Monday, 10 February 2014

Priest (2011)

Historically Scott Stewart is more involved with visual effects as a cofounder of The Orphanage (credits include Sin City (2005); Pirates of the Caribbean (2006 & 2007) and Iron Man (2008)), but increasingly he is spending time in the director’s chair.  Priest is his third feature film and is very loosely based on the graphic novels written by Hyung Min-Woo.  Not the first film to be based on a graphic novel by any stretch, and I'm sure it won't be the last.  However, it is one of the few movies that I can think of that actually features a cartoon; Hellboy 2 being another obvious example.

The exposition cartoon at the beginning is very stylish, very cool and gave me hope that the rest of the film would be similarly stylised, and perhaps to an extent it was; but for all the great ideas, the movie is disappointingly flat.  It essentially boils down to a revenge movie of sorts, but it could have been so much more.  What saves it from being dreadful are the technical achievements.  I really liked the harsh, high contrast of the badlands which were reminiscent of Pitch Black (2000) and generally the cinematography by frequent Robert Zemeckis collaborator Don Burgess is great (also responsible for lensing the harsh look of The Book of Eli (2010)).  I also liked the idea that the vampires were a race themselves and didn't just suck blood of of their prey, they tore them apart!

Paul Bettany was fine, as was Cam Gigandet.  Christopher Plummer and Alan Dale both phone in their cameo performances.  As did Karl Urban, but his character just reminded me of Rattlesnake Jake from Rango!  Some great ideas (the premise is more interesting than the source material sounds!), I just think that the film falls short of what it aimed to be.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

If only...