MARCO POLO: RETURN TO XANADU
Release Date: December 28, 2001
Audience: Children, but unacceptable
Rating: Not Rated by the MPAA
Runtime: 82 minutes
Director: Ron Merk
Address Comments To:The Tooniversal Company
21755 Ventura Blvd., #101
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Telephone: (310) 230-7684
Fax: (801) 365-7267
Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu (2000)
The movie opens with a yogi named Babu on a flying carpet distorting the history of Marco Polo (who in reality, but not in the movie, opened up and even brought Christianity to the Far East). The movie shows Marco Polo visiting Xanadu during the reign of Kublai Khan. Khan befriends Polo and decides to give him one of two magic medallions crafted by an ancient wizard. Regrettably, Khan’s evil servant, Foo Ling, a descendant of the wizard who created the medallions, decides to steal one of the medallions for his own dastardly ambitions. The medallions have the power to reunite both wearers and so, in one of the most inexplicable plot points ever, Khan decides to break his medallion in half in order to keep Foo Ling from claiming the power of his medallion. Then, he gives one half to Polo, telling him that when both sides of the medallion are rejoined, Foo Ling will be brought to justice. Why Khan broke the medallion (supposedly to keep Foo Ling from its power) only to then state that the bringing together of the medallion in the future would bring Foo Ling to justice is, however, hardly the most absurd point the movie makes.
Quite some time later, a descendant of Marco Polo, also named Marco Polo, is targeted by Foo Ling’s men in search of the medallion. He escapes and decides to journey to Xanadu to reunite his portion with the other broken half. Along the way, he receives significant advice from Babu who makes claims frequently that reality is all an illusion and practices mind over matter on several occasions, thus underlining the pagan, false religious, Hindu, anti-Christian worldview of the movie. Later, Babu tells Marco to “follow his heart,” yet, if all is an illusion, why is following one’s heart a preferable path? This mixture of Hindu and Romantic notions is yet another confusion of this movie.
MARCO POLO: RETURN TO XANADU is not worthwhile in any way, shape or form. As a movie, it fails completely. Perhaps the filmmaker's view that life is an illusion led him to believe that a beginning, middle or an end are unnecessary. At any rate, the movie does not end, and so the last 20 minutes of the film (after Marco reunites the broken medallion and drives off Foo Ling), involve Marco and company chasing Foo Ling through time in what appears to be another movie entirely. Marco never actually gets Foo Ling, and Babu the Indian yogi remarks to the audience that “the adventure has just begun.” How unfortunate, since any sane viewer will have wished the adventure had ended long before.
Animation for the movie is worse than direct-to-video or even cartoons made on a daily basis for cable outlets. Backgrounds are stale. The proportions of the characters in the movie, particularly Foo Ling, change with every motion and backgrounds have almost no definition or detail. Furthermore, there are a host of unpleasant characters including the anti-Asian stereotypes, and a myopic, effete Dinosaur.
The movie’s soundtrack and audio is abysmal. The songs are so poorly written it is painful. As Charles Solomon points out in his Los Angeles Times review on December 28, 2001, “The many, unnecessary songs run to such painful attempts at rhymes as ‘I enjoy kidnapping lovely ladies/I love stealing candy from babies.’ And naming Asian characters Lo Fat and Wong Wei in 2001 ranks as dubious taste at best.”
From a Christian perspective, the movie is muddled, obscure, evil, and confused. False religious, revisionist, occult, anti-Christian elements dominate this entirely worthless production, without any merits or upside whatsoever. One has to pity very much the people who actually spent time working on this production and perhaps even wonder if they were in their right mind when they made it.
MARCO POLO fails completely. Animation for the movie is worse than direct-to-video or even cartoons made on a daily basis for cable outlets. There are a host of unpleasant characters including the anti-Asian stereotypes. The movie’s soundtrack is abysmal. The songs are painful. The movie is muddled, obscure, evil, and confused. False religious, revisionist, occult, anti-Christian elements dominate this worthless production. One has to pity very much the people who actually spent time working on this production