Take 3: Chasing Leprechauns Review

Happy Patrick’s Day to all my readers and followers! For Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Luck O the Irish Blogathon, I wanted to choose a Hallmark movie that was either filmed in Ireland or that takes place in Ireland. Since I have seen most of the network’s films that fit this criteria, I selected the 2012 presentation, Chasing Leprechauns. Despite this being my first time seeing the movie, I am familiar with its basic premise. The inclusion of leprechauns helps the film stand out from the tried-and-true rom-coms that frequent Hallmark Channel. I also liked how a relationship wasn’t the central focus of the story. Instead, Chasing Leprechauns revolves around finding a resolution to a conflict. But will these factors equal an enjoyable movie viewing experience? Keep reading to find out if a pot of gold is waiting at the end of this review!

Chasing Leprechauns poster created by Crown Media Family Networks.

Things I liked the film:

The forestry: There are two scenes in Chasing Leprechauns where Ireland’s forestry was beautifully filmed! When Michael and Sarah, two of the story’s lead characters, go to the leprechaun’s forest for the first time, the grass and moss poke out through the snow. It presents an image of spring forcing itself past the wintery barrier. On the beaten path, green trees can be seen in the background, with an afternoon sunlight being cast over the forest. This particular location appears peaceful and serene. Several scenes later, Sarah and Michael spend some time at an abandoned building. While sitting around a fire, the taupe structure of the building is behind them. Green from a nearby tree peeks out of a window, with a foggy view of a field visible from these windows. The space looks haunting and secluded, which is a pleasant change in scenery for a Hallmark project!

The characters of Evelyn and Sheamus: When Michael goes to Ireland, he stays at a Bed and Breakfast run by a woman named Evelyn. Throughout the film, Evelyn has a cheerful personality. She also dreams of traveling to New York City. Hearing Evelyn share which places she’d like to visit was such a joy. I also liked seeing her positive persona! Sheamus is a frequent patron of the local pub. At first, it can be easy to write him off as a man who just likes his glass of alcohol. But when the audience learns more about him, they see Sheamus carries a lot of wisdom and helpful advice. Evelyn and Sheamus were my favorite characters in Chasing Leprechauns! Not only were they well written, but they were also well acted by their respective actor and actress, Marion O’Dwyer and Terry Byrne. I honestly wish this story had focused more on them!

The Luck O The Irish Blogathon banner created by the Brannan sisters from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society.

What I didn’t like about the film:

No leprechauns: As I’ve said before on 18 Cinema Lane, a movie’s title partially serves as a promise to the audience. In the case of Chasing Leprechauns, that promise is featuring at least one leprechaun on screen. Despite what the title claims, there are no leprechauns in this film. Everyone in the small Irish town says there are leprechauns, even dedicating a museum to them. At various moments in the movie, squeaking noises can be heard, implying leprechauns are nearby. But never does a leprechaun show themselves to any of the characters in the story. How am I expected to care about the town’s “leprechaun problem” if the script doesn’t give me a reason to care? How am I to believe the town contains leprechauns when no evidence is provided? Chasing Leprechauns is a textbook example of why you shouldn’t just tell and not show when creating a story.

A drab looking film: Ireland is known for having beautiful landscapes that contain lush greenery and picturesque forestry. Too bad the creative team behind Chasing Leprechauns chose to film their movie in the middle of winter, when all that greenery is buried in snow. I know that snowy landscapes can be beautifully captured on film. However, the movie’s creative team appeared to not take any initiative to do so. This presents one reason why Chasing Leprechauns is such a drab looking film. The movie consistently carried dull shades of black, white, brown, and beige. Even when pops of colors did appear, such as on a scarf, those colors appeared muted. Even though I’ve never been to Ireland, I can honestly say this movie did not make the country look visually appealing.

No sense of urgency: Chasing Leprechauns is a movie where the protagonist says they are going to do something, but spends the majority of the film not doing what they said they were going to do. Though Hallmark doesn’t tell stories like this often, it is one I have grown to dislike. In this movie, Michael, our protagonist, is sent to Ireland in order to get approval for a future building project. Due to the town’s “leprechaun problem”, Michael faces an unexpected dilemma. Throughout the story, Michael spends more time experiencing Ireland than actually doing his job. It gets so bad that Michael’s boss shows up in Ireland to remind him how the trip was supposed to last two days, not two weeks.

A not so bright protagonist: Like I just mentioned, Michael spends two weeks in Ireland instead of the required two days. What is even worse is how it took Michael two weeks to solve his problems. I am aware of how some problems take longer to solve than others. But when Michael has a reputation of being his company’s “fixer”, then that should be embarrassing for him. Even though his job requires him to travel all over the world, he doesn’t take the time to learn about the countries he is visiting. As Michael and Sarah, the inspector, go to the forest where the leprechauns supposedly live, Michael suggests to call a priest and have him perform an exorcism. While Sarah calls him out for his lack of education, Michael reveals how foolish of a protagonist he is.

St. Patrick’s Day image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/st-patrick-s-day-background_1640464.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

My overall impression:

Chasing Leprechauns wants to have its cake and eat it too. What I mean by this is the film takes itself so seriously, yet they expect their audience to suspend almost all their disbelief. When you have a story where leprechauns are involved, a sense of magic or whimsy is usually found. But Chasing Leprechauns is devoid of those things. One of the film’s biggest mistakes was not showing at least one leprechaun on screen. I haven’t seen Fairy Tale: A True Story in years. But from what I remember, there was enough whimsy and charm to make up for the lack of fairies. If the creative team behind Chasing Leprechauns knew they weren’t going to put any leprechauns in their project, this is the direction they should have chosen. The magic within that world should feel believable, helping to create a whimsical and delightful place. It could be similar to the Good Witch series, where the magic is more figurative than literal. If you’re looking for a Hallmark film set in Ireland, I’d recommend Forever in My Heart from 2019. The story is much stronger than Chasing Leprechauns’ and the film is more grounded in reality, which gives the audience a reason to take it seriously.

Overall score: 4.7 out of 10

Have you seen any Hallmark movies set in or filmed in Ireland? If so, which one did you like? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun on St. Patrick’s Day!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: In These Times

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 16th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Movie and Story of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The last award will be posted on the April 17th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

TIE-BREAKER: Crowning the Best Movie and Story of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards

 

Sometimes, things happen beyond our control. Because we all have our own unique perspectives, we have different ways to reacting to these situations. Blame can sometimes be a choice that is made. Other people decide to take matters into their own hands, wanting to find a solution on their own. Coming together on common ground is another choice to come into the realm of possibilities. The windstorm in this episode of When Calls of Heart causes the characters to seek solutions in various ways. The answers may come quickly, but they may also take awhile to be discovered. In retrospect, these aspects reflect what is going on in the world’s current situation. The Coronavirus is beyond our control. There are people trying to find a solution to the current problem. But everyone has found their own way to react to the situation.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 8

Name: Into the Woods

 

Major Stories:

Elizabeth plans on taking the second half of her class on a field trip through the forest. Since she took the first half of her class on a field trip in the previous week, she has recruited Carson to be the substitute teacher on the day of the trip. The next day, Elizabeth and these aforementioned students head to the woods. While learning about nature, Emily finds an arrowhead. Elizabeth and her students also make use of a pair of binoculars they borrowed from Lucas. As they go deeper into the forest, Elizabeth discovers the wind picking up. Concerned about the safety of her students, Elizabeth ends the field trip early, in order to beat the oncoming windstorm. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to go home before the storm. So, they hide in a nearby hunting lodge until the storm subsides. When Elizabeth and her students arrive at the lodge, she discovers Emily is missing. She learns from Ally that Emily left the group to find her missing arrowhead. Elizabeth leaves Robert in charge of the students while she goes into the forest to look for Emily. Eventually, Elizabeth finds Emily in the forest. Nathan finds the both of them shortly after, then takes them back to the lodge. After the storm ends, Nathan gives Emily her arrowhead. He also criticizes Elizabeth for leaving her students during a windstorm, telling her how she could have put her students’ lives in danger.

 

During dinner, Jesse tells Clara he has received a lumber block. He also tells Clara that he has to leave early the next morning, in order to collect supplies from the lumber block. The next day, while Lee is fixing his car, he learns Jesse hasn’t returned from the lumber block. After hearing about the oncoming windstorm, Lee heads to the lumber block to retrieve Jesse. Several hours pass by and both men haven’t returned to Hope Valley. Several citizens from Hope Valley organize a search party, including Clara and Rosemary. During the search, Clara fears that Jesse faced a similar fate like Peter did years ago. Rosemary tells her not to worry. Shortly after she says this, they hear a noise that signifies Jesse and Lee have been found. When Rosemary and Clara arrive with the rest of the search party, they discover that Jesse is safe. However, they also discover that Lee has suffered from a bad head injury. At the end of the episode, Lee is unconscious. Rosemary asks Carson to do whatever he can to save Lee.

wormsloe-plantation-ii-1334468-1278x677
Forest in Georgia image created by Roger Kirby at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Roger Kirby.”

Minor Story:

At the beginning of the episode, Lucas asks Henry if he can look at the oil plant’s financial records. Henry refuses to hand over the ledger. At the saloon, Mike reveals to Lucas he hasn’t received any payments from Henry. This causes Lucas to turn to Bill for help. He shares his concerns with Bill about Henry’s lack of cooperation. Bill tells Lucas that Henry has twenty-hours to hand over the records or else he’ll order a subpoena. Lucas delivers this news to Henry, which causes Henry to be conflicted over his next step.

101994-OM0XMB-226
Money image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/bills-and-coins-in-isometric-design_1065328.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • In this episode, there was some really good cinematography! One good example is when Elizabeth discovers the growing strength of the wind. The shot was presented as if the audience is looking through Lucas’ binoculars. The landscape itself shows mist moving over the trees, creating an eerie and unsettling presence before the windstorm wreaks havoc.

 

  • While watching this episode, it was disappointing to see some poor decisions being made during the windstorm. I agree with Nathan about Elizabeth leaving her students in order to find Emily. Nathan told Elizabeth he was going to look for Emily. As the only adult in the group, Elizabeth had a responsibility to look after her students.

 

  • I’d like to think Lee is going to recover from his head injury. But because this episode ended on a cliffhanger (similar to the episode that aired before the season five finale) and because Lee’s situation was not addressed in the commercial for the next episode, I’m honestly not so sure. According to the description for an extended preview of the upcoming episode, it says “Rosemary learns a secret about Lee’s past”. At this point, I have no idea what that could mean.

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you think Lee will recover? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

Stay safe in Hope Valley.

Sally Silverscreen