This week, as I was running through my head all the possible topics to talk about in a blog post, I was meandering and lazing about the great, mysterious Internet and I found several useful tidbits that I thought would make an interesting discussion topic: What makes a good Epic Fantasy Movie?
Is it stunning effects? Good history? Engaging artistic performances? Or perhaps awe-inspiring makeup and costume treatment? Not to forget the music, creature design and old-fashioned-but-still-flair-full dialog fans expect from everything Epic.
Even though fans of the genre can have their dreams realized by tuning unto HBO’s Game of Thrones, is it really enough to fulfill our motion-picture needs?
Let’s take a look at the Epic Fantasy options 2016 brought with it:
1- The Shannara Chronicles. Ok so, January 2016 means The Shannara Chronicles, or how I like to call it The-Series-That-Tried-To-Ride-The-GoT-Gravy-Train-But-Failed-Miserably.
Now, boys and girls don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that for fans of lets say Twilight, this particular YA-Epic Mash Up works out fine. After all, if what you want is the shallowness, crazy-hormones-low-brain-activity high this particular series gives, you should go for it (and now it’s up for a second season, yay!). Personally, I started watching Shannara in search of a series that would take on my favorite fantasy topics, but lighten up a little of the gore and low-morals that are at the core of Game of Thrones. Hey, I wanted to watch an actually nice hero for once, sue me! Point is, it so didn’t work out. The Shannara Chronicles is like a weird mixture of Vampire Diaries, Buffy and GoT, except it takes the worse part of those three and puts them together. Flat characters, an under-developed story and oh, hey two girls fighting for a single guy! Just what the doctor ordered… not. Honestly
, if I were to chose my Epic Fantasy series of choice on this 2016, I would go with Galavant over Shannara, and that is just a stupid gag series, with singing! Season 2 (January, 2016), had ostensibly less quality than season 1, but at least I didn’t want to put my hands around the lead girl’s neck like, oh I don’t know, every second!
2- Gods of Egypt.
Ok, this movie sucks. There’s really no other way to put it, and for someone like me who is a Mythology junkie, it sucks to hell and back three times. The characters are horribly under-developed, they literally have no motive whatsoever for the things they do in the movie, and the only one who actually has a little bit of layering is the bad guy, who, considering you are supposed to not like him, doesn’t bode well for the rest of the movie.
The story is spotty at best, and the performances feel flat because, as I said, there is no depth or background to pull up from. I guess the objective was for viewers to focus on the action, but the problem is, the action is not that hot either. It ebbs and flows without a clear pattern and since it doesn’t really build up, when you get to the final battle you are like “Oh, that’s it?”
All in all is a bad attempt at motion picture that I hesitate to call Epic Fantasy, but alas… here you have it.
3- The Huntsman: Winter’s War.
This movie… what to say about it….
Just to get it out of the way, guys, costume design and make up in this movie is on point. Effects are not bad either. Sadly, these two things are the only good thing about it. Not even Chris Hemsworth could save this movie, and I forgive a lot of things to that face of his. It just was so… BORING! Yes, that is the word. We watched it at home when it came out in Blu-Ray, with pop-corn and the lights out, and we were literally sleeping five minutes in.
It has too much exposition and to little character development. It doesn’t do a good job of connecting with its predecessor and the only action concentrates in about the last 10 minutes of the movie, when you are already hopelessly ashamed of having spent the past two hours watching it.
For Warcraft, I will at least praise the CGI and Make up work. They do an amazing job with those orcs and the truth is they look amazing. Overall action is fast paced and the movie itself is entertaining. But (always there is one), that is all this film is. The main characters are too simplistic to engage. It perhaps comes with the fact that is based on a video game, but I don’t believe that forgives it. I have read books of the Warcraft universe and they are amazingly well-crafted. This movie is not. It’s great to spend a good two hours, it’s eye-candy with all that gorgeous special effect and costume work, but it doesn’t trap you. The only character that is relatable is Durotan, and only to a small degree, because with so many things happening we don’t get to see much of him. My opinion would be that this movie suffers from overdoneness (same problem that The Hobbit trilogy had a couple of years ago). Filmmakers tried to do too much and cram it in too little a space. As a result, everything feels somewhat exaggerated. It lacks the subtlety and careful treatment good epics need to make it to the heart of the viewers.
All in all, 2016 was definitely not the year for Epic Fantasy, and while the movie roster is yet to finish airing, there are no more likely candidates coming to take up the fallen mantle. We will have to wait perhaps for the second Avatar (if it ever does happen) or hope someone takes pity on us poor fans and throw us a bone of Epic Fantasy we can happily shew on.
For now, I’ll leave you with a throwback for your hungry hearts, from the most amazing epic movie saga ever made: