Yes, I am (finally) back! It’s been far, far too long since I’ve posted anything up here, but I at least have some good reasons, namely completing my 45,000 word Master’s Thesis, as well as working to get things in order for an intercontinental move coming up in August–more on that at a later date. I’ve also completed my third book, and have gotten it all through my small writing group, so it is now in the revision process while my second completed book is done enough that I’ve felt comfortable querying it, though I’m also looking into other publishing avenues at this stage. But I’ll post about that stuff another time; I need to stop procrastinating and get to reason you’re probably reading this post, my thoughts on Mythica: The Necromancer, the third film in Arrowstorm Entertainment‘s independent Mythica film series. Full disclosure before beginning, I did back this film’s Kickstarter campaign, as well as the campaigns for every film in the series, of which the fifth and final campaign is nearly over with as I write this.
As with my review of the second movie in the series, Mythica: The Darkspore, I will not waste time here with background information. For more information on the Mythica series and on Arrowstorm Entertainment itself, check out my reviews of the previous two films in the series: Mythica 1, Mythica 2.
Now, to Mythica: The Necromancer itself. This is easily the best film in the series thus far, and might even be the best including Mythica 4, which I have watched by this point. (Yes, I realize this is a delayed review.) This film takes place sometime after the second one, and we start off seeing that our group of heroes, the mage Marek (Melanie Stone), warrior Thane (Adam Johnson), rogue Dagen (Jake Stormoen), and priestess Teela (Nicola Posener) have been seeing some success in their adventuring, as we see them early on celebrating in the local tavern and buying drinks for everyone. Marek, also has progressed in her magical ability, training regularly with her mentor Gojun Pye (Kevin Sorbo). But all is not sunshine and gold. The evil necromancer Szorlok (Matthew Mercer) is still after the remaining pieces of the Darkspore, and early on nearly succeeds in killing Gojun Pye. Additionally, an old enemy of Marek and friends, Peregus Mallister (Robert Jayne) has not gotten over his humiliation back in the first film, and kidnaps Thane, using his now powerful position to compel Marek and the others to perform a mission for him, which forces Marek to not remain safe nearby, as Gojun had recommended–with her friend’s life on the line, Marek has no choice. Accompanying them is one of Mallister’s enforcers, Betylla (Philip Brodie), who, to me, was the standout character of the film. He is intimidating, cool, and clearly not a “good” character, but he cannot truly be called a villain either, as we find out later. His presence as a tough, experience, but still flawed, adventurer was welcome among the younger (excepting Dagen’s likely older age as a half elf) and more idealistic heroes. Things, of course, do not play out as simply as everyone would like, and before long our heroes find themselves confronting Szorlok again.
Without repeating too much I’ve written in the previous reviews, the acting, particularly that of the main cast was excellent, and they played off each other well, as in the past. In particular, Marek and Teela get some good scenes together, and their differing struggles as well as their conflicts are very well portrayed. Dagen has what to work with as well, particularly near the end of the film, and is helpful in lightening the mood of an otherwise quite dark film. Thane has not too much to do this time around, and I actually wonder if his limited screen time was a result of actor Adam Johnson not having time to shoot more scenes. If that was the case, then the film did well to work around that obstacle. Szorlok is a very menacing figure, and is portrayed with proper gravitas, though his dialogue does feel a bit melodramatic at times. The stand out character, however, was Philip Brodie’s Betylla. He owned all the scenes he was in (and not just because of his great theme music.) I touched a bit on the character already, but I’ll commend Brodie for the character’s demeanor and expressions, which really made him feel alive, and interesting, the only truly morally gray character thus far in a series full of clear heroes and clear villains. Of course, I’d be remiss if I forgot about Kevin Sorbo; he gets more time in this film than in its predecessors (his screen-time seems to increase slightly with every movie in the series). I don’t have too much to say; I really liked his extended scene training with Marek, as we finally got to really see him as a teacher in addition to a mentor and guide.
As before, the visual effects are fine, bearing in mind the budgetary limitations, and it’s nice seeing practical effects and real extras as bad guy henchmen. Also the direction, particularly of the scene on the battlefield, was excellent, with that scene in particular having a lot of moving parts without a huge amount of cuts.
While the main plot of the film, until near the end, is technically what a game would likely label a side-quest, I really enjoyed the darker tone both that plot and the conflict with Szorlok and his forces at the end. While there have been deaths in this series before, it still felt fairly lighthearted, and you were reasonably certain that the main cast was going to emerge unscathed. Without spoiling anything, this film went to a much darker place, as befits the middle of the series, which served to impart on viewers that there is indeed a serious threat to the world that our heroes must face, and that victory is not assured.
That’s it for now, and I hope to get a review of the next film in the series out in the near future. These films are definitely worth checking out, bearing in mind that they are fairly low budget, and restricted by that. But the creators clearly love the fantasy genre, and put good effort into this series. And, of course, the only way to ensure even higher quality independent fantasy films in the future is to support films like this enough that such advancements can be afforded. As of this writing, the Kickstarter for the final film in the series is still underway, but ending very soon, so if you want to get in on it, don’t delay!
My review of the next film should follow soon, and then I hope to finally get back to posting here regularly again. For real this time, and with posts beyond book and movie reviews. Until then, keep on reading and writing, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @YakovMerkin , where I more regularly post about various things, including writing and other genre stuff.