Okay, so we’re two DVDs in and you’ve gone from whitebread mariachis to direct-to-video disasters with a Miss Jane Pittman-esque Rae Dawn Chong. Are you sure you can survive the summer?
Admittedly, it was an unexpected downward spiral from the worst movie I’ve seen in a decade, but on the bright side, I’ve now seen the worst movie in two decades, maybe three. But that’s Denver for you: legal pot requires a prescription, while this poison asks but $1.30 and a working credit card.
What is it again? Pegasus vs Chimera? Tell me it’s a complex legal thriller, or historical drama with rousing courtroom speeches or something. Or is it the umpteenth attempt to cash in on the fantasy craze?
The latter, sadly, only we’re forced to accept a wingless Pegasus because, as a character informs us, “Real power is often hidden.” Sounds like additional funding didn’t come through and the CGI budget was blown on the first fucking scene. The very scene where some wild beast attacks Cyros, the beloved father of Belleros, who is so weakened that he can be easily slain by a flunky of King Orthos. Of courseos.
Hold on, now. So 2013 is still accepting screenplays wherein a young man witnesses the death of his father and vows revenge?
How else to ensure the survival of chestnuts such as, “You murderers! Father! I will avenge your death!” All while exploring timeless themes of justice versus vengeance without a trace of self-awareness, humor, or entertainment value. I’ll see you in hell, John Bradshaw.
So when the screen informs us that we’re now “Many Years Later,” how much later are we talking about?
A good 20-25 years, I’d gather, which gives the juices of vengeance enough time to really get going. But the adult Belleros is a simple man. A blacksmith. The sort of warrior who waits until a beautiful princess named Philony wanders into his neck of the woods weeping about her recently beheaded father. “I need knives,” she cries, also explaining that her village of Tyren has fallen. God help us.
Ahh, so it’s a tale of warring lands and absolute power corrupting absolutely, all with a LARP-ish spin?
I guess, but per the explanations of the princess and the evil King Orthos, it’s clear that he wants to unite the seven realms and rule the western lands, but only after killing every last citizen of Tyren. Which appears to be the only inhabited realm.
Seven realms? Western lands? Tis a grand kingdom he seeks to master, tis not?
In theory, perhaps, which makes it a tad confusing that we only see about seven actual people during the course of the film. Sure, there are references to vast landscapes of wealth and plenty, but from where I’m sitting, I see a cardboard castle façade, a blacksmith operation with no actual blacksmithing, and a wimpy campfire or two. Maybe a stream. And either Orthos or Belleros is present at every single one of them. Sure, Orthos is kind enough to have a black soldier working for him, but he’s killed at least four different times. But sure, it makes sense to kill every last man in order to rule over their corpses.
So who’s the Ben Kingsley wannabe? He seems to show some life now and again.
He’s General Actae, a warlock, and he possesses the power to keep Orthos immortal. When we first meet him, he’s just about to scream in a Latin/Klingon hybrid, vomit up a whole lotta bees, and drink a quart or so of Orthos’ blood as an evil chaser. Naturally, all of this results in the creation of the Chimera, a beast that “searches for souls and sends them to the bowels of Hades.” The Chimera will accomplish what plastic swords have not — to rid the kingdom of its half-dozen rebellious inhabitants so that the King can live forever, preferably alone. I’m guessing his farmland will farm itself.
The Chimera…sounds like a chilling, callous killer of men. A devilish beast?
Tis, and we know this because prior to its first killing, we hear an eagle cry. Twice! And whenever it leaves a scene, there are body parts strewn about, accounting for the other half of the budget not blown on dirty robes and anti-depressants.
You mentioned Rae Dawn Chong. Is this where she comes in?
And what an entrance! She is Mayda, a grand witch and soothsayer who has dreams that envision the future, but apparently not the kind that warn of her impending death via falling tree branch. No matter, as this once proud Commando co-star, now bloated and Oprah-like in the role that saved her from homelessness, will dance, cackle, and chant so that the mighty Pegasus can be removed from the sky to save humanity. “The blood of Medusa and Poseidon is coursing through its veins,” she moans, directly contradicting the historical record first established by Clash of the Titans. “It’s a beautiful horse,” they note, though it’s so beat up and emaciated that one wonders from which Mexican racetrack or glue factory it was diverted. Curiously, the beast outclasses them all.
Other than the wingless bit, any other Pegasus facts to ponder?
Well, if Pegasus is either killed or not returned to the firmament by the light of the next moon, all life on earth will end and the planet will face an endless winter. Oh, and if you drain the beast of its blood and consume it, you will live forever. Which brings up a lesson for budding screenwriters everywhere. If you’re going to say that all life will end with the death of a horse, please refrain from implying that the person who kills said horse will somehow live forever. Seems simple enough, but this is a same screenplay where an adult man wearing the equivalent of a miniskirt shouts, “Foolish beast, you can’t penetrate the power of the pentacle!” Because we already figured that.
Do I bother to ask what happens next? I really stopped caring after the first question.
The Chimera kills a few more hapless soldiers, the princess and Belleros ride atop something before a blue screen, and the warlock predictably turns on Orthos for failing to give up the blessed western lands. But Orthos has been weakened after bringing forth the Chimera, and the King escapes execution. Belleros and the warlock have a poorly edited swordfight before a waterfall, the warlock dies, and Mayda screams yet again about being a servant of the light. Only the Chimera gets stronger, attacking more camps and eventually, the last remaining employee of the blacksmith shop. Orthos then asks that word be sent to the princess that if she doesn’t bring Pegasus at once, her mother the queen will be beheaded. Where, you might ask? Why, at the Beheading Tree, conveniently marked by royal flags and surrounding fence. Because to have it at the castle would require an actual castle.
Dare I ask if the world ends? I mean, I’m so invested at this point.
Orthos captures Pegasus (don’t ask), bleeding the beast for his powers of immortality. “I’m becoming the greatest man in history!” Alexander the Great conquered half the known world, Orthos an acre of uninhabited woodland. No matter. Orthos and Belleros are destined for one final swordfight, which must be filmed with a camera so shaky and unfocused it’s fair to assume no actual actors were used. The best part, though, is that as the action switches to the foreground (the princess and the queen are fighting off the Chimera), we can see the two macho men in the background acting as if the director never yelled action. That assumes there’s a director to begin with. But Pegasus is knocked down, Orthos is stabbed, and the blood of the mighty steed is soon fashioned into a weapon to defeat the Chimera. Sword dipped in the blood of Pegasus, Belleros sends the beast back to hell, but only after lifting his sword to the sky in the fantasy genre’s cum shot equivalent. Somewhere, a nerd is weeping. Or masturbating. I mean, a Rae Dawn Chong of 50-odd years and 50-plus pounds is still Rae Dawn Chong.
Post-mortem awards –
Worst line: (tie) “Our entire kingdom needs to be rebuilt,” Princess Philony declares, in spite of the fact that the blacksmith shop is the only building that suffers even modest damage. Oh yeah, and there’s no actual kingdom. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s worse than, “I will keep you alive long enough to watch me drain the Pegasus!” Curious how half the dialogue in any given fantasy movie is something Peter North would say to Christy Canyon.
Worst performance: Nazneen Contractor (!), as Princess Philony. Though the improbably named Andrew Jackson as Belleros’ father makes the least of his brief screen time. The heavens willing, he will work again.
Worst use of CGI: Pegasus, wingless while on the ground and before our eyes, suddenly sprouts the wingspan of a 747 while in the air. The flapping, needless to say, fails to convince.
Worst extravagance: Never has so much cherry-flavored syrup been wasted for so little. Godzilla vs Mothra, this ain’t.