Sunday, 12 December 2010

In the Name of the King

Cover of "In the Name of the King: A Dung... Several days ago, in a fit of insanity led on by the devil's nectar, we watched Uwe Boll's Dungeon Siege inspired masterpiece, In the Name of the King. And I must say, in it's defense, it cost us nothing to watch. Anyway, for anyone who doesn't know about this royal spectacular, its about a man named Farmer who goes to get his wife back from Krugs who kill his son. Also, Ron Perlman walks a pig at the start. Probably the highlight of the piece, methinks. So, today, let us look at some 5-star reviews of this awe-inspiring piece of artwork:
Wow, I just watched this movie last night and logged on to post a complimentary review (And thank God you did, blessed sir!). I'm tempted to ask, did you people see the same movie (Probably, it had the same name. Although I'm willing to believe I watched an aborted fetus for 2 and a half hours, the effect is the same)? While I can understand and even agree with some of the criticisms posted (That the film was God-awful?), I can't believe the hammering this film received (I can). Now, I'm a fantasy fan (Then you should have been upset about this genre mutilation)... meaning, I am used to, and don't object to, fantasy (That's not really what a fan is. A fan would, at the least, claim to like fantasy. What you appear to be is a fantasy tolerator). I go looking for it and it's here in this movie (You've confused fantasy and fecal matter). I thought this movie scored well in many ways (Nope. Two ways - the Krug slingshot, and that Pig walking Hellboy). Sure, it's over-the-top... it's fantasy (That's not the way it works...)! I want evil wizards, unarmored heroes, total evil vs. total good, all the things that don't exist except in fantasy. Here are a few of the things I liked about this movie:
1) Jason Statham... normally one of my least favorite actors, more watchable than usual in this heroic role. (Ironically, I usually enjoy Jason Statham and feel he is more watchable in films that aren't this. But I guess everyone's different, and I'm right)
2) Burt Reynolds... fun to see him again and his king wasn't so bad.
(It wasn't exactly Deliverance though, was it?)
3) Ray Liotta... over-the-top, just as an evil wizard should be. (He used to be an actor...)
4) Claire Forlani, more beautiful than ever, does an great job as the brave wife and mother... worth destroying a kingdom for, anyday. (Well, the second I saw her, I planted a big atomic warhead under my own home Kingdom and destroyed it, so yea, I agree.)
5) Leelee Sobieski... an excellent job, would have liked to see her part even bigger but it seems we have a deeply cut version here in the states. I'll be looking for the uncut version. (Poor sods. I wish you many more hours of Name of the Kingness fun)
6) John Rhys-Davies... does his usual fine job, considering what he has to work with. (Yes. This was much better than any other film he's been in. Especially that crappy fantasy one about Rings)
7) Not to go too long, many of the supporting performances were worthy and well done (Well, stilted and wooden. And I saw some actors in a fight scene waiting for the cameras to start before moving.). I had no trouble watching this movie and found many touches that lent it a unique personality (Despite the clear Lord of the Rings rippy-offyness of many parts). The reviewers that panned it were unfair, IMO, and many of the criticisms of the director were unfounded (No. No they were not Sir.). This movie was not boring. Of course, it was predictable, it's fantasy (Fantasy, the realm of magic, mythical beasts and great heroes, is of course limited in its possibilities)! We do want a happy ending, no? (There son was still dead. Why did that never come up again?) I liked the fast pacing, the skipping from scene to scene, the occasional humor, the  special effects, and overall, the entire movie (How nice for you. Are you mad?). A good job by all! OK, go ahead, cut me to pieces (Sorry, I've already done it. I kind of went through your review, doing it as I read. Sorry again). I know somebody out there is just waiting (Well, not waiting. Indeed, your review predates me seeing the film. Or knowing of its existence).... I'll try to die realistically. (I'm not going to kill you over this. Unless you're Hitler.)

This isn't supposed to be a documentary (Fuck, really?) - it doesn't need to be
realistic, just entertaining (Yes. But it wasn't)- which it is. I will admit, Burt
Reynolds shouldn't have played the king (Why? He wasn't any worse than anyone else), but everyone else does a good
job. (Oh, wait. Apparently he was. Sorry about that)
Let me start off with saying that I have never seen an Uwe Boll picture before entering the theater last Friday night (Similar. Not the theatre part, but the never before seeing lark). I have heard that there are many people in two very fervent camps about his pictures and aptitude. I am not one of them. (I've only heard of one camp, and it contains everyone, and they all hate his films. And another camp, which contains him. Liking his own films. And other people liking them. Thus, ironically, I've proved your point. I think I wanted to stress they're not even-sized camps. Probably. I certainly wanted to stress something)

Action is a genre and it takes the archetypes of a particular community and builds characters around them (Often, yes. Although that's not a law or anything...). Because we file in for the visuals in these films, the script requirements are terrifically simple and rooted in the most extreme of polarities (Ok. That sounds good, but what does it mean? Action films don't have to be simple - yes, they lend themselves well to simplest characterisations and the like, hence the term "mindless action", I suppose. But that shouldn't be all one aspires to. Besides, this is a fantasy film, so there's quite a lot of scope for character. . Action is one of the leanest genres as it distances the archetype from the character very little so we can recognize, at first glance, the side this character stands on. In other words - the bad guys are dark and scary, the good guys are noble and wear white. In this case, they're farmers (Just one. Called Farmer) who speak poetically of the days of old whilst harvesting turnips with their blond and cherubic son. It is cardboard and that is what it needs to be. (It doesn't need to be. I agree, this story sets forward to use straightforward fantasy archetypes, which is well suited to the source material. However, the fact it sets out to be simple and achieves this is of little merit in itself, and hardly redeems the film's many failings)

I was totally unprepared for In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (Why? Did it sneak itself into your DVD player when you were deep-frying an otter?). I went for the bizarrely assembled cast, though I expected the film to be painful and plodding (Where were you surprised then? You got what you were expecting...). To my surprise I found the extension of a time old, cheap-o Hollywood lineage. ITNOTK:ADST is a direct heir to schlock films like Cobra Woman and all of those insipid, plaster biblical epics (Fetch it its insipid, plaster crown then. Let us crown this heir to the Kingdom of cheap-o-ness). It casts its spell with overtly simplistic dialogue (Well, I can agree that statment) and a soundtrack which lambasts you into emotional compliance (erm... No. It seemed jarring, and didn't fit in with the scenes, nor did it differ in order to create conflicting emotions ). But so thrilling is its emotive force, that I could barely breath outside of those gasps the film demanded of me. It is aligned to cause no confusions - the good are majestic and the bad, either dark and void, or in Ray Liotta's case, palpably so in floor-length leather. (Or Krugs. You forgot the Krugs, because everything that is ugly is evil. Such is the way of the world. Apparently) 

Those gasps, it is fair to mention, did not emit from any of the graphic sequences. The film looks to have been made for pennies (60 million dollars, actually - 2/3s that of the Fellowship of the Ring. Which didn't look like a cat coated in fecal matter...) - down to the wan film stock (Well, if you say so). No, this is a textbook study in emotional ebb and flow (I'm beginning to doubt you're being serious). What Leni Riefenstahl would have crafted, were she not so artful. From the opening moments of Statham's Thoreauvian sonnets while tending the land (Well... it wasn't exactly Civil Disobedience, was it? I assume you mean that Farmer put forward the virtues of the simple life. And also threw boomerangs at crows. Like Thoreau), to Ray Liotta's perfected baddie-hamming, this picture is a cornerstone of the dunderheaded (Yup, the dunderheaded movement being so important to film, was really reinvigorated by this movie). Matthew Lillard and Lele Sobeieski duel, for God's sake! Sure, it is a direct rip on the Lord of the Rings pictures (Not directly. I could have accepted that if it had ripped-off the bit where LotR wasn't shit), but it's liberation from creativity allows the story elements free reign to indulge to their furthest potential (Which, it transpires, wasn't very far). I find it hard to believe I'll have a more fulfilling experience in theaters for a number of months. (Try erotic asphyxiation.)

It's actually quite a fun film (If you're drunk and angry, I suppose). You have to take a lot of things wiht a pinch of salt (put the pinch of salt in your eyes, it makes the film better), but in a wierd sort of way this film actually works (Yup, watched it from start to finish and the TV didn't break once). Lots of people comment on the daft naming of 'Farmer' as the main character (It was rather foolish), who is, unusually, a farmer. However, listen to the tale and you find out he chose this name to go with his occupation. So where you THINK there are things to pick on, there are actually few. (You didn't have to listen intently, it was pretty clearly explained. The point is, that's still stupid. It would be ok as a nickname, but would he really use that at home - you didn't think it sounded unnatural for his wife to address him as "farmer"?)
It's a very basic tale of heroism, luck and wild stunts, and the fight scenes look as though people got HURT - specifically one poor soldier who has his helm knocked off in the middle of a fight, there is a definite OUCH there! (He probably did get hurt. But I would blame that on bad directing) The story follows the usual recognised path, local farmer makes good, but it is more the peripheral characters that make this movie fun! The magic is well done, (Again, it looked a bit like a feces covered cat) and the wood-dwellers are amazing to watch, even though they play such a small part in the story. Burt Reynolds manages to pull off the role of the crusty (People aren't toast, you know that?) old king, and the soundtrack is pretty good too. (Would you believe in a (K)night like this? If you are up for some hokum and light entertainment, then get this film. If you are a picky perfectionist, go laugh at Lord of the Rings! (You see, the mistake you made was thinking these films were comedies. There's nothing funny about either Krug, on the one hand, or hairy-feeted little Hobbits getting up to mischief on the other...)

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