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Peh. I can't get this Uwe Boll taste out of my mouth. - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
January 12th, 2008
09:27 am

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Peh. I can't get this Uwe Boll taste out of my mouth.
I worked at Cavedog just after Chris Taylor left to found his own company, Gas Powered Games. I've visited GPG on a number of occasions, and at one point, I was interested in working there, but Chris had made an agreement with my current employers not to hire any (more) of their employees.

The first game to come out of GPG was a role playing game called Dungeon Siege. An adequate game, I played it to completion, which I can't say for a lot of games. One thing it didn't really have was story. You started out as a farmer, and you killed a bunch of monsters, and took their stuff.

So, there's this movie In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Huh, says I. Seems like a frighteningly bad idea. I saw it last night, and it was... well, yes, it was frighteningly bad.

Uwe Boll was the director/executive producer. Really, that should be enough of a review right there. You can put good actors on a Uwe Boll project, and Uwe wins. The film will be dreadful. You can put bad actors on a Uwe Boll project, and Uwe's influence still trumps - the film will still be dreadful.

So, why are there anything but terrible actors in this movie? I won't say they're all picked from the A-List, but you've heard of them: Jason Statham (Transporter), Leelee Sobieski (Never Been Kissed), John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark(!!!)), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Claire Forlani (The Rock), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo), Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams), Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights). The only thing I can imagine is that there are some die hard Claire Forlani fans out there that will see anything she's in, which will double the number of ticket sales.

None of the actors do a particularly impressive job - they all do as well as they can, I suppose, given the dreadful script. I was most hopeful that Leelee Sobieski's character, Muriella, would get some combat-mage fight scenes, but her character was almost entirely superfluous, in spite of establishing her training with swords and magic in Act I. Many of the performances came across as parodies of the actors themselves - Burt Reynolds as a king was just about watchable, but really - you could cast the crusty old janitor as the king and do just as good a job, for substantially less than what Burt Reynolds must make. Ray Liotta was particularly strange - most of his scenes were done against some unimpressive special effects. Presumably, these scenes were supposed to convey a mage in his chambers. I kept seeing Donny Osmond in front of a temperamental smoke machine.

Outside of spending money on actors, there were some dreadfully apparent low-budget decisions. Whenever they could use a computer generated scene, they did. There were a few helicopter shots of actors on mountain ridges, but rather than bringing me in to the fiction, this ended up reminding me of the Lord of the Rings movies. Similarly, a lot of the costumes and sets looked like they might have been picked up for cheap at the Hollywood garage sale where the Narnia and Lord of the Rings stuff was getting unloaded.

Oh, and it was a Dungeon Siege tale, right? Well, so, no. The kingdom that everyone was fighting for was Ehb, and the faceless monsters were Krug, so that's consistent with Dungeon Siege. The hero in the game started out as a farmer and became a powerful fighter. The hero in the movie was a farmer, named Farmer, who started out as a powerful fighter and became King. Oh, I've spoiled the end of the movie. Or, really, the middle of the movie. Sorry. I guess there was a dungeon at one point in the movie, but nobody laid siege to it.

Which sort of brings me around to the big battle scene at the end - you've probably seen movies where there's a big battle that's the turning point of the plot. It's often hard to make that fit into a heroic story structure; realistically, one man on a battlefield isn't going to be that significant. So, what you've probably seen is that the hero is engaged in one-on-one combat with the villain, either on the battlefield, or often somewhere removed. Cut back and forth, battle, battle, battle, CUT, fight scene in wizard's tower, and so on. At this point, we all know that the battle scenes aren't important; it's just the fight between the principles that matters. And, indeed, this movie exactly meets your low expectations. Statham and Osmond Liotta have a predictable fight. When the bad guy is dispatched, all the evil monsters are no longer controlled, and they revert to disinterested animals, and wander away from the fight.

I know at this point you're hoping that the women are at least scantily clad, and I can report that Sobieski does have a bedroom scene where you see some leg. Forlani shows off some collarbone. Loken hangs out of a tree in some weird Cirque du Soleil in the woods acrobatic subplot.

Some movies are good. Some movies are bad. Some movies are so bad, they're good. This one's so bad it's bad. I wonder if this movie could have been a little worse, and "rolled over" and become good in some way.

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From:brandifer
Date:January 12th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
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So, why are there anything but terrible actors in this movie? I won't say they're all picked from the A-List, but you've heard of them

Ooops, sorry for the empty reply there at first! Anyway...

OMG Drew and I totally had this exact conversation just a couple of hours ago! We were looking for something to see today since we were coming to Jackson anyway. I looked at IMDB and saw it had something like a 4.1 rating out of ten, with about 1500 votes. I figured with the type of movie this is, the geek factor is probably pretty high. it's my experience (as a geek myself) that we are a pretty forgiving bunch; if there's anything redeeming about the plot we can ignore some bad CGI, etc. But that likely viewer pool giving it that low a rating despite the really decent cast? We passed. We're going to see Harry Wilson's War instead. :)

Edited at 2008-01-12 09:32 pm (UTC)
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From:tsmaster
Date:January 12th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
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We're going to see Harry Wilson's War instead. :)

Harry Potter's War? :)

Yeah, Uwe Boll seems to have made a career for himself, making movies adapted from (mostly) computer or console games, and spending most of the money on the cast, with very little money spent on scripts or sets.

Enjoy your movie, it's bound to be better than this one.
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From:tsmaster
Date:January 14th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
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So if the Golden Globes are turning into a non-event, what are the odds that the Oscars air?

The public needs its annual dose of Bruce Vilanch.
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