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|Index||39 reviews in total|
"Arabian Nights" is continuing proof that it is possible to put together a
highly entertaining, superbly-acted television program with a cast of
primarily lesser-known actors and actresses. The performances in the movie
are almost uniformly first-rate. For example, John Leguizamo is hilarious
and totally believable as Aladdin's genie(s), and far better than Robin
Williams' portrayal in Disney's "Aladdin." Mili Avital is enchanting as
Scheherezade, and Dougray Scott and James Frain are terrific as the warring
brothers Schariar and Schazenan (an interesting re-telling of the original
base story line). The ever-reliable Rufus Sewell and Alan Bates give very
enjoyable portrayals of Ali Baba and the Storyteller, respectively, and
Jason Scott Lee gives a very amusing turn as Aladdin. I particularly
enjoyed the segment of the constantly fighting Princes of Yemen, Ali, Ahmed,
and Hussain (played with gusto by relative unknowns Alexis Conran, James
Callis, and Hari Dhillon). While it is the acting that really shines in
"Arabian Nights," the set designs and costuming are truly magical. The
special effects are also very good considering the budget limitations of the
If you're going to rent or buy this on video/DVD, be careful to find the 175 minute version. I don't know what they cut from the shorter version, but honestly you won't want to miss ANY of this marvelous TV movie.
I really hope that Hallmark decides to do a sequel to this with a few more of the tales from the Arabian Nights. There is certainly a precedent for it with the "Sarah, Plain and Tall" films.
Wow. Somehow I had gone through the winter without seeing a trailer for
"Arabian Nights," which was why I was all the more astounded when I caught
it on tv that Sunday night. This is pure myth-and-magic candy, people, but
unlike most effects-laden tv-series, it gets better. A lot
Okay, so it gets a little anachronistic at parts, but what really blew me away was the frame tale that held it all together. Scheherazade was played to an intelligent, beguiling perfection by Avital, and Scott was simply spectacular as the half-mad Schariar. These two had great chemistry, and their interactions made for some electric, yet subtle, scenes. Their characters -- and characterizations -- were great, better and more complex than what you normally get in this genre of telemovie-making.
It's a beautiful escapist fantasy with lead characters to root for. Music was on point, direction was well-stylized (though gimmicky and will probably be dated in a little while), performances top-notch without the actos taking themselves too seriously. If you want some classy, sexy, mystical entertainment, give "Arabian Nights" a try. You won't regret it.
I want to take this opportunity to say "Arabian Nights" is perhaps one of the best made-for-TV movies I have ever seen! It is a wonderful mixture of fantasy, special effects and marvelous tongue-in-cheek comedy, and should be seen by anyone who has ever thought he/she already knew this classic story! My only regret is that it isn't a full-length motion picture, as the big screen would have absolutely come alive! Congratulations to its producers, director and stars!
EXCELLENT! EXCITING! BEAUTIFUL! CAPTIVATING! BREATH TAKING!
These are just a few of the words that I can think of to describe the television film of Arabian Nights. My whole family just loved it. This production was absolutely perfect in every way imaginable, from start to finish; ABSOLUTE TOP QUALITY. I deeply respect and appreciate all of the creative hard work that went into making this wonderful entertaining epic. I wish that there would be a way I could say thank you to all of these creative people that brought this to the television audience.
This was a fabulous production. No movie can do justice to the entire story of "Arabian Nights", but this did an admirable job. The visual effects were stunning and the actors were well cast. The way the production moved back and forth between the stories and the storyteller's (and listener's) situation was very creative (reminded me of "The Neverending Story"). The humorous sections and modern jokes were unexpected, but fun and not overdone. My only complaint was that the end came too soon -- after 4 hours I still wanted more.
Some of these network special-effect tv movies have been rather cheesy in the past, but I was very impressed with Arabian Nights. Not only am I a Dougray Scott fan, but the story was done quite well. There's a point about halfway through when you wonder if the stories will come together and if the Sultana will survive after each story. But in the end, the stories all fall together and actually make sense to what is going on in each scene. Well done!
One could think of a TV series, especially one intended for young audiences, that its quality will not match that of a movie for the big screen. That is false for Arabian Nights. Starting with a solid and well-balanced plot, good acting, superb photography and truly inspired music, plus beautiful filming locations, fantastic dressings, special effects and some touches of humor on an epic drama, all you get is top quality entertainment for all the family.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One key to master storytelling is the art of folding. That includes all sorts of techniques of overlapping narrative, spanning from overarching metaphor to stories within stories. It is an ancient technique, as old as any story we know. It is especially present in the 'Arabian Nights' stories, signified by what's inside the lamp.
The writer of this film understood the singular advantage of the material and made changes to emphasize the folds: the warring genies played by the same actor; the many bleeds between the framing story and the inner stories, and most particularly in the outer framing layers. The whole thing could be what we see from the magical giant, or what his wife whispers in his ear, or how the interloper makes love... or what the teller in the market tells, and that's well before you get into Scheherezade's double nesting: telling the story to her kids and/or telling to her husband.
Once you have that, you have a success. Add in some beautiful faces (Vanessa Mae), some lush (but somewhat comic) costumes and really successful locations, and you've got something that works, even in the face of imperfect directing and pacing.
One thing that's wonderful about these stories, the originals, is how they cover the 'orient.' This is extended here in referencing locations an peoples in various Arabian locations plus, Persia, Africa, China, even Tibet.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Lush and colourful mini-series based on the classic "1001 Nights". The framework works nicely; the harried sultan, initially all sweat and paranoia, set on the path to redemption by his new wife Scheherezade (Mili Avital, who is just exquisite), who must maintain his interest by telling him stories or be executed. It left me wanting more, so by that measure at least the film is a success. Cameos and star turns abound in this enormous production and refreshingly for a Hallmark miniseries, the slant is more English than American. The humour and dialogue can be just a bit twee at times (one almost expects Hugh Grant to peep around the curtain at any moment) but like Turkish delight, this film is sweet but not sickening
Arabian Night also belongs to one of the fantasy-movies which you can also put in the table with Sinbad and the 10th Kingdom. Arabian Nights is a very interesting and nice movie to watch because it takes you to a world of fantasy and mystic, in which the stories told by an Arabian woman, form actually the movie. So we will find the famous stories about Ali Baba and Aladdin and his wonderlamp. The other day i bought this movie and i don't regret it. I think that a 8 out of 10 is a qualification Arabian nights deserves because i enjoyed it 3 hours long. Don't think too much and let yourself lead back to the old legends of the Middle East, you won't regret it.
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