‘Arabian Nights: The Complete Mini-Series Event’
(Mili Avital, Dougray Scott, Alan Bates, John Leguizamo, Jason Scott Lee, et al / DVD / NR / (2000) 2016 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Based on the classic story, A Thousand and One Nights, this lavish production brings to life some of the most timeless fables to come down through the ages. A legendary heroine, Scheherazade (Mili Avital, Stargate), saves her kingdom and her own life by seducing her husband Schahriar's (Dougray Scott, Ever After) imagination with the fantastical tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and other larger-than-life heroes, warriors and djinns.
DVD Verdict: 'Arabian Nights' is by far one of the best fantasy movies I've ever seen. Most so-called sci-fi movies are actually fantasy movies which need us to suspend our imaginations. Hence, as plot devices scientifically dubious not to mention laughable 'futuristic' technologies are thrown in. That's why in the sci-fi/fantasy genre I like to watch movies based on various mythologies. Those stories have stood the test of time - by having being refined in the most subtle ways.
‘Arabian Nights’ is one such set of stories and I am truly satisfied with the way this movie took to the stories. If some creative liberty was taken, it did not appear forced (says the unlettered! I have never read all the original stories and cannot attest to the authenticity of the stories presented.)
I have like Mili Avital since I first saw Stargate (1994) (a true disaster that spawned not one but two Sci-fi series no less). Her role was the cheese that held the movie's macaroni together. Some of the best scenes were between her and the storyteller the ones where he is giving her tips how to hold the Sultan's/audience's attention. I specially liked the one where the story teller tells her about the night when he came face to face to death. It was funny, yet gripping - the exact effect the storyteller was trying to achieve.
I am not a big fan of any of the men in the movie but all did a great job. All the stories were done with a great sense of humor - the genies in Aladdin's story, the sultan who switches places with a drunk (and meets his end with a smile on his face), Bac-bac's story - all done really well. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.