MYTHICA: A QUEST FOR HEROES
Ever since The Lords of the Rings trilogy conquered movie screens, there have been a great many imitators seeking to offer up similar epic fantasy/sword and sorcery copycats. Few of them have been any good, mostly we have seen dross such as Earthsea (2004), Eragon (2006), Seventh Son (2014) and much cheap dvd-released fodder. I settled into Mythica: A Quest for Heroes with low expectations left by the other copycats in the field. I must say that I was gently surprised by what this manages to do and moreover for something that emerges from the even further lowered expectations arena of the Kickstarter-funded fan effort.
The film feels like that someone has set out to bring their love of playing Dungeons and Dragons (1974) to life. It is a film steeped in reference to the set-up and worldview of D&D. The film does rather well with all of the elements I particularly liked the way that the standard inn opening and gathering of the party scene, where just about every D&D game begins, appealingly subverts all of your expectations. One of the other things that works very well is Anne Blacks efforts to make the standard fantasy world seem believable, textured and lived-in from the opening tours of the kitchen to the magic users home and the inn no doubt an inheritance from her previous job as an art director.
The downside of A Quest for Heroes is that it comes with a great, well characterised and vigorous set-up but falls into routine wilderness and monster encounters in the second half once the adventuring actually begins. Here we get encounters with orcs at a lakeside, and a cave with an ogre and some briefly glimpsed giant spiders. The effects and makeup on the creatures in these scenes are good for a low-budget film. On the other hand, these adventures are nothing outstanding. The show wraps up fairly perfunctorily, leaving many aspects most notably the villain Mekru Nom who is built up but then forgotten about without a confrontation no doubt open for future sequels.
The only recognisable name present is Kevin Sorbo, the lead from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1994-9), as the magic user in a single scene appearance near the start. Aside from Sorbo, the only other recognisable name present Adam Johnson who played in the awful Vamp U (2013) and gave an appallingly unserious performance in another Kickstarter-funded sword-and-sorcery effort Dudes and Dragons (2015) is persuaded to give a serious performance and does so well. The rest of the cast are all unknowns but manage to play well, especially Melanie Stone in the lead role. The only amateurish touch seems to be the addition of a score that conducts epic flourishes for what are fairly routine shots of the party crossing fields.