The King's Beard

on October 10, 2002 by Jon Alon Walz
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Britain's fine and dandy but, in a Disney-dominated genre, boring “King's Beard” is old-school to the extent that it's full of fairies, magic wands, good kings, bad princes, a magic kingdom, and a jolly new kid in town who just wants to open a barbershop. The barber wannabe is the affable Rufus (voiced by Robin Edwards), who fails to discover before arriving in the Candyland-meets-Disneyworld Mirrored Kingdom that they've got a king with miles upon miles of beard and a congregation of townsfolk who, in following the king's example, eschew scissors. What is a young coiffeur to do? Fall in love with a fairy, of course. The poor fairy, Sophie (voiced by Maria Darling), has quite a dilemma herself: Evil bats have stolen her magic wand and have handed it over to the king's evil younger brother, Jasper, who rules an underground stalactite realm. The daffy Jasper, jealous of his brother, cursed him with the beard growing spell that has trapped him in his royal lair ever since.

Since you already know that the ending probably has to do with Rufus finally succeeding in the Mirrored Kingdom hair business, suffice it to say that this small, visually unimpressive U.K. production, although generally charming, presents a storyline that fails to satisfy either the curiosity or the intelligence of its smallest viewers, much less the adults who have guessed the inevitable denouement about four minutes in. Its failure to use its low budget as a creative challenge (a la “South Park”), opting instead to throw together a cheaply-mounted Disney-like adventure, is another crumb in “The King's Beard.” Voiced by Jim Broadbent, Robin Edwards and Marla Darling. Directed and written by Tony Collingwood. Produced by Christopher O'Hare. No distributor set. Animated drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 75 min.

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