Max Magician and the Legend of the Rings
Release Date: 2002
Reviewed by Alec Pridgen
Maxwell Majeck: Yes, that is his real name. This young lad is being bullied by a group of kids at school. When he befriends an old man, his life changes. He goes to a magical realm, learns magic and battles an evil wizard. In spite all of this, he is still a dork. He can swing a mean stick though.
Mister Tim: A weird old man who befriends a young, pre-pubescent boy. As much as this sounds likes an episode of "Law & Order: SVU," the whole thing is all friendly. Nicknamed 'Platitude Man,' he speaks solely in uplifting cliches. Thankfully, he disappears not long into the movie. Any more of him and I would have gotten cavities.
Max's Parents: They are the best kind of parents. They show a minor interest in the kid and then show no concern when he vanishes into another world. He comes back in one piece, so all is okay. They too disappear early on and with good reason.
Crimble: A strange, little rat that befriends Max. He provides companionship and plot explanation for the audience. On the plus side, he dies after being chucked hilariously by Dagda. On the downside, he comes back. We can't all get what we want.
Princess Etain: The source of beauty and conflict in the realm. She is a target of Lord Dagda, but does not take it lying down. Sure, she makes everybody else do the fighting for her, but she supports them. Of course, you know she lives happily ever after.
The Red Cap: An evil warrior who is the bane of the kingdom. His vicious nature is somewhat questionable. In his first appearance, he kills a tough elf. In his next one, he goes down to a stick blow to the head from a kid. It's a magic stick though. I guess that makes it alright.
Lord Dagda: The villain who wants to take over the world...I mean, the kingdom. He is a strange wizard who uses an army of trolls and monsters to battle the elves and other mutants. Pretty much the only saving point here. He meets his end after battling Max in epic combat. By that, I mean a swarm of rats run all over him and transform him into one of them.
In another world, an elf is running for dear life. Slow and steady, a mysterious, red capped goblin shoots him with an arrow. Much like "Laserblast," however, it neglects to take the important object with him. In this case, it is a scroll explaining the kingdom's situation.
Max is a boy with a problem: he is a dork. He is small, nerdy and has no definably-good qualities. A bully at school is always picking on him, making him feel bad. Only the friendship of an old man will help him.
Mr. Tim gives him a book of magical spells, which he assures him is real. The young lad begins to study it, having not learned the lessons of "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders." It is around this time that a talking mouse named Crimble makes friends with him. It encourages him to keep up the studying. This leads to a door in a tree opening up...
Boy and mouse end up in a mystical wonderland occupied by the Sidhe (Elves) and Unseelie (Goblins), two groups who once lived in peace. Devious work by the villainous Lord Dagda has put an end to that. After seeing the conflict first-hand, Max proves his heroism...by running away to his house.
Okay, he musters up the courage and returns later.
When he does, he meets up with the lovely Princess Etain, who is ruling while her parents are gone. Max also meets a bizarre creature named Tom Tit-Tot and the good wizard Fayoon, who is most notable for his nose hair beard. The latter teaches him magic in the form of making a stick float around. Fayoon can also summon flames in the air, but declines to teach that to the lad. This scene is also where we get the mantra of the movie:
'You will not believe what a stick can do!'
Yeah, good luck with that. Max also is taught to fight with a stick, as opposed to a staff or any other sort of weapon. The fact that he now knows a little magic makes it a very potent instrument after one training montage. This is all put to the test when the villainous Red Cap returns to kill him.
In surprising quickness, the big villain is taken down by Max. A couple blows to the head takes him down. Evidently, he tired himself out on the way there. Satisfied, Max tries to get one of Dagda's former lackeys an audience with Princess Etain after he warned them about the Red Cap, but she refuses. This leads the young man to try and end the battle himself.
He goes to fight Dagda all on his lonesome. All of the while, a big battle occurs in the woods between the Unseelie and the Sidhe. This is where you will notice that a couple people end up working as people on both sides. Nice.
During the battle, Crimble is tossed across the woods by Dagda. Despite his pleasure at flying, his death occurs quickly. This is all Max needs to summon one big spell to take down the wizard. A group of rats pounce on Dagda and swarm all over him. In a flash, he disappears.
Max is also able to help turn the tide of battle by summoning a legendary group of knights. They appear out of a pile of leaves and are unarmed. No explanation is given for this. They proceed to use their best Bruce Lee moves on the Unseelie, helping put an end to the fight.
Once everything has been put right, Mr. Majeck returns to his own world. However, the bullies are back. Fortunately, a new friend arrives to help him send the people packing. He turns out to be Crimble, now given human form. He has with him a new rat pal: Dagda. Now in the real world with his buddies, we can have the happy fade-out.
Things I Learned From This Movie
Old men and children are inseparable.
Sticks are more powerful than any other weapon.
Duct tape is thicker than stone.
People in armor are masters of kung-fu.
Beards are best when grown from the nose.
Rodents cannot fly, no matter how sure they are.
Armored knights sleep under piles of leafs.
War hammer blows to the head only cause minor scrapes.
Princess Etain: "You will not believe what a stick can do!"
Mr. Tim: "Strength comes from within. Never judge a book by its cover. Speaking of books...this is a book of real magic."
Lord Dagda: "BAAH!"