I have to say, right away, that I fell in love with James Christnensen's book before I even heard about the movie. I was nine when I got the book, and even now, five years later, I am still entralled by it. If you liked this film, the book you will adore. It's the most beautiful (the gorgeous illustrations) and lyrical (the story is just the right level: easy enough for young readers, touching and with deep messages for older readers) thing I have ever set eyes upon.
The full-length version, that usually takes four hours, is great. (Although there were many things that were cut out of the TV broadcast, such as the scene of the Sphinx in the ship.) The trolls were my least favorite part of the movie, because in the book they were just stupid creatures who didn't really have a reason to go after the Aislings, it was just their nature. The really long and annoying stomping and chanting by the lava stream-thing is totally unneccessary and boring. Another thing I didn't like were Oberon's and Titania's costumes and make-up. Oberan looks like a dog, and Titania looks like a mermaid/vampire. I liked the way they were depicted in the book: more tradiional, and human-like enough they didn't seem kooky. Other than those aspects, this did justice to the book. I adored (read: I think Sebastion is hot) the love subplot with Miranda and Sebastion, it was so awesome to see her just run up to him and kiss him. I wish we could have seen all the creatures that worked on the ship in the book, but this is a TV movie, they already did a good job on design anyway. This film has GREAT acting, even the actors in all the make-up and elaborate costumes. The two Aisling daughters (Chantal Conlin as Cassie and Heather McEwan as Miranda) were terrific, and totally believable. It's a shame all Chantal can get is cereal commercials, she's a wonderful actress. The score and songs are beautiful, especially the dream sequence where Miranda calls the mermaid and when the girls are trying to tame the unicorn. Sadly, the way the film was recorded on the VHS, the music sounds [bad] and cheap, and the whole scene with the unicorn is scrapped.
That's why I only gave this 3 stars. Great scenes with gorgeous costumes and characters, music and acting, were cut so they could squeeze it onto one cassete. It's horrible, because two of the coolest characters, the Sphinx and the Dryad, don't get hardly any time on the video, while they had much bigger and way better parts on the original version. The part where Miranda meets the Dryad is totally awesome, but all you get is the Dryad pointing to the Faerie Court and having a dorky accent. Urgh. If you see it on TV, you get a lot more rewarding experiance, because:
1. More Sebastion hotness.
2. Better character development.
3. More beautiful music.
4. Great production design that the picture quality ruins in the video.
5. Less loose ends and "Huh? What happened?" moments.
All in all, a great movie, but you'd get better sound and picture quality, not to mention a better film and [money] saved, if you just taped it off the Hallmark Channel and fast-forwarded through the commercials.
Oh, and get the book, too. It's work it.