Empire Queen fun enough but not golden

Film review of Empire Queen. Picture: ON FILE

By Seth Lukas Hynes

Empire Queen: The Golden Age of Magic

Starring Chris Dane Owens, Ciel Post and Jason Schulz



Empire Queen: The Golden Age of Magic is a campy, charming but bloated fantasy romp from musician and filmmaker Chris Dane Owens.

In the fantasy realm of Alerion, Commander Jade Cross (Owens) must find the Sovereign Wand and bring the peasant girl Arra (Ciel Post) to her rightful place on the throne.

Empire Queen is a long-term passion project for writer-director Owens (who co-wrote and co-directed the film with Jason Schulz), whose eighties-style power metal song Shine On Me and its music video are classics of early YouTube.

Empire Queen is corny but made with clear passion and enthusiasm as a tribute to silly fantasy movies.

With its attractive cast in beautiful locations, upbeat tone, whimsical score and opulent art direction (subpar CGI and obvious greenscreen be damned), Empire Queen is a very enjoyable lightweight adventure, and Mary Elise Hayden stands out among the cast with haughty venom as Queen Gwendolyn.

For fans of Shine On Me, it’s also fun to spot where Empire Queen expands upon the viral 2008 music video.

Empire Queen is a rewarding watch for viewers with a liking for cheesy movies, but it’s far too long at nearly 2.5 hours, and bogged down with heavy exposition and multiple quests for fantasy Macguffins.

Moreover, while the film has plenty of funny moments, some of the dialogue and performances are too stilted and awkward even for a corny movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Despite the film’s faults, Owens realising his dream project after nearly twenty years is a net good, and Empire Queen: The Golden Age of Magic is a campy fun time that you can rent or buy on Amazon Prime and Vimeo.