Thursday, May 19, 2011
PRIEST 3D! NOT REALLY IN 3D!
Priests are vampire hunters that have somewhat super human powers to combat the undead. The vampires were defeated in some war by the Priests and placed into "reservations" for some reason. I guess the movie history is some kind of analogy with America's past with the Native Americans and putting them in reservations. How inappropriate. No longer useful the Priests are integrated back into society to lead normal boring lives just like in THE INCREDIBLES. Vampires buffalo through and kill Paul Bettany's brother and wife and steal their daughter. Though the Church will not allow Paul Bettany to go after her, he does. That's the bare bones synopsis of PRIEST 3D. I could go on into more detail but that would be too boring. I'm not writing the book.
The strengths of this film are in the acting and characters along with a simple fast paced story and unique look to the film. Bettany is excellent as the badass Priest, Carl Urban is a terrific somewhat scary villain, and Maggie Q is hot. These three characters give the film some weight keeping it from being just another mediocre film from the guy who did LEGION. I like the grey desert landscape. I like the fact that everyone dresses like its 1865. I love westerns. What can I say? I will say this. This isn't a movie made for 3D. The glasses make the film already darker than it needs to be. There are many scenes that take place in dark caves and crypts. Its hard to see what is going on in these scenes because of the glasses. The 3D is nothing more than a gimmick to trick people into seeing a movie that the studio has very little faith in. There is not one damn thing that "pops" out at you.
PRIEST 3D goes the HIGHLANDER route when it comes to explaining the rules of this universe. There is almost no explanation as to why the priests have super human abilities. They just do or they were trained really well or something. In other words its vague as hell. It perplexes me to no end as to why the Church would keep vampires on reservations. Why not kill the bastards? No one seems to question this logic. At first I figured the Church kept them around to bring them out as a way to control the people when they lose their faith like some kind of obvious cliched plot twist. But no they just figure a few guards will keep them in check. It doesn't make sense. It also doesn't make sense when Bettany tries to convince the Church that vampires are on the loose and they don't believe him. Why would they not believe him? Its totally plausible that vamps over powered the guards and escaped since THEY ARE FREAKIN VAMPIRES AND THEY DO THIS KIND OF CRAP ALL THE TIME! And another thing. Why not use the Priests as guards over the reservations instead of giving them remedial work that is below their skill level like garbage men and coal shovellers (the city runs on coal)? This movie doesn't make any sense at all! But I digress.
The biggest problem is the lack of impact the violence has on the audience. The movie seems to cut around the hits and punches. When someone gets punched I want to see the punch make contact quickly, not shake the camera and cut away before the hit lands. There should have been single shot takes of Bettany taking down bad guys quickly as if he were a six shot revolver being fired by the Man with No Name. PRIEST 3D feels a little unfocused. The movie rushes forward too quickly not allowing for the tenser moments to sink in. This is evident at the beginning where the Priests walk into a trap and have to escape quickly. Its an important scene since this moment sparks the conflict of two Priests that must eventually fight each other at the end. Good Priest vs. a vamped out bad Priest. Pretty cool. But the scene is done so fast its almost unnoticed. It just kind of happens in about three or four shots and then its done.
I think this movie is a little better than mediocre. I put it in the "Good Movie" column but I know this movie isn't going to impress many. I will say as a positive that for a PG-13 this movie is pretty violent. The beginning is told through animation that is extremely bloody. Cartoon people are torn in half with blood spray everywhere. Its pretty cool. They should have gone balls out and made the whole damn thing R. Gives us what we want not what 13 year olds want. What the heck would they know? They're 13! Its their fault that everything is in 3D nowadays. Morons.