2013 / Jonathan Newman.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX is a fantasy adventure film that boasts an impressive cast and promises a world of magic and monsters set against a Victorian-era steampunk universe. Instead is delivers a lazy, generic and lacklustre tease of what could have been.
The film stars Michael Sheen, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffudd and Lena Headey (amongst others) and tells a fable of secret worlds and the monsters, which occupy them. When a teenage boy’s family vanishes, he embarks on a journey to save them. It is a dangerous adventure that has him chased by evil treasure hunters and battling against ferocious creatures.
Clearly capitalizing on the success of franchises like HARRY POTTER and PERCY JACKSON, the film is the first in a planned series. And yet despite cramming it with A-class talent and recognisable faces, the story and execution is much too flimsy. The film arrived under the radar and bypassed theatrical release, and without a prevalent home-entertainment release it would seem highly unlikely that the sequels will ever see the light of day.
The movie plays out like a midday movie from the BBC and lacks the spit and polish of its theatrical opponents. The cast are good and make the most of the material, but no amount of acting is going to salvage what is clearly a half-arsed script and a lousy production design.
With any luck the failure of THE ADVENTURER will mark an end to an era of over stylised fantasy films. Since HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS began smashing box office records, we have been inundated with carbon copy franchises, few of which hit the mark. I don’t particularly have a problem with the genre but I do take exception to the saturation. Some of you may want to check out this latest stinker for curiosity’s sake… but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.