Monday, March 18, 2024

Riddle of Fire (2024)

Movie Name/Year: Riddle of Fire (2024)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Length:  1h 53min
Rating: PG-13
Director: Weston Razooli
Writer: Weston Razooli
Actors: Lio Tipton, Charles Halford, Weston Razooli, Lorelei Olivia Mote, Austin Archer, Abigail Sakari, Phoebe Ferro, Charlie Stover, Danielle Hoetmer, Rachel Browne, Skyler Peters, Andrea Browne, Lonzo Liggins, Chuck Marra, Colleen Baum, Sohrab Mirmont, Kent Richards
IMDb Blurb: Three mischievous children embark on a woodland odyssey when their mother sends them on an errand.
Selina’s Point of View:
The trailer for Riddle of Fire was interesting if a bit cutesy. So, that’s what I was mostly expecting from the film. A cute little fairy tale, with a little-kid twist to it. Possibly with the shock value that comes with kids causing havoc and doing things you’d mostly expect from teens.
Instead of something simple, funny, and cute – I got something that was deep and full of whimsy. A fairy tale that had an air of danger. It was so much better than I’d even hoped. That says a lot, because it made #8 on my Top 20 movies to look out forin March. My hopes were already high.
I love the way Riddle of Fire was shot. There was a constant green tint that gave everything a very Celtic flair. It made the use of fairies and witches seem at home, though the magical language seemed to be Greek. It was a mash-up of lore that worked to make something that carried an ethereal feel to it.
There’s no way I can talk about Riddle of Fire without including my thoughts about Lio Tipton (Warm Bodies, Vengeance, Why Women Kill). I adore them. I think Tipton is extremely under-rated. They are one of those actors I would follow to just about any project. I have since Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) – despite most of their scenes in that movie being written in such a cringey way that I have to hide through the second-hand embarrassment the whole time.
I digress.
Lio Tipton has a range that not a whole lot of actors can boast. If you look at their early career, it seemed as if they were going to be typecast – but something sent that off the track and now you can really see how well they do just about everything. Their performance in Riddle of Fire was flawless.
Where kids’ acting is something I opt to only discuss in certain situations, I don’t mind talking about it here.
Naturally, kids are less experienced, and you need to have a different set of expectations for them. That’s just a fact. The kids in Riddle of Fire fit the feel of the film. I believed what they were selling me enough that their performances felt right for the fairy tale setting.
Weston Razooli (Anaxia, Jolly Boy Friday, Trials of the Red Mystic) made their full-length debut in Riddle of Fire. It’s a hell of a statement. There’s a bit of a tweak that can be made here or there, a scene that could be removed or altered, but it’s a damn fine debut. It’s high quality and feels as if a much more experienced director was at the helm. I will absolutely be looking out for more from him in the future.
I would recommend Riddle of Fire to anyone with a love for fairy tales.
Cat’s Point of View:
I absolutely adored Riddle of Fire.
That being said, I did have a few reservations when I first watched the trailer. I wasn’t sure where the film would land on the scale of watchability or if the story would come together. I had a few questions, but I was intrigued, and very excited that we got a chance to take an early peek at Riddle of Fire to offer a review.
This story is a bit of a re-imagining and twist on the “kids with bikes” adventure genre. These particular kids had dirt bikes rather than traditional bicycles, and they were armed with paintball guns rather than slingshots or home-made gadgets. I appreciated this new spin.
I was struck with some serious nostalgia as I watched Riddle of Fire. It was a bit of a time capsule bringing me back to a time when kids had more freedom (and general safety) to roam during the summer and get into all sorts of shenanigans. We just had to be back home before dinner.
Riddle of Fire was whimsical with its touches of fantasy – right down to the Celtic-like font that illustrated the credits and necessary captions and even the, what sounded like, Greek (if not Greek-adjacent) words of magic. It was a tale of immortal reptiles, bandits, and nomad fairies.  There was even a challenging quest for a special potion of healing in the form of a pie, which offered an excellent framework for the adventure to unfold.
I loved the humor and the thrill of the hunt, as well as the potential danger that the kids found themselves in. It was a test and testimonial for their friendship. The story stirred so many heartwarming feelings. Even the way that Riddle of Fire was filmed was an excellent strategy to deliver this modern fairytale. 
The fact that Lio Tipton (Warm Bodies, Why Women Kill, Vengeance) was involved with the film was another draw for me and one of the sparks for my initial interest in this production. I’ve been a fan of theirs from figure skating to America's Next Top Model (2003-2018) and into acting. Their journey has been a joy to watch and I really appreciate the depth they brought to their character here in Riddle of Fire. I was actually intimidated by the intensity of the look in their eyes at a few points.
When kids are involved – especially generally fresh and untested talent – things can be a bit unpredictable and sometimes the performances don’t quite hit the right note. It's just a bit of performance roulette that comes with the territory. In this case, the lack of some polish just enhanced the wild and unsupervised freedom of these mischief makers within the story.
Weston Razooli (The Book of Three Snakes, Trials of the Red Mystic, Jolly Boy Friday) really knocked this out of the park as a feature film debut as writer and director. I was, frankly, surprised that this was his first full-length outing. Of course, Riddle of Fire wasn’t flawless, but that just means he has so much room to grow into his craft. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
Riddle of Fire will be reaching theaters with a limited release premiering Friday, March 22nd. I’ll definitely be rooting for this movie and hope it performs well.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –None
Metascore – 49%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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