Saban’s Magical Journey: ‘THE SECRET KINGDOM’ (2023) – Movie Review

Every generation grows up with children’s fantasy films, packed to the brim with wild excitement, taking the youth on a winding roller coaster of ups and downs. Saban Films boldly gives us the next chapter in that subgenre in The Secret Kingdom. In the vein of The Monster Squad (see our retro review here) or The PagemasterThe Secret Kingdom does a wonderful job of unlocking the imagination and then expanding the world to show us its vast possibilities. Let’s take a look at what makes this film such a fulfilling ride.

The Secret Kingdom is written and directed by Matt Drummond (Dinosaur Island 2014). It stars Alyla Browne (Three Thousand Years of Longing 2022) and Sam Everingham (Hardball TV Series 2019). The story follows the brother and sister combo of Peter and Verity as they move into a new place and uncover a secret underground world. With time running out, they must dig down deep inside themselves to rescue the dark world and restore balance to everything inside the portal in their room. The characters are fleshed out immediately, and the stakes are present from the start, so every viewer can invest in what’s happening from the very beginning of The Secret Kingdom.

The Secret Kingdom (2023)

One of the main aspects that stands out in this film is the beauty of the world that it asks you to believe in. The coloring, the architecture, and the creatures are all masterfully crafted. To say this ambitious adventure is visually captivating is an understatement. Matt Drummond has worked on several other films as a visual effects artist, and that background is put to great use here. Whether it’s the usage of SFX, the color palette as a whole, or the sculpting of the barrage of creatures, everything on the screen seems to leap off at every turn. Everything feels vast and larger than life, which gives the audience a sense that these children are taking on something that’s massive and formidable.

Browne and Everingham (Verity and Peter, respectively) have great chemistry together but are also given a lot of layers to explore in The Secret Kingdom. Verity is the sassy and imaginative one who is up for the journey, while Peter is a more timid and fearful type who can’t quite harness the magic inside him that he possesses. The sibling relationship, along with the need for Peter to conquer his fears amidst high pressure, are at the heart of the story here. Every kid can relate to one of these two protagonists who are forced to become heroes and meet new challenges that they never knew existed.

Saban Films’ The Secret Kingdom assuredly has the potential to be the next great fantasy adventure for the modern generation. The film debuts with a limited theatrical release on Friday, June 9, 2023, so catch it while you can!

Here’s a look at the official trailer:

About Jason Burke

Hey there, I'm Jason. I'm a lifelong writer and lover of all things that go bump in the night. Under my production company name, Nostalgic Nightmare Productions, I write and produce films, novels, and photoshoots. I'm also an actor, activist, poet, and stand-up comic. I believe in deep, character-driven stories that engage the audience.

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