~How Stories Show Us How To Live~
A. Casalino | Downers Grove, IL USA | 11/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's very amazing that this was originally presented as a cable mini-series - as I eventually happened to watch it in its entirety and found it to be, in fact, quite extraordinary! I never thought, in all these years of watching movies, that such a film could be made from such a classic and intricate collection of stories - Ah - and how it has come to enthrall me! I truly am undone! Scheherazade (Mili Avital) marries the Sultan Schahriar (Dougray Scott) even though she knows that his mad mind has contrived a plan to execute his new wife the morning after their wedding. After they are married, she proceeds to spend every wakeful night with him, feeding his imagination with wondrous tales! This is based on the classic work of writing - A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, by Sir Richard Burton. It includes ancient tales that had been passed down for hundreds and even thousands of years! Five of these stories, including the tale of Ali Baba (Rufus Sewell) and Aladdin (Jason Scott Lee) are woven and portrayed upon the screen here in brilliant fashion! The special effects are far beyond what one would ever expect - even from a big-screen movie. I am sure, in fact, that this was only made for cable because it is a captivating 4-hours long!The performances herein are as excellent as ever one can come by - Mili Avital and Dougray Scott are both so lovely and possess a wonderful chemistry - And the settings are nothing less than exquisite! If you have four or so hours of easy leisure - I recommend this for both its insight and its beauty~~"
A. Casalino | 07/24/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I watched Arabian Nights on television and I loved it. I loved everything about it: the storyline, the acting, the scenery, the costumes, everything. I was so looking forward to getting this video. I was so disappointed when I realized that the editors of this movie cut out crucial scenes that were inclued in the televised movie. It's basically a choppy mess. Some of the edited out portions were subtle but I knew where the cuts were. A good movie should flow smoothly. For example, the story about Amin the beggar and Abrashield were entirely cut out. That's a crucial part of the movie. It's when the sultan realizes what his brother is doing to him. Without that part, the scene doesn't make sense. Two stars for this video, no stars for the editor."
Imaginative and Exciting Family Entertainment
Angela D. Mitchell | Hobbiton | 08/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just as Sheherazade would like it, "Arabian Nights" is a tale well told. It's a movie filled with color, humor, romance, and fascinating characters -- in short, it's everything those other awful recent "magical" miniseries wish they would've been (only to fail miserably). After suffering through the overcooked disappointments of "Merlin" or this year's "10th Kingdom," I wasn't looking forward to "Arabian Nights." But I watched, and was glad I did. "Arabian Nights" is that rare TV attempt that does justice to the original book it's based on (1001 Nights). The miniseries is told in a tight two nights (175 minutes total on DVD), and is an example of a production in which everything was done right. The DVD itself not only boasts a beautifully rendered and uncut version of the film, it also offers an enjoyable look behind the scenes, plus the standard bios and production notes -- as well as some unusually beautiful interactive menus featuring a hint of magic in each one.The special effects for "Arabian Nights" are beautifully done, and without the overkill usually associated with this kind of TV fare. There's also a poetry missing from most TV family entertainment -- a beautiful score, and a thoughtfully written script (by Peter Barnes). The actors also rise to the challenge: From the graceful Mili Avital, who makes a lovely and spirited Sheherazade, to Dougray Scott's complex, tormented, and surprisingly sympathetic Sultan, and delightful guest appearances from the likes of Jason Scott Lee, Rufus Sewell, Alan Bates, and many more -- Arabian Nights is one of those rare gems whose substance more than matches its style."In telling a story, get to the end -- then stop," says the wise old storyteller to beautiful Sheherazade. Truer words were never spoken -- Arabian Nights does indeed tell a wonderful, exciting, humorous, and even romantic story that moves with the speed of a thousand genies -- and then stops, in just the right place. Well worth a watch, and for all ages."