Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Riese (2009)

Number Rolled: 83
Movie Name/Year: Riese (2009)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Director: Kaleena Kiff, Nicolas Humphries
Writer: Eva Maria Peters, Alyssa Ciccarelli, Ryan Copple, Kaleena Kiff, Miguel Valdez-Lopez
Actors: Christine Chatelain, Amanda Tapping, Patrick Gilmore, Ben Cotton, Sharon Taylor, Alessandro Juliani, Bart Anderson, Richard Harmon, Ryan Grantham, Allison Mack, Ryan Robbins, Shauna Johannesen, Robin Nielsen, Leah Gibson, Gina Chiarelli, Peter Kelamis, Andrew Moxham, Travis Turner, Emilie Ullerup

Riese is a long lost princess on the run from a tyrant empress and a shady cult. If she could get the throne back she would be able to save her land from the iron grip of corruption, but first she has to figure out exactly what’s going on. With her wolf by her side, Riese goes from on the run to on the hunt in this web-series turned TV-show turned movie.

Normally, I shy away from adding episodes of television shows to my instant queue. After all, the point of this blog is to showcase the movies one can find on Netflix. This one escaped my filter mostly because it started out as a web-series. It’s common to find full seasons of web-series in movie-long formats. In other words: it was close enough.

As a movie, I don’t feel like it was very successful. The entire thing was narrated in such a way that the audience was given no credit. There were times when an expression or a line of the script made it clear why a character was or wasn’t doing something, but then would come the voice over redundantly telling me what I already knew. It was almost offensive. Passed that, steampunk is a very difficult genre to portray in film. If the director doesn’t go as far with sets and dress as steampunk demands, it winds up looking like a strange, somewhat awkward, mishmash of time periods.

Of course, these were all my thoughts before I did the research and found out it was a web-series. That changed my perception of what I watched. The narration became more excusable and the set-design became a matter of low budget instead of low imagination.

Even with my realization, I don’t find it nearly as successful as I think it could have been. If this was a book, however, I would pick it up in a second. The storyline was amazing. It could easily be a huge Hollywood kind of plot. It was in depth and very fulfilling. I did wish I learned more about certain things (like how Riese and her wolf came to be traveling partners), but there was so much right about it, that I can overlook that and accept it at face-value.

From the ending, this was obviously the first “chapter” of Riese. From what I can tell, the TV-show continued from the end and became “Riese: Kingdom Falling.” I’m going to be attempting to find the show somewhere, though I already know it’s not on Netflix.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

P.S. Based on a web-series of the same name.

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