With a title like The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, I was fully expecting this Hallmark Entertainment miniseries to be one of the cheesiest pieces of entertainment I’ve ever consumed. As a fan of B-movies and other so bad it’s good entertainment, that prediction should almost be considered a complement rather than an insult. Just like I was hoping for, The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns is very cheesy but unexpectedly, the production (outside of some truly awful special effects) was actually better than I was expecting. All in all, that makes The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns a solid (if not even better) watch for families and B-movie fans alike.
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns is an approximately three-hour long miniseries starring Randy Quaid and Whoopi Goldberg (though Whoopi only has a few scenes). American businessman Jack Woods (Quaid) arrives in Ireland for a holiday and also to scope out the land for a possible golf course. While in Ireland, he meets a gorgeous woman he is immediately interested in (Kathleen Fitzpatrick played by Orla Brady) but makes a horrible first impression with. He also meets some much more surprising entities, a group of leprechauns (after he saves one from drowning). Jack’s main story involves his budding relationship with Kathleen but the leprechauns have their own plotline. After a young leprechaun named Mickey sneaks into a party in the fairy castle and meets Princess Jessica, the two fall in love bringing the two races to the brink of war (in an almost complete recreation of Romeo and Juliet with some minor and a few major differences).
Please note that the review portion of this post is going to sound pretty negative. However, I actually really enjoyed this title in a B-movie sort of way and these negatives can be turned into positives with the power of riffing. First of all, the special effects in The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns are absolutely terrible. From the leprechaun effects (especially when they ride the sheep) to the horseman, fairies, tree spirits, and the least believable tornado I have ever seen, it’s hard to determine which effect is the worst. My vote is for either the tree spirits or the tornado but they are all pretty bad. The fights in this miniseries are basically glorified LARP battles. However, all of this is what I was expecting and even hoping for. The laughable special effects, battles, and super obvious jokes are all great fodder if you are watching this for its cheesiness.
The story mostly focuses on the Romeo and Juliet portion but Jack’s story still plays a prominent role. I would say both stories are pretty generic and average though. The leprechaun/fairy story at least has some surprising twists to the typical Romeo and Juliet plot but I wouldn’t exactly call it groundbreaking. The Jack/Kathleen romance story is about as by the numbers as it gets.
That sure sounds like a lot of negatives (unless you are watching it as a B-movie like I did) but there are some positives as well. First of all, despite the jokes being very obvious at times (the miniseries uses almost every cheesy and obvious joke opportunity available to it), I still found myself laughing quite a bit. While nowhere near the biggest names in the cast, I especially loved the comedic performances of Colm Meaney and Zoe Wanamaker as Seamus and Mary Muldoon (the father and mother of Mickey). They are both a hoot to watch and have almost all of the best comedic material in this miniseries. Another positive I must mention, despite the fact that The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns is mostly about a war between leprechauns and fairies, this is one of the more relaxing pieces of entertainment I’ve watched. The peaceful Irish/Celtic music is almost certainly a big part of that but this is just overall solid entertainment that you can just enjoy without having to think too much.
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns is approaching its twentieth anniversary but even though it is starting to get up there in age, I must say I was pretty disappointed by the video quality on this release. I wasn’t exactly expecting insanely good video quality out of a ’90s TV miniseries but at best, I would say it is just watchable quality. Making things even worse is the formatting, this was shot during the era of square TVs but it makes it even harder to watch. However, this does appear to be the first time this miniseries has been made available on DVD so beggars can’t exactly be choosers. Still, if you are a stickler for good video quality you might want to stay away from this release. No extras are included outside of a digital copy for Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service.
There’s nothing truly unique or amazing about The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns but I overall enjoyed the cheesy goodness it provides. As long as you can stand the horrible special effects and the super obvious jokes (or you are planning on riffing on it and that gives you good material to work with), I would recommend giving this miniseries a chance. However, I am a sucker for cheesy entertainment. Outside of one scene (Jack gawking at Kathleen when she was swimming naked, but no nudity is included), this is a pretty good title for families to enjoy as well. There is some fighting but as I wrote earlier they are basically LARP fights with no blood or anything like that. Recommended, especially for riffers and families.
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns was released on DVD on June 5, 2018.
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
Saturday 9th of March 2019
I have been trying for years to find the name of the music played during the step dancing scene. I had found a clip of the step dance scene on youtube and in the comments someone said that the music was originally traditional Scottish folk music and the Irish borrowed it, and the person may have named a name... but now those video clips aren't available here in the U.S. and I can't see the comment section to look up a possible name again. Neither IMBD or Wikipedia or any google search was able to come up with an answer. Any chance anyone here knows where I can fi d that information?