To the Ends of Time

Period fantasy color

A Totem Pictures production. Produced by Ash R. Shah, Raj Mehotra. Executive producers, Sunil R. Shah, Anders Jensen, Sundip R. Shah. Co-producer, Todd King. Directed by Markus Rothkrantz. Screenplay, Rothkrantz, Dan Benton, Thomas Wheeler. Camera (color), Bryan Duggan; editor, Jack Tucker; music, Eckart Seeber; art direction, Michael Pearce; costume design, Francine Lecoultre; sound (Dolby), Adam Joseph; makeup, David Dupuis; visual effects producer, Gary Loconti; visual effects director, John Eppolito; associate producers, Debra Burkhardt, Loconti; stunt coordinator, Chip Campbell.

Reviewed at the AFI/L.A. Film Festival, L.A., Oct. 19, 1996. Running time: 94 min.

King Francis………….Joss Ackland
Princess Stephanie…Christine Taylor
James…………………Tom Schultz
Karnissa…………….Sarah Douglas
Aeschylus……….Michael Silverback
Loffo……………Wayne Thomas York
Sauris……………..James Paradise
Alexander……………William Zabka

Set in a fantasy world, where sailing ships fly and benevolent rulers protect their kingdoms with strange weaponry, To the Ends of Time is a fairy tale about the clash between time, humans' greatest enemy, and their most potent force, love. Reworking effectively some of the genre's familiar themes, Markus Rothkrantz' epic adventure fantasy, which is most suitable for children, may not find a hospitable theatrical venue, but it should be welcome on TV, cable, and other venues for family fare.

Tale begins with King Francis (Joss Ackland), Aralon's compassionate and beloved leader watching with painful sorrow and regret his rivals, the exotic tribe Morlin, conquer his castle and its peaceful people. Time stands still as a furious battle is unleashed between the two civilizations.

Tired of watching “pain, death and destruction,” the monarch is determined to end war forever, calling upon the magical powers of his alchemist, Aeschylus (Michael Silverback), to find the right solution. After many sleepless nights, Aeschylus presents a most original device, time–whoever masters time will be the master of the universe. With this device, whoever wins can watch his enemies age and die before their time. Before long, every human in the world ages rapidly, at the alarming rate of one year per week–a giant clock ticks away relentlessly inside an extinct volcano.

Following the format and archetypes of fairy tales, yarn's witch is a black-haired sorceress named Karnissa (Sarah Douglas), who kills Aeschylus, steals the plans and orders her followers to build the monstrous device. But amidst the destruction, there's also innocent romance: princess Stephanie (Christine Taylor) falls for a young page boy, James (Tom Schultz), who yearns to prove himself with the kind of adventure experienced by his older knight brother, Alexander (William Zabka).

Rothkrantz, who has worked on some big-budget, special effects Hollywood pics (Die Hard, Total Recall) and is still better known for designing movie-oriented pinball machines (Jurassic Park, Star Wars), shows in his directorial feature debut a visionary eye and a charming way to connect with younger viewers. He gives his period fantasy a bright design, which relies on saturated primary colors, and a somewhat old-fashioned look that resembles Disneyland's '50s and '60s attractions, prior to the invasion of the new technology.

The actors, including veteran Ackland as the king and Douglas as the villainess, service the narrative, which is punctuated by Eckart Seeber's vibrant music, played with a full Philharmonic orchestra and choir.