ORBzine - History & Fantasy 2008 Movie Reviews

Casanova (2005)

Casanova (2005) Heath Ledger ( Brothers Grimm, The Dark Knight ) is the title character, the arch-seducer at liberty in Renaissance Venice under the rule of Tim McInnery (Blackadder).

He attempts to seduce Sienna Miller , the daughter of Lena Olin , while dodging Catholic Inquisitor Jeremy Irons ( Dungeons & Dragons ). Oliver Platt ( Bicentennial Man ) helps out.

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Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Jim Caviezel ( Passion of the Christ ) is framed by his best friend, Guy Pearce ( The Time Machine ). He spends many long years imprisoned by Michael Winfield ( The Crow, Alien: Resurrection, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ). Eventually he escapes, and plots his revenge.

This is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas . It keeps more or less to the story, and is a fair retelling of it.

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Don Quixote (2000)

Don Quixote (2000) This is a 21st Century adaptation of a 17th Century novel - set in the 19th Century, to increase the anachronism. Don Quixote (John Lithgow 3rd Rock from The Sun ), an elderly gentleman, goes senile and thinks he is a Knight. He goes on a quest with his loyal squire, Sancho Panza (Bob Hoskins - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Hook ) on behalf of a washerwoman he thinks is the Lady Dulcinea ( Vanessa Williams ).

During their adventures, they meet a variety of equally interesting characters. Some are helpful, like the young graduate (James Purefoy - Rome ). Others merely want to mock the adventurers - like Isobella Rossellini and Lambert Wilson ( Sahara, Catwoman ).

  • Man of La Mancha
  • Quantum Leap [Season 2, Episode 10] Catch A Falling Star - May 21, 1979
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    Earthsea (2004)

    Earthsea (2004) On the world of Earthsea, Gerd the blacksmith's son (Shawn Ashmore - Smallville ) uses magic to repel Kurganite invaders (thugs dressed like Normans). A Wizard (Danny Glover - 2012 ) takes him as an apprentice, and sends him to the Unseen Hogwarts Uni. Alan Scarfe ( 7 Days ) is the UU Arch-chancellor. Gerd studied and developed his magical skills. He also falls out with a James Marsters type, and tries to summon the dead ( Amanda Tapping ).

    High Priestess Isabella Rosselini and her top pupil Kristen Kreuk are part of a sisterhood dedicated to keeping demons at bay. They guard the vault to the nether-world. The Kurganites seek world conquest, and don't care about magic or good versus evil.

    Part 2. (90 mins)

    The Kurganites have captured the Uni. Sebastian Roche ( Odyssey 5 ) gives a very disappointing performance as leader of the Kurganites.

    Gerd is on the run, pursued by the Nameless One he unleashed. It wants to possess him, and leave a trail of dead bodies. His only help is from another trainee wizard.and his sister, Katherine Isabelle . He must go on a quest to unite the pieces of the Amulet of Peace. This takes him to the Temple where Kristen Kreuk lives, thus drawing together the plot threads.

    The original author, Ursula LeGuin , disowned this primarily because of the casting. Producer Robert Halmi has filmed several pieces in Australia ( Farscape being the best example), where the cast can be selected to have a Polynesian appearance. Unfortunately this work was filmed in Vancouver, so the cast are predominently caucasian.

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    Hawk the Slayer (1980)

    Hawk the Slayer (1980) Darth Vader lookalike Voltan (Jack Palance - Spy in the Green Hat ) threatens to pillage a nunnery unless a ransom is paid. The head nun, Annette Crosbie, sends W. Morgan Sheppard ( SeaQuest DSV ) to summon Hawk the Slayer (John Terry - Living Daylights ). But even with Hawk's magic sword and Sheppard's automatic crossbow (!!!) they still need help. They recruit a band of desperados - a Giant (Bernard Bresslaw - Krull ), a dwarf and an elf. Yes, instead of the Dirty Dozen or Magnificent Seven, the nuns are protected by the ... Five.

    Patricia Quinn pops up as a sorceress.

    The best thing about it is the music, which owes more than a little to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds!

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    Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

    Kingdom of Heaven (2005) This is a big-budget epic with a great cast and director ( Ridley Scott ). Orlando Bloom ( LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean ) is on the run, but luckily meets his father (Liam Neeson - SW1: TPM ), a Crusader.

    Once in the Holy Land, Orlando must save the Christians from defeat in a war that nobody really wanted. The story feels like Gladiator meets Pirates of the Caribbean , with a bit of SW1: TPM thrown in for good measure. True to modern political correctness, it makes the Templars eeevil and the Saracens noble.

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    A Man For All Seasons (1966)

    A Man For All Seasons (1966) This is the story of Thomas Moore, Lord Chancellor of England in the reign on Henry VIII (Robert Shaw - Jaws ). Unfortunately, Henry's divorce meant embracing the Reformation. Thomas Moore fell out of favour, and eventually became the target of his replacements.

    This was based on a biography on Moore written by his son-in-law, and thus is flattering to the point of being misleading. Moore is presented as being a fair-minded man, whereas in reality he was responsible for the execution of Tyndale for the crime of translating the Bible into English! The other three Thomases - Wolsey (Orson Welles - Casino Royale ), Cromwell (Leo McKern - The Prisoner ) and Cranmer - are all portrayed as extremely corrupt in comparison.

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    Moll Flanders (1996)

    Moll Flanders (1996) Eighteenth Century London. Morgan Freeman ( Seven ) liberates a petulant young girl from an orphanage, and takes her on a journey to the Americas. This section frames the main story, as Freeman reads to her the journal of her mother - the title character. Freeman's English accent is not the best, and makes his normally excellent narration sub-par.

    Moll Flanders ( Robin Wright ) was born in Newgate prison. She worked in a brothel, became an artist's model ...

    The Alex Kingston version had a lot more incidents, but as a TV mini-series it was a lot longer. This film does quite well at over two hours.

    This was filmed entirely in Ireland. Ardal O'Hanlon (Father Ted) is one of the Brothel customers, and Jeremy Brett (Sherlock Holmes) is the artist's father.

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    Prince of Persia (2010)

    Prince of Persia (2010) This was intended as a swashbuckling franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean , with up to six sequels. It has got a lot of recent political commentary involved, but is mildly entertaining.

    Once upon a time, a Persian king adopted an Ali Baba type thief-boy, Dostan. Fifteen years later, Dostan (Jake Gyllenhall - ) is dragged along when his adopted brothers decide to conquer an Islamic city based on dodgy evidence of secret weapons caches. See what I mean about modern politics?

    The King is murdered, and in the most blatant frame-up ever poor Jake gets the blame. The scoundrel and the Princess ( Gemma Arterton ) go on the run together, predictably bickering like ... well, like Han and Leia. They bump into Alfred Molina, who is paranoid about Big Government raising taxation and spending it on secret death squads.

    Dostan tries to clear his name, and find out who the real killer is. The King's brother is the Evil Hood (Ben Kingsley - Thunderbirds ). This means that the inevitable twist in the story is not exactly unexpected.

    The climax involves a genuine super-weapon, a magical dagger which can turn back time.

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    Timeline (2003)

    Timeline (2003) This is yet another big-budget B-Movie based on a pulp bestseller by Michael Crichton . It is basically the time-travel equivalent of Congo.

    Archaeologist Billy Connolly ( X-Files: I Want To Believe ) works for Billionaire David Thewlis ( Dragonheart ) on an excavation at a medieval castle in France. Connolly's team include his son Paul Walker (Into the Blue), Walker's girlfriend Frances O'Connor and Connolly's sidekick Gerard Butler ( Dracula 2001 ). They make a lot of apparently off-the-cuff remarks that we know will turn out ironic later.

    The Billionaire sends his pet archaeologists through a time portal to the Middle ages. A couple of ex-Marines go along as token red-shirts. Naturally, things go wrong. Luckily it's a Hollywood version of History, without dirt or grime or suffering. Butler goes chasing after a French peasant woman (like all French women in Hollywood, played by an English actress - this time Anna Friel ). The English, especially the villainous Martin Csokas ( XXX ), make things as hard as they can for our heroes.

    The Archaeologists seem to know very little about the time period they're studying. The reason why they side with the villainous Frenchies instead of the hard-working English does not make sense either. Perhaps they wish to return to a future where the USA is now Greater Quebec!

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    Dragonheart Franchise

    Dragonheart (1996)

    Dragonheart (1996) A decade before the year 1000CE, at the end of the Dark Ages, a knight (Denis Quaid - Inner Space ) tries to teach the code of chivalry to the son and heir of a tyrannical king. When the King dies in a peasant uprising, the young Prince is mortally wounded. His mother the Queen ( Julie Christie ) arranges for the boy to be cured by magical means, by sharing the heart of a CGI dragon (Sean Connery - Never Say Never Again ).

    A decade later, the young King (David Thewlis - Timeline ) is a brutal tyrant like his father before him. His henchman (Brian Thompson - The X-Files ) and tax collector (Jason Isaacs - Event Horizon ) keep everyone in line. Kara ( Dina Meyer ) is the only peasant who will speak out against him.

    By this stage, the noble knight has fallen on hard times. He is a hard-bitten and cyincal slayer of dragons, and single-handedly drives the species to extinction. In other words, he is so successful that he destroys his own trade. However, the last Dragon cuts a deal with him. They team up to con money out of the local villages, with the dragon pretending to menace them while the knight comes to their rescue. A wandering monk (Pete Postlethwaite - Rat ) falls in with the knight, thinking him to be genuine.

    Eventually Kara teams up with the others, and they try to topple the evil tyrant. However, the only way to kill the King is to destroy both halves of the magical heart. The problem is that the other half is still in the Dragon.

    So why has this movie fallen down the memory hole? It may have spawned several spin-off sequels, but none of them had enough budget to bring back the original characters. The CGI is pretty shoddy, compared with Jurassic Park , and since the Dragon is the central character that is a big problem. None of the others had the Connery's charm, this put the film at a big disadvantage.

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    Dragonheart: A New Beginning (2000)

    Dragonheart: A New Beginning (2000) Christopher Masterson ( Scary Movie 2 ), the eldest brother from Malcolm in the Middle, befriends a dragon. Together they must help decide who rules the kingdom.

    The location and cast are Slovakian, which kept costs down. The song is My heart goes with you, as unoriginal as it sounds. The fight double is Tony Leung, probably the best thing about this effort.

  • Dragonheart
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    Dragonheart 3: The Sorceror's Curse (2015)

    Dragonheart 3: The Sorceror's Curse (2015)

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    Dragonheart 4: Battle For The Heart (2017)

    Dragonheart 4: Battle For The Heart (2017)

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    Dragonheart: Vengeance (2020)

    Dragonheart: Vengeance (2020) A gang of four super-powered brigands kills a farm-load of farmers. They inadvertently leave a survivor, a tweenage farmboy, who seeks revenge against them. First he goes to a tavern, where he meets a tough guy with his own story arc who offers to help. This is all pretty regular stuff.

    The boy recruits a dragon ( Helena Bonham Carter ) to help him bring the bandits to justice. She and the sell-word bicker a lot - it turns out that their backstory is intertwined.

    As with the other movies in the series, the plot has a satisfying twist.

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    Dungeons & Dragons Franchise

    Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)

    Dungeons and Dragons 2 Thousands of years after the events of the first Dungeons and Dragons movie, and there is no technological progression. Damadar (Bruce Payne - Highlander: Endgame ), henchman from the first film, is now an archvillain in his own right.

    Damadar plans to revive a slumbering dragon, and use it to destroy a city. The city sends a handful of mis-matched adventurers on a dungeon-bash - much closer to the game than the original movie was.

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    Dungeons and Dragons 3: Book of Vile Darkness (2012)

    Dungeons and Dragons 3: Book of Vile Darkness (2012) This story is set in a swords & sorcery world, where our young hero is an apprentice knight in an order of valiant warriors. Unfortunately his group is wiped out, his father is kidnapped, and he is left for dead. He must disguise his true origins, join the band of murderous barbarians on their quest, and infiltrate the villains' ranks in order to save his father.

    The book of evil has been a cliché since the days of HP Lovecraft , and most recently parodied in the TV show Todd and the Book of Pure Evil . here it is used as a plot device.

    The one interesting idea in this film is that the hero joins an EVIL group of adventurers on a quest! And as he loses his heroic edge, we see genuine character development.

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    Dungeons and Dragons 4: Honour Among Thieves (2023)

    Dungeons and Dragons 4: Honour Among Thieves (2023)

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    Robert E. Howard Tales

    Conan The Barbarian (2011)

    Conan The Barbarian (2011) Conan (Jason Momoa - Game Of Thrones ) is a barbarian.

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    Kull the Conqueror (1997)

    Kull the Conqueror (1997) This is a 1997 adaptation of Robert E. Howard's work. There is a basic script, with rock music playing through the action scenes. Joel Goldsmith did the score. This is a Kevin Sorbo and Rafaella de Laurentis production.

    Kevin Sorbo ( Hercules ) stars as the title character. He is a fish out of water who becomes King by virtual accident (like the John Goodman film), and starts changing laws. Roy Brocksmith ( Total Recall ) is the royal eunuch. Thomas Ian Griffith ( John Carpenter's Vampire$ ) plots against King Kull, and raises sorceress Queen Tia Carrere from the dead.

    Kull goes on a quest, taking a ship to the Isle of Ice (like Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger ). The climax is similar to She by Rider Haggard , a comparison Howard himself might not mind. Compared to other Howard adaptations, this is closest to Conan the Destroyer in feel.

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    Solomon Kane (2009)

    Solomon Kane (2009) This is the much-awaited screen debut of the character created by Robert E. Howard , creator of Kull the Conqueror, Red Sonja & Conan the Barbarian .

    It is the year 1600, and Solomon Kane (James Purefoy - Rome ) is the greatest swordsman in the world. But when the Devil tries to claim his soul, he suddenly finds religion and becomes a pacifist!

    Kane falls in with a family of Puritans, led by Pete Postlethwaite ( Rat ) and Alice Krige . They trek across late Elizabethan England, during the time of Shakespeare. The place looks like the modern-day Czech Republic, and is full of thugs and bandits. A thug in a medieval Jason mask is magically enslaving people so they serve an evil sorcerer named Malakili (Jason Flemyng - Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels ). Was not this originally a storyline in the ultra-low-budget 1990s TV show New Adventures of Robin Hood ?

    This effort owes little enough to Howard's character, or to historical accuracy. Solomon Kane is an English privateer sailing under the Union Jack ... with all three crosses on it! That is like using the US flag in the same period, including all fifty stars!

    There is an unnecessary back-story shoehorned into the plot, concerning Kane's relationship with his father (Max Von Sydow - Flash Gordon, Dune, Judge Dredd ). Lots of cliches are inflicted upon us ...

    However, it could have been worse. Kane does not have a love interest, thankfully.

    Compared to the recent trilogy of supernatural swashbucklers, this is not as good as the first Pirates of the Caribbean film but it is better than the other two.

    All in all, however, this is a reasonable attempt that might even kick-start a straight-to-DVD franchise. The cast is great, the SPFX are excellent ... Maybe with a better script, the next film could be truly worthy.

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    Ancient Greece

    300 (2006)

    300 (2006) The eeevil Persians are poised to invade Ancient Greece. King Leonidas (Gerard Butler - Dracula 2001, Lara Croft 2 ) and his army of 300 muscular stuntmen in posing pouches (including the monkish sidekick from Van Helsing ) go to delay the Persians at a mountain pass named Thermoplye.

    Meanwhile, back in Sparta, Queen Gorgo ( Lena Headey ) plots with Stephen McHattie ( Haunter ) to raise the rest of the Spartan army and rescue the 300!

    Zach Snyder delivers an adaption of a graphic novel by Frank Miller. And much like the last Miller adaption, Sin City , this is just pure style over substance. In order to give it the artistic look and feel, the backdrops are all greenscreen and there is excessive use of slo-mo!

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    300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

    300: Rise of an Empire (2014) This is adapted from the comic sequel to the original graphic novel. It was originally to be called Xerxes or Battle of Artemesia, but they thought that would sound too exotic so they dumbed it down.

    The story runs parallel to the first film, although there are bits set before (to give background) and after (to provide conclusion). Thus, certain characters who die in the first film actually make brief reappearances.

    While Xerxes leads his land forces against the 300 Spartans, his naval forces under Artemisia ( Eva Green ) face off against a small force of Athenian ships. The result is a series of typically violent confrontations, in the vein of the action scenes from the first film - although there is not the same reliance of slo-mo.

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    Alexander The Great (1956)

    Alexander The Great (1956) Richard Burton ( Cleopatra ) plays the title character. He is not as young as Colin Farrell in the more recent film, but since this is a relic from the sword-and-sandal era you really cannot really expect historical accuracy or realism.

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    Alexander (2004)

    Alexander Colin Farrell ( Daredevil ) plays the title character, in Oliver Stone 's epic biopic. The story is in flashback by the aged veteran Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins - Silence of the Lambs ). Alexander succeeds his father to the throne, then invades Persia.

    The landscapes are spectacular, and certainly feel authentic to Ancient Greece and Persia. Which is all the more confusing, because most of the Greeks (including Alex's dad, Val Kilmer - Willow ) have adopted Oirish accents. Apparently this was a deliberate choice by the director, not to accommodate Farrell's inability to do other accents but to make the Macedonians appear backward compared to urbanised Greeks like Aristotle (Christopher Plummer).

    Angelina Jolie does not pretend to be Irish - she uses a dodgy Russian accent instead, like she does in Beowulf . As Alex's scheming bitch of a mother, she puts him off women - until he meets Rosario Dawson , that is. In reality, Jolie is the same age as Farrell - but she delivers a strong performance, which saves the film.

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    Immortals (2011)

    Immortals (2011)

    This pays lip service to the ancient Greek myths, but it is style over substance, an inferior copy of 300

    Zeus has made a law that the Gods do not intervene openly in the affairs of mankind. They cannot heal themselves, and humans can use magical weapons. Villainous King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke - a much better villain than he was in Iron Man 2 ) wants to free the Titans, and start a war with the Gods. To do this he needs a magic bow, so he sends his army to capture the oracle ( Freida Pinto ).

    Our hero, Theseus the peasant, teams up with comic relief (Stephen Dorff, who looks like he did in Blade fifteen years ago). They must succeed where well-trained soldiers have failed.

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    Clash of the Titans (2010)

    Clash of the Titans (2010) This is a straight remake of the 1981 classic. Scene by scene, with relatively little variation. No surprises in the plot, really, for those who have seen the original.

    Our hero (Sam Worthington - Terminator: Salvation ) was raised by Pete Postlethwaite (who has a similar mentor role in Solomon Kane ).

    There is a power struggle between Zeus (Liam Neeson - Phantom Menace ) and his jealous brother Hades (Ralph Feinnes - Harry Potter ).

    The Gods threaten to destroy a city run by underused Polly Walker . Perseus is sent on a quest, aided by soldier Mads Mikelsson ( Casino Royale ) and immortal babe Gemma Arterton .

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    Wrath of the Titans (2012)

    Wrath of the Titans (2012) This is a sequel to the recent remake of the classic Clash of the Titans (1981) . The main improvement over either previous film appears to be that this has high-quality CGI. The storyline is taken from recent film Immortals , but without the dramatic flair or originality.

    Ten years have passed since the previous film. Perseus (Sam Worthington - Terminator: Salvation ) has a ten-year-old son, whose mother has conveniently died or disappeared. This leads Perseus free to team up with a new love interest (Princess Andromeda - Bond Girl Rosamund Pike ), a comic relief (the son of Poseidon), and a bunch of expendables. They must find Hephaestus (Bill Nighy - Shaun of the Dead, POTC 2 & 3 ), overcome some CGI beasties (far inferior to scenes in Troll Hunter ) and save the world.

    The monstrous Titans, led by Kronos himself, are about to escape and destroy the world. Zeus (Liam Neeson - Aslan in Narnia ) goes to his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes - Voldemort in Harry Potter ) for help. Since Hades was the villain in the previous film, this is probably not a good idea. The first time these two actors worked together was as opponents in Schindler's List - how the mighty have fallen! In the tradition of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys , Ares (God of War) is an antagonistic character too.

  • Clash of the Titans (1981)
  • Clash of the Titans (2010)
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    Troy: The Odyssey (2017)

    Troy: The Odyssey (2017)

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    Young Adult Book Adaptations

    Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010)

    Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief This is based on the novel by Rick Riordan and directed by Hollywood director-for-hire Chris Columbus , best known for the first two Harry Potter films. Yes, the studio obviously wanted to kick-start a new franchise.

    Someone steals the lightning bolt of Zeus (Sean Bean - Game of Thrones ), who in turn blames Neptune (Kevin McKidd - Rome ). Percy (short for Perseus) is Neptune's illegitimate and unknowing son, who lives in NYC with his mom ( Catherine Keener ) and her slobbish BF (Joe Pantoliano - The Matrix ).

    Pierce Brosnan ( The World Is Not Enough ), unconvincingly disguised as a greybeard in a wheelchair, sends Percy to the Demi-Gods's training camp so he can master his gifts. He gets a love interest ( Alexandra Daddario ), a daughter of Athena. But since all Gods are related, thus all Demi-Gods are too ... So he is upholding the ancient Greek tradition of incest.

    The teenagers train with metal blades and no tuition - But at least they can heal minor wounds.

    The trio (Percy, the babe and the token black guy) go on a quest to find three magic pearls to get into the Underworld. They encounter Medusa ( Uma Thurman , who was Aphrodite in Baron Munchausen ). Hades (Steve Coogan - Night At The Museum ) is cast in the villain's role, equating Tartarus with hell. Persephone ( Rosario Dawson ) is a nympho, although the token Satyr is toned down to PG level to make this a kiddie-friendly film.

    The studio threw money at this - there is lots of CGI and big-name stars - in the hope it would be the new Harry Potter . But they forgot that Harry Potter was a world-famous International publishing phenomenon before it was a movie. And it had something of a moral centre, while this has none. The post-credits sequence shows the protagonist using his superpowers for personal gain (well, to even a childish score with lethal consequences).

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    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) The half-bloods (children of matings between humans and the Gods of Olympus) now live at the summer-camp run by Anthony Stewart Head ( Buffy ) and Stanley Tucci ( The Core ). Unfortunately, the camp's protective barrier is damaged. To repair it, someone must go on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. The boss sends Clarice, who is the Top Hero (or heroine) because she lacks Percy's exaggerated sense of fair play.

    Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman - Noah ) and Annabeth ( Alexandra Daddario ) head off on an unauthorised quest together, along with the Token Black Guy and Percy's clumsy one-eyed brother Tyson. They encounter a few celebrity cameos, such as Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) and Missi Pyle . They get some magical gadgets from Hermes (Nathan Fillion - Firefly ), who can make time for them but not for his own son. They also encounter some monsters that are actually quite impressive, considering they are CGI.

    There are some villains who want to use the fleece to revive their ancestor Kronos (Robert Knepper - Stargate: Universe: Season 2 ), King of the Titans, so he can destroy Olympus. This is the ultimate form of teenage rebellion, and the Olympian Gods are a bunch of deadbeat parents who can make time for infinite vengeance but abandon their children on a world plagued by horrible monsters.

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    The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

    The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) A teenage boy discovers that he is The Seeker, avatar of The Light. He must save the world from The Rider (Christopher Eccleston - Dr Who 2005, Heroes ), avatar of The Darkness. Ian McShane (Deadwood) and James Cosmo ( Braveheart ) are the Mentors who help our hero.

    This is much darker than the early Harry Potter films. And though it cannot have had a huge budget, the production values seem very impressive!

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    Spiderwick Chronicles, The (2008)

    Spiderwick Chronicles, The (2008) This is a darkish fantasy adapted from a kids' book. Mary-Louise Parker takes her son (Freddie Highmore - Bates Motel ) and daughter ( Sarah Bolger ) to live in a remote country house. At the bottom of the garden are goblins, led by shapeshifter Nick Nolte (in his Hulk villain mode).

    The kids go looking for David Strathairn ( Alphas ), who got time-warped away by the good fairies.

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    Sorceror's Apprentice, The (2010)

    Sorceror's Apprentice (2010) This was made by Walt Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, so you know what to expect. It begins with a ponderous narration by Ian McShane ( Golden Compass ). In Arthurian times, Merlin was betrayed by Morgana ( Celia Imrie ) and Horvath (Alfred Molini - Ladyhawke ). He was saved by Monica Bellucci and Balthazar (Nicholas Cage - Face Off ). The two women get magically imprisoned, and Balthazar spends the next thosand years as an immortal guardian.

    Eventually Balthazar finds Merlin's sucessor in - where else - modern-day New York City. Unfortunately for him, it is a skinny nerdy kid from a few Judd Apatow films. As the title of the film suggests, there is a compulsory homage to the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon. However, our nerdy hero is genre-blind insofar as he has obviously never seen the cartoon!

    Horvath wants to rescue Morgana so they can destroy the world together. He gets a Johnny Rotten-looking sidekick to help him.

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    Vampire's Assistant, The (2009)

    Vampire's Assistant, The (2009) A teenage boy named Darren Shan goes to the circus and meets a Vampire (John C. Reilly - Gangs of New York ). Darren manages to get himself recruited as apprentice, making this a Goth version of The Sorceror's Apprentice .

    There is a violent sub-species of vamp known as the Vampanese, led by Ray Stevenson ( Rome ). They want to start a war and wipe out the vamps.

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