Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Mythica: The Darkspore (2015)

I watched and enjoyed the first Mythica around the time that the kickstarter for the second film in the series - this one - went public.  The DVD arrived this week, and as is my custom for such independent films, I sat down to watch and review it immediately.  I don't exactly have a huge readership but if I find good indie stuff I want to share it - it might help.

I wish, therefore, that I could be more positive about this film: while I may one day be able to give a recommendation to the series as a whole, I can't really recommend this one as a standalone experience.  It definitely suffers from a bad case of "middle-filmitis".  There's a lot of exposition to kick things off and catch us up to speed, for instance, while the actual plot of the film has a lot of activity, but doesn't seem to achieve a great deal, and ends on a big honking "to be continued" sign.

I should note that this lack of progress is specifically in the "big MacGuffin quest" part of the film.  There is progress in terms of characters: a burgeoning romance from the first film is confirmed, for instance, while main protagonist Marek faces the temptation of her necromantic powers.  I liked both of these elements, though I wish they'd be framed by a main narrative that felt more meaningful.

So what is the main plot?  Well, the stone doodad everyone was after in the first film turns out to be one of four that the bad guy needs to collect, and the good guys set off in pursuit of the second.  Since we're never told anything like "He now has three", this sets the stakes rather low.  Even if the heroes fail here, they have two more chances to stop him, after all.

It also rather telegraphs that they are going to fail.  This is effectively the second act of the story after all, and things are always worst at the end of the second act.  Just look at The Empire Strikes Back for example.

All of this combines to make the main plot of the film feel a little flaccid - a feeling that is not helped by a subplot involving the fact that Marek is technically an escaped slave.  I give them points for not just dropping the issue, but the execution is rather awkward.

Performances remain solid: Arrowstorm do an excellent job of casting their films.  The effects are good given the independent nature of the film, but a bit more ambitious and frequent than they've really got the resources to handle.

I hope that the next chapter of the series will deliver a more satisfying entry to the story of Marek and her friends: the passion of the people involved deserves that, even if they didn't quite stick the landing on this one.

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