Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)
Tagline: The new name for adventure.
Genre: Children & Family Movies
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: PG
Production Companies: Entertainment Motion Pictures (E-MOTION), Arcadia Motion Pictures, Matador Pictures, The Kraken Films, Telefonica Productions, Nix Films, International Pictures Two, Cronos Entertainment AIE, Cinema One, Afrodita Audiovisual AIE, uFilm, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Federal de Belgique, Umedia
Producer: Gabriel Arias-Salgado, Marina Fuentes Arredonda, Peter Bevan, Jeremy Burdek, Maurice Chasse, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estape, Megan Guy, Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Politowski, Karl Richards, Paul Sarony, Fumiko Thomas, Cesar Vargas, Charlotte Walls, Dilles Waterkeyn
Director: Jonathan Newman
Writer: Christian Taylor, Matthew Huffman, G.P. Taylor
Actors: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffudd, Aneurin Barnard, Keeley Hawes, Tristan Gemmill, Daniel Wilde, Mella Carron, Xavier Atkins

Blurb from Netflix: Based on G.P. Taylor’s steam-punk tale, the Victorian-era thriller follows Mariah Mundi’s journey in darkness to rescue his kidnapped brother.

Selina’s Point of View:
I had trouble seeing this film as a true children’s movie. The story line was so much more in depth and intricate than a lot of the kid’s stuff I tend to see. It made a lot more sense when I found out the film was based on a book, but I’m still not all that sure I’d label it Children & Family before Sci-fi & Fantasy.

That being said, I actually really enjoyed this movie. It had an intriguing storyline that reminded me very subtly of The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. Oh, there were no magic users in this film, but something about it kept tugging at my memory of that book series.

There was action, mythology, and drama. I also kind of enjoyed the steampunky flair.

Most of the acting was top notch. You’d expect nothing less from Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Purge, Dredd) or Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Peaky Binders, United Passions), but I was also pleasantly surprised by Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex, Admission, The Twilight Saga) and Mella Carron (Brooklyn, What Richard Did, Death of a Superhero). I did have an issue with the brothers, however.

In the beginning, I didn’t find myself immediately enjoying Aneurin Barnard’s (War & Peace, The White Queen, Mary Queen of Scots) performance. By the end of the film I was so caught up in the story that his acting became less of an issue. Xavier Atkins (Snow White and the Huntsman, Child 44, Philomena) was also meh, but in a typical child-actor way.

Regardless of the minor flaws, I’d recommend this film in a heartbeat. If you’re looking into showing it to your kids, however, I’d recommend you watch through it first. I don’t think there’s anything super offensive in it, but something is still keeping me from recommending it to children. I wish I could put whatever that thing is into words.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was a surprising treat. It had flown completely under my radar. No longer!!

There were so many elements that I absolutely adored about this film. Considering that it’s based off of a book; I am thinking that I will be adding to my ever expanding ‘to read’ list.

I haven’t gone to look it up yet, but I am hoping that it is part of a series. I want to know more! The best tales suck you in and make you want to live in their world a bit longer than screen time or the trip across pages affords.

The Adventurer did exactly that.

There was action, intrigue, mystery, mythology, magic, gadgetry, both comedy and serious elements – it was a fun ride along a compelling quest.

While the movie didn’t overtly scream ‘steampunk’ to me, as most of its teaser blurbs suggest – it did have that feel to it in places. It was a subtle touch here and there within an otherwise ‘period piece.’ I think it was a perfect balance, though – if there were more heavy-handed elements, it would have taken away from the story.

Bravo, I say, to the casting department for this one. Some of their choices were quirky – but interesting all the same.

I am very glad that this film reintroduced me to Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond, TRON: Legacy, Kill the Messenger). I’d seen him in other things before, but unfortunately his participation in the sparkly vampire movies overshadowed much of that. He embodied the role of Charity here with flair and finesse. I was rather impressed.

Lena Headey (300, Zipper, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) is swiftly becoming one of my favorite actresses – especially when she plays villains. She has such a stunning smile – and yet, you can just feel the venom behind it when she inhabits roles such as this.

Then there’s Sam Neill (Event Horizon, Daybreakers, Escape Plan). He has an equally sinister smile. I’ll never forget the sadistic glee that was in his expression when he, as Dr. Alan Grant, explained to this smart-mouth kid how the ‘six foot turkey’ of a velociraptor would use its giant talon to eviscerate him before eating him alive. That sort of macabre smugness was alive and well in his character here, and it was glorious.

I could ramble on; though, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Aneurin Barnard (Ironclad, The Facility, The White Queen). He was an unexpected lead as Mariah Mundi. There was a bit of oddness about him but it didn’t detract from the character. Somehow he fit in the way an octagon might slip into a space designed for a circle with roughly the same diameter.

This was an exciting movie that lived up to its promise of adventure. I would gladly recommend it and hope that they revisit this property in the future for more tales.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 17%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

P.S. There is an important scene during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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