This movie (on VHS) was given to me many years ago as a gift. Although I had never even heard of this film at the time, it only took one viewing for it to become a favorite of mine. These days, it seems you can score a DVD of "The Land of Faraway" for a cool hundred bones. And I assure you, it is worth every penny.
First off, there's the drab opening scenes where poor orphan Bosse gets picked on by everyone. You'll feel sorry for him, but that's because you don't realize he has a wondrous destiny in store. All of a sudden, a giant floating head materializes out of nowhere and, ordering Bosse to hang onto his beard, spirits him away to the Land of Faraway! Needless to say, this is a bizarre montage that will astound you.
The floating head delivers him to the palace, where he meets his father (the King, natch) and his best friend Jum-Jum. (How you can have a best friend you've never met is a bit bewildering to me, but hey, it's Christian Bale, and he could sell a blind man a "pap", let alone a friendless loser on the prospect of a new homie.) Bosse gets a new name, "Mio", and a flying horse, "Miramis", and the audience begins to wonder what the heck is going on here.
Enter the evil villain, KATO! Every time his name is spoken, a fierce and scary wind blows from somewhere offscreen. The effect is so comical, I guarantee you will find yourself repeatedly faux-intoning "KA-TO!!" after watching the film. (By the way, it rhymes with "gato", not NATO.) Christopher Lee is awesome in this role, particularly when he gets to deliver lines like "This is the most dangerous sword I've had in my castle...it cannot kill the young and innocent!" Obviously, the new Prince of Faraway needs to take this mug down. So Mio and Jum-Jum set out on an adventure to take down KATO and restore peace to the Land of Faraway.
Cue the ABBA-penned theme!
If you're looking for a wondrous fantasy film that will thrill child and grownup alike, you might fare better with Harry Potter, etc. But if you're in the mood for a freaky Swedish flick that looks like it was made under the heavy influence of mushrooms, with a really scary wind that blows every time someone says "KATO", this movie is for you!