Taking a winning concept and moving it into a new location has been a tried and tested formula for success. Finding the perfect balance between offering the familiar but different feeling that audiences crave. In 1991, box-office goers who helped catapult the original Mannequin to the charts got a second dose of the old familiar magic, although this time with some key changes, as the concept went On The Move.
In the Germanic kingdom of Hauptmann-Koenig, Prince William loves a peasant girl, Jessie, who gets turned into a mannequin by the curse of Count Spretzle, due to an enchanted Necklace. 1000 years to the day, the region is facing economic difficulty and sends some of its priceless artefacts on tour, included in the manifest, is a 1000-year-old statue with a necklace. The statue will eventually go on a tour, coming to Pennsylvania where Everyman Jason Williamson lives, after falling for the exhibit and removing the necklace, Jessie comes to life, and Jessie catches up on 20th-century living while falling in love. As the logic of the curse is worked out, Williamson must be wary, as the evil count’s descendants may have plans for the neckless and Jessie.
Astute readers may notice some glaring similarities between the original and On The Move. The film is well aware of this, acknowledging the resemblance, practically calling them out on a fair few occasions, while offering valid excuses for certain characters to return, even with the replaying of the classic, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. The new ideas are also explored, outside a soundtrack that tries to replicate the vibe of the original. Inventing the nation of Hauptmann-Koenig is a fun touch, with On The Move filmed just around Germany’s reunification. The film itself does a lot to evoke the Time Travel splendour that Highlander found great success in exploring when the original was released.
Departing from mistrusting his vampire neighbour, William Ragsdale, fills in for leadership duties for Andrew McCarthy. Taking on the dual roles of both Prince William and Jason Williamson, and yeah, his character does share similarities to Switcher. Speaking of Vampires, Kirsty Swanson also takes over as the mannequined Jessie and there’s a great joy in finding her adapting to life in the early 90s, versus medieval living. Behind the camera, is Stewart Raffill, who you might remember from Tammy and the T-Rex and Mac and Me. He brings his fun-loving eye here to help On The Move.
On The Move offers a similar yet different, yet didn’t quite hit the mark as the original did. Maybe audiences were a little burnt out on the concept. Yet, tales as old as time are often repeated and in this case, the revamped love story offers a lot of room for successful adaption. The fine details have been altered, but the charming core certainly remains. There’s a stronger resemblance to Highlander, especially in the first half, that ditches Egypt for a more northern European territory. On The Move shows there’s still a lot of mileage left on this tour.
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