around in slapstick situations. Director Ted Nicolaou has an enjoyably light knockabout touch with the slapstick but in comparison to its predecessor, Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play is a disappointment. The film is made on a low budget with the majority of the action having been economically confined to four rooms within a single house.

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