When it comes to making magical live action fantasy movie epic for television, no one seems to do it better than Hallmark, and The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns lives up to the reputation. When Jack Woods (Randy Quaid) is sent from a New York real estate development company to look into buying up some properties as vacations villas, he has no idea that he will become part of a war between two factions of mystical little people, the Leprechauns and the Fairies. The Fairies are are structured society, wardens of nature, and make sure everything works properly. The seasons, the weather, and plant life. Leprechauns are free spirits, always looking for a good time, and they are providers of mischief and partying. This sounds very much like the Kurzicks and Luxons of Guild Wars : Factions. ….But wait there’s more! Not only is this about a feud between factions of little magical people, but it is also a new retelling of an old classic, Romeo and Juliet.
Back to Jack Woods. When he arrives in Ireland, he is set up in a rental cabin with the most basic amenities. A peat burning stove, and oil lamps in every room. It is summer, and he is only there for the week, so he is willing to rough it. The landlord gives him a clay bottle of Poitin as a gift. He sets the Poitin on a shelf, and then we see it shuffle away on its own, like we saw the will do in The Borrowers. There is mischief afoot, and its name is Seamus Muldoon (Colm Meaney), leader of the Leprechaun nation. Jack goes out exploring, and sees Seamus running from the cabin, and just as he is about to fall in the creek by the cabin, Jack catches him to stop him from drowning. Also while exploring, Jack catches his shoe on a tree root, and glances over to see a raven-haired woman skinny-dipping in the creek, further down. The woman is Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Orla Brady), and she loudly accuses Jack of being a peeping tom. They go back into the house, a chat, and polish off the bottle of potent Poitin poison. They are rewarded with mind-splitting hangovers the next day, and Muldoon’s little fiery wife, Mary (Zoë Wanamaker), giving Seamus the business. We also meet with Seamus’ son, Mickey(Daniel Betts). Jack decides it is best to meet with Miss Fitzpatrick to explain that he was not peeping, but never gets the chance, because her four dense brothers are wanting to beat him up for “peeping” on their sister.
Meanwhile, Mickey and his friends, Barney O’Grady (Keiran Culkin), Sean Devine (Tony Curran), and Jericho O’Grady (Kevin McKidd) are looking for some fun. They run into Count Grogan (The Prince and Me’s Jonathan Firth) of the Fairies, along with his flunkies. They fight, but are warned not to by the Great Banshee (Whoopi Goldberg) because she has had enough of the in-fighting between the magical peoples. They go on to hit the local leprechaun watering hole for some ceilidh-style partying. Even though the music is lively, and the dancing is fun, not to mention that like most males, they enjoy seeing the lovely lady leprechauns doing Gaelic tap dancing in their short skirts and tights, they soon grow bored. It turns out that later, the Fairies are having their annual summer ball, and they decide to crash it. They jump four male Fairies on their way to the ball, and steal their clothes to disguise themselves. This is a masque ball, but only the males are masked, which adds some mystery and fun for the females. Here is where Mickey sees Princess Jessica (Caroline Carver), and is instantly smitten. After dancing with her for hours, and getting to know her better, Mickey has to have her, no matter if she is his enemy. What happens after pretty much follows the classic storyline, but with much Irish magic thrown in. While the focus romance is on the two young fae-folk, there is a secondary romance growing between Jack and Kathleen in the human world. Jack and Kathleen will become the mediators that will bring peace to these Fae nations, but not after there has been an all-out war declared, and Mickey and Jessica feel that they are to blame.
If you ever do get a chance to run across this movie, you’ve got the luck of the Irish on your side. It is rare to see fun family films made for TV like these any more. It is hard to believe it was made only twelve years ago. It is long, and deserving of the subject of epic, but worth every minute of watching it, no matter how many times you do.
I give this film a Musing review of