Spellbreaker: Secret of the Leprechauns (1996)

Spellbreaker VHS CoverIt’s easy to say that Spellbreaker: The Secret of the Leprechauns is like some kind of mediocre wish granted for having endured its puny predecessor, Leapin’ Leprechauns!

If you recall, that film followed an old man and his stowaway leprechaun and fairy friends as he visited his douche son and family in Denver. Douche dad was trying to scam old man into letting him build the Irelandland theme park on Fairy Hill. No one believed old man about the existence of the wee folk at first, but everyone came around eventually.

If you don’t recall any of that, don’t worry because Spellbreaker wastes its first two minutes having douche dad’s creepy son, Mikey, narrate it all, accompanied by flashbacks. This is easily the worst part of Spellbreaker. That’s not really a compliment toward Spellbreaker so much as a reminder of what a pile of pooka droppings Leapin’ Leprechauns! was.

Spellbreaker wisely ditches the strange non-story of the dad half-heartedly trying to swindle and institutionalize his own father. Even wiser still, it ditches the entire douche family except for grandpa and Mikey, mysteriously sending Mikey on a vacation to stay with grandpa despite us having seen the whole family seemingly move to Fairy Hill at the end of the first film. (Douche Dad was last seen giving tours of Fairy Hill complete in his Irish costume of a turtleneck, hat and vest!)

While Mikey and grandpa enjoy themselves in the woods fishing and joking with their leprechaun buddies, a mysterious redheaded woman named Morgan appears riding a sinister looking black horse. She says she’s staying at the old ruined evil castle just up the way and invites Mikey to clean up some boxes for her.

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Those of you versed in the advanced cinema technique known as “foreshadowing” will be instantly suspicious of her, what with the leprechauns seemingly unrelated babble about the Lord of the Dead Finvarra and his crappy bride Nula. You’ll also be on the edge of your seat waiting for that moment that little Mikey will need to use his new found talent for sleight-of-hand magic tricks.

King Kevin of the leprechauns is smitten with Morgan and gets himself trapped and put under her spell when he greedily eats her enchanted cake. When he finally makes his way back to his kingdom, he is determined that she will be his bride and sends all the leprechauns out to find suitable wedding gifts. Presumably Morgan knew this would happen because she gallops through forest with her butterfly net catching all the leprechauns.

Morgan’s plan is to deliver them all to Finvarra in the land of the dead and then I guess she and he will rule over Fairy Hill. As a rule, I generally tune out the ravings of bullies, madmen, and egotistical supernatural beings because do I really need to know all the details of why their ass has to be kicked back to whatever smelly realm they came from?

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I’ll admit that after the first movie, I thought a best case scenario for Mikey might be growing up to be a registered sex offender. His terrible haircut and nerd glasses combined with a natural surliness was a recipe for social alienation and sexual isolation that was sure to lead to multiple felonies once puberty unlocked all his evil gifts.

But I’ll give the little freak credit, he channeled all that weirdo stuff into being a kid who instantly distrusts Morgan, is smart enough not to eat her cursed cookies (it seems ridiculous that his grandfather would accuse him of imagining things since they spend their time hanging out with leprechauns and fairies), sabotages Morgan’s potions, and uses his lock picking abilities to try and free his leprechaun friends. He’s like a little teeny Jason Bourne!

You can complain that this is simply another case of a big time mythical villain being outsmarted and embarrassed by a kid, but Morgan knew the kid was trouble from the beginning and did what she could to neutralize him. How was she to know she was dealing with a budding Doug Henning?

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Likewise, a demanding viewer may also rightly observe that King Kevin and the Fairy Queen talk way too much and that their antics aren’t nearly as funny as the movie meant them to be. At least this time though, they have something to do other than harass kids at a playground and disrupt dinner parties.

While Spellbreaker is no Darby O’Gill and the Little People (and really, what is – that one starred James Bond!) it’s much more in line with the minimal expectations of a Full Moon Entertainment family movie about wee folk than Leapin’ Leprechauns! was.

Keeping the action set in Ireland, dispensing with the lame family drama and ramping up the action up to and including a trip to the underworld where poor Mikey is forced into a leather harness so he can haul the steamer trunk full of leprechauns and his now shrunken grandfather(!) easily make Spellbreaker a two-leaf clover film to Leapin’ Leprechauns!‘s one-leaf clover blarney. And if it’s all resolved with a bit of leprechaun wish deus ex machina that seemed made up on the spot, well, that’s just something to be chalked up to the mysterious ways of those tricky Fairy Folk, right?

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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