One of the many Heroic Fantasy films produced by Roger Corman to capitalize on the popularity of fantasy films at the time, Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom is to The NeverEnding Story what Deathstalker was to Conan the Barbarian.
Filmed in Argentina like most of Corman's other fantasy films from The '80s, Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom was apparently created in an effort to craft a more family-friendly film. Ironically, a goodly portion of the movie - including its opening credits - feature heavily edited Stock Footage from the decidedly adult Deathstalker and Sorceress.
After the pretentious Opening Narration tells us about a time of wizards making war with each other and The Good King Tylor putting a stop to this, The King is unceremoniously killed by the Evil Sorcerer Shurka and King Tylor's treacherous second-wife. The two plot to rule the kingdom together, but Shurka eventually turns on the queen, deciding to marry King Tylor's daughter from his first marriage.
The only hope for the kingdom is Simon - a whiney tween apprentice wizard who manages to lose the magical Ring of Power that his father, King Tylor's court wizard Wulfrick, entrusted him to guard and use against Shurka. The rest of the movie concerns Simon, his furry companion Gulfax and Kor The Conqueror - a drunken swordsman who keeps saving Simon from his own stupidity (much to the increasing annoyance of both Shurka and the audience) - trying to get back to the castle so they can recover the ring before Shurka can find it and become all-powerful.
This film provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Kor is on the run from one of these, an ogress and her brother, and Simon eventually has to help him escape from them.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: A rare mashup with the Shotgun Wedding in which the bride's brother is the aggressor who forces Kor to either marry his sister or be served up as the wedding dinner.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: The ending, in which Simon marries the princess and becomes the new king.
- Big Bad: Shurka, the evil wizard who leads an army into the castle, murders the king and the court wizard, and intends to marry the teenage princess.
- But Now I Must Go: Kor wanders off once the kingdom is saved, saying that Simon doesn't need his help anymore.
- The Chosen Zero: Simon immediately loses the MacGuffin before even leaving the castle and it's only the villain's incompetence that keeps them from getting it. Along the way he is also easily tricked by random seductive women in the forest and the phantom voice of the princess he's trying to rescue. And then there's that time that he tried to raise the dead to serve him and they didn't appreciate it...
- Cartoon Creature: It's never explained just what Gulfax is; Kor even lampshades it during his introduction by calling him a "whatchamacallit".
- Coconut Superpowers: Reeeally bad special effects.
- Covers Always Lie: While the cover artwork is a fair likeness of Simon and the blue lion dragon creature does appear in the movie, Simon is never seen riding it. And the lion dragon thing is only seen in Stock Footage from the movie Sorceress.
- Another poster◊ also has a long-haired, black-garbed Simon riding a black lion dragon and now he has a laser sword. Not surprisingly this movie wasn't keen on accurately depicting how boring it was.
- Evil Sorcerer: Shurka. While his armies do the heavy lifting of storming the castle he does use his magic powers to murder the king and many of his henchmen. His powers let him frequently spy on Simon and remotely attack him at least once.
- Expy: Simon's 'pet' and companion Gulfax. Not a Chewbacca rip off at all.
- Failed a Spot Check: Simon loses the ring by dropping it. The next scene establishes that somehow, the ring is now "hidden" in the mouth of one of the gargoyles in the room, which are at head height. No explanation for how it got there, nor does anyone in the room seem to see it, though it is shown to be incredibly shiny. The minions looking for it do have the excuse of being dwarfs, meaning it's at least above their eye level.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Hurla's magic wine is too clear to even be white wine, even lampshaded by Max during one of the bumpers.
- Funny Background Event: Observe the archers on top of the "towers" during Shurka's invasion. They barely do anything, except to occasionally remember that they are supposed to be trying to shoot at the bad guys. Most egregious when Shurka's troops force the "door" and one archer is just plucking his bow in the general direction of the invaders without arrows.
- The Good King: King Tylor became king by ridding the world of the evil sorcerers who created a state of anarchy as they battled each other. Not much is known about his reign other than he employs a good wizard.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: To make the final wizard duel between Simon and Shurka more drawn-out and dramatic... they miss with their magic attacks a bunch. In spite of the fact they didn't have any trouble hitting their targets before.
- Informed Ability: Multiple examples.
- Simon is said to have the makings of a great wizard... despite his inability to hold on to the Ring of Power. As in Simon loses it within 15 seconds of receiving it, like his finger is coated in butter. He has the audacity to look surprised when it is no longer on his finger.
- Kor The Conqueror seems to do more drinking and shaking off the alcohol withdrawal symptoms than actually conquering anything.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kor. He's a drunkard but he does seem to genuinely care about Simon's welfare despite his claims of being a mercenary who fights for the highest bidder.
- Never Trust a Title: The kingdom is never lost, except in the sense that it is in danger of being usurped.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Simon tries to raise the dead in order to ask them to fight for him. It never occurs to him they might say no and kill him in order to be allowed to rest in peace.
- Plot Hole: Thanks to the haphazard shooting of the film, numerous continuity issues exist through the course of the narrative. One that stands out is Simon blocking the Big Bad from scrying on him followed by a scene of the big bad scrying on him.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The movie claims the soundtrack is by James Horner, but it sounds more like the bulk of Horner's work is cribbed from previous Corman films, most notably Battle Beyond the Stars.
- Ring of Power: The MacGuffin that Simon is charged with protecting and loses almost immediately.
- Stock Footage: Footage from other Roger Corman produced fantasy films makes up a fair bit of the flashback sequences. As screenwriter Ed Naha explained to Fanfare Magazine in 1995:"I don't think this movie was so much shot as it was beaten to death. When they whittled it down to what was useful from the footage, it only ran 58 minutes. Now Roger had done a lot of sword-and-sorcery films, and so he told a couple of the editors to pull all they could from them and edit that footage in. So now the finished movie has a 15 or 20-minute prologue that has nothing to do with rest of the film!"
- Take Our Word for It: The backstory of King Tylor bringing peace to the kingdom by stopping the warring wizards is told entirely in the prologue, and ends up sounding like a much more interesting story than the one we got.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Most wizards in the kingdom have no magic outside of certain places of power (The Ring of Power is important because it's a portable place of power, removing this restriction for the wearer). Which in one notable case meant that the wizard was helpless if caught by his enemies while traveling more than five feet away from his front door.
- Wicked Stepmother: King Tylor's second wife plotted with Shurka to kill him and usurp the throne.