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. Effectively reworking some of the genre’s familiar themes, Markus Rothkrantz’s epic adventure fantasy, which is most suitable for children, may not find a hospitable theatrical setting, but it should be welcome on TV, cable and in other venues for family fare.
Tale begins with King Francis (Joss Ackland), Aralon’s compassionate and beloved leader, watching with painful sorrow and regret as his rivals, the exotic Morlin tribe, 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 controls time, he reasons, will be the master of the universe. With this powerful device, the victor can watch his enemies age and die before their time. Before long, every human in the world is aging at the alarming rate of one year per week, a giant clock ticking 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 his plans and orders her followers to build the monstrous device he’d invented.
But amidst the destruction, there’s also innocent romance: Princess Stephanie (Christine Taylor) falls for a young page, 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 serve the narrative well. Story is punctuated by Eckart Seeber’s vibrant music, performed by a full orchestra and choir.