It is the third age and a terrible evil has been cast from the heavens, he has since gathered an army of orcs and likewise and marched against the free people. Though they have bested him in the past this time someone misplaced the Hobbits and thus evil has won. This last sentence is about the only thing that separates this from any other fantasy realm but to be honest what a way to separate them. Midnight Chronicles takes place in the dark age after evil has won and hope lies in pieces. Based upon the short lived ‘Midnight’ setting for the dungeons and dragons roleplaying system this movie was done and ready for us only two years before Game of Thrones hit our screens, so it can’t be that bad, right?
I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much, the DVD does start with a trailer for ‘In the Name of the King’ from Uwe Bowell. Though this could be a way to ensure that any reviewer has to say that it only gets better from here on. In truth I’m not sure it does.
The film opens with a quote that fills the screen, unfortunately it was too fuzzy to read easily so I didn’t bother. I assume it was just a variant on the old Nietzsche quote so I don’t think I missed too much. Don’t worry the exposition comes later. Now the names were weird and though lacking in apostrophes strangely forgettable and very few of them have worked much past this meaning the imdb page is lacking in pictures. Though interestingly the two big names are probably only going to be known for ‘The Choo-choo Bob show’. Anyway I will do my best though I will say that while you won’t come out of this knowing anyone’s name you can easily tell them apart in appearance and role.
The main character is Mag a dark priest, or “Legate”, for the evil god who has managed to seal off the world from the rest of heaven. His main job seems to be hunting down those that flee the church as we see him do, semi-professionally, in the opening scene. This is really only to introduce the rash mark he has developed on his hand, something that won’t actually come into the story till near the end, so, um ‘foreshadowing!’
He and his “comic-relief” sidekick, who specialises in sarcasm and apathy thus the character I could relate to the most, meet up with Chuzara who is possibly also a dark priest; though I was unsure of her actual role in the organisation. They are given the role of heading to Blackweir where a temple has sat half built for several years and several legates, all of which have disappeared in “mysterious” circumstances. Part of the “problem” this town has is the Robin Hood style band operating outside the borders, intercepting the supplies and so forth.
The movie bounces around between him, ‘The Hunter’ a one armed man, and Galen and Iana an adopted brother and sister one of whom serves the rebels and the other acts as basically the opposite of Luke Skywalker, with his dad having fought the evil and now still alive and desperate to get him out the door and fight the overwhelming tide of evil. Though maybe he just wants to enjoy his retirement with his wife?
Now the basic story is, as someone who likes such fantasy stories, good and interesting enough that I wish this series had carried on. However the sets are small and supplemented by cheap cgi. The costumes look like they came from a larp-fest, the writing itself is stilted and corny in all the worst ways and the acting is decidedly am-dram stuff meaning that the movie is outpaced by comedy webshows from less than a year later. Heck there’s only one half decent sword fight in the whole thing and that doesn’t come to the very end so don’t come in expecting any action.
As a standalone movie I wouldn’t recommend it as you’re basically missing the, at the very least, second half of the movie; as a pilot it’s decent enough in a low budget D&D fantasy kind of way. Especially with some selling it on Amazon for two quid.
So that’s the end for pilot month here at Kibbin’s Codex, what shows did you want to see make it past the first episode, please leave a comment below and let me know.