Made-for-TV Movie about a family consisting of a single father, Professor Alan Aisling (Beau Bridges), with two daughters, nine year old Cassie and fifteen year old Miranda, who, after escaping an attack by Trolls in the real world, end up going on a journey in a fantasy world. They find out they are involved in a prophecy involving Trolls taking over a fantasy world. Naturally, this family are the chosen ones.
The family ends up traveling around to different islands on their ship, the Unicorn, and go on a series of largely unrelated adventures in the pursuit of their main goal: fulfilling the prophecy and finding the dragon skull that will end the trolls' reign of terror. Clocking in at over 2 hours and 40 minutes, the film is almost a Door Stopper in movie form, as it was originally delivered as a 2-part film.
An adaptation of the richly illustrated children's book Voyage of the Basset. Some things have changed in the adaptation, such as Aisling being less of a jerk who's obsessed with proving his journey to people at any cost, and the removal of the gremlins and harpies, but at the same time, much was added to the plot and the characters were fleshed out a lot more, making this both an Adaptation Distillation and Adaptation Expansion.
This movie contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Miranda turns into one near the end, taking down multiple trolls with only a staff despite her lack of any fighting skills or training shown before.
- Adaptation Distillation: Removed from the book are gremlins and harpies who rode aboard the ship, making it grow very crowded. They played no actual role in the plot anyway. Alan Aisling's character was cleaned up a bit, by removing a major character flaw. The time period was changed from the 19th century to modern times.
- Adaptation Expansion: The plot and characters (the ones who remained) have more depth in the movie. Brief scenes were heavily expanded upon. Plus, the prophecy aspect of the plot was added.
- All Just a Dream: See Or Was It a Dream? below.
- All Myths Are True: Say hello to the minotaur, Medusa and a sphinx!
- All Trolls Are Different: These guys are a war-hungry military race.
- And You Were There: After they return to Earth, Alan sees a young Asian woman who looks like Medusa on the campus. It's implied they might get together, and he can move on from losing his wife. Other people who look like those from the magical land are also seen.
- Arc Words: "Credendo Vides" (by believing, one sees) and "faith precedes the miracle".
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Subtle. There's no swearing, but just barely enough violence to get a PG. While a good deal of the actual fighting is slapstick, there's some surprising cuts on Miranda's face with some blood later on (ironically; it's not from fighting).
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: It's tarnished "in an aesthetically pleasing way". Miranda later gets bruised and cut, and looks visibly damaged and hurt, but it still looks attractive on her.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Unicorn has far more spacious rooms inside than should be possible. Alan says normal physics is obviously suspended here, and delighted to see it.
- Cessation of Existence: Discussed by Alan and one of his students after he asks what if anything happens when we die. Alan calls this view "sad" and "boring". There is a deep subtext here, as he's recently lost his wife.
- Chosen One: The prophecy says "a man of learning and two beautiful maidens" will free the land. That must mean Alan Aisling (a college professor) and his daughters, of course.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Credendo Vides Latin for - is used throughout the movie. A number of unrealistic things occur simply by believing they can.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Averted. The Unicorn has a small cannon, which comes in handy when the trolls attack.
- For the Evulz: After a scene in which Cassie tells the trolls that they could live in peace and be accepted by the other races, the troll leader makes it clear he doesn't care about turning good.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Canadian actress and former model Kira Clavell plays Medusa. Aside from having CGI snakes for hair, she's pretty much a gorgeous eurasian lady.
- Kid Hero: Parent Hero, too! The family that goes adventuring consists of a 9-year-old, 15-year-old and a college professor.
- MacGuffin: The dragon skull, which is desired by the trolls, and which the heroes are told they must find first.
- Made-for-TV Movie
- Or Was It a Dream?: After the family returns home, they see some of the characters they met in the real world.
- Missing Mom: Alan is a widower, struggling after the loss of his wife with two daughters.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: They may be distracted and not notice right away, but that is one fake troll "disguise" that the heroes come up with.
- Science Destroys Magic: The titular vessel's motto is "Credendo vides", translated in - universe as "by believing, one sees". In other words, you have to ignore science and believe in the fantastic without evidence before you can see behind The Masquerade.
- Swiss-Army Tears: Unicorn tears have magical properties.
- Taken for Granite: Medusa attempts this on one of the trolls, but accidentally hits one of the other characters. Which ends up causing another sub-quest: undoing the effect.
- Visible to Believers: The titular ship's motto, "Credendo vides", is translated in - universe as "By believing, one sees." In fact, a more accurate translation of the Latin might be "you believe as you see"
- We Need a Distraction: These exact words are used. To try to retrieve the dragon skull, Cassie becomes a distraction without being asked.