Arabian Nights [2000]

Arabian Nights When Sultan Said discovers his wife locked in a passionate embrace with his only brother, he flings his sword at the prince and accidentally murders his adulterous queen. Tortured by his wife's ghost, the maniacal and cowardly sultan must marry another to save his kingdom, but to avoid future matrimonial disgrace he plans to have her executed the morning after the wedding. Fortunately for him, Scheherezade, the grand vicar's daughter played by the lovely Mili Avital, jumps at the challenge and the chance to marry her childhood love. A master storyteller, the newly crowned sultana escapes death night after night with her mesmerizing tales of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, countless warriors, supernatural duels, and ferocious genies. Although the main story line falls short of Scheherezade's seductive tales, audiences will be enchanted with fantastic special effects, elaborate costumes, and the magic of Persia. Wonderfully directed and edited by Steve Barron, Hallmark's Arabian Nights will particularly appeal to fans of magical computer-effects laden television miniseries. --Melissa Asher Gulliver's Travels Ebulliently imaginative and far more cleverly presented than you would expect from a TV miniseries, this satirical adventure succeeds by never pandering to the lowest common denominator. Closely based on Jonathan Swift's 1726 classic, it is enhanced by dazzling special effects from Jim Henson Productions and a superb, multi-ethnic cast. The biggest surprise is Ted Danson in the title role--one of his best performances, even if he is the only person in England without an accent. He conveys amusement, amazement, and intelligence as he travels from one strange country into another. Not that anyone back in Merry Old England believes Mr. Gulliver's tales of little people or giants. The story is told in flashback from an insane asylum, where he is forcibly confined. This far outshines several previous adaptations of Swift's satirical novel. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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