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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 43: Lord of Illusions

Lord of Illusions
Gimme a "T"!

It's important for movies to know what kind of story they are telling. Lots of movies, especially in horror like to mix genres (see: Dead Heist). While that can make for creative ideas and good intentions, a lot of the time it puts too much focus on one genre and not enough of the other. When this happens, some movies try to cram in the horror towards the end. Movies with big studio backing have the luxury of having longer movies so there isn't a need to rush things. That may be good for some movies, but not for others.

Directed by Clive Barker, Lord of Illusions stars Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise) as private detective Harry D'Amour. In the early 80's, a magically powerful cult leader named Nix (Daniel von Bargen “Seinfeld,” “Super Troopers”). kidnapped a young girl. A group of people, lead by a man named Swann (Kevin O'Connor, “The Mummy,” “Canadian Bacon”). A struggle ensues and the young girl shoots Nix. Swann binds Nix with an iron mask and the bury him in the desert. In present time, Harry goes to Los Angeles to work on an insurance case, but stumbles upon a murder committed by members of Nix's cult. Swann's wife Dorothea hires Harry to work on the murder case. He is soon pulled into a world of intrigue and danger involving the resurrection of Nix. Former members of the group that rescued the little girl, who is revealed to be Dorothea, are dying off and it's up to Harry and Swann to save Dorothea and stop the cult. Will they be able to stop them in time or will Nix really rise from the grave and destroy the world?

 Being shirtless is not an illusion

Lord of Illusions is a mixture of film noir and the supernatural. Kind of like if The Maltese Falcon starred Harry Houdini. Scott Bakula does a fine job, but I never really saw him as a fit for this role. Not to say his character is a tough guy, but it just feels a bit off. I guess it's a compliment to him to say he was convincing. I feel about the same for Daniel von Bargen as Nix. I know him better in his comedic roles from Seinfeld and Super Troopers, so it's hard for me to see him in a threatening role. He handles it well for the most part, but I can't help wondering if someone else may have been a better choice. Again, it's a compliment to his abilities as an actor to be able to be convincing, it's just my bias from seeing him in funny roles.

This movie is close to two hours long and you really feel it. It is unnecessary long and you feel your interest drift in and out. There are enough action and danger scenes throughout to hold your attention, but it's in the slower moments where you find yourself checking your watch. I'm split towards my feelings of special effects in the movie. The make up and traditional effects are pretty good. The early 90's era computer effects are another story. This movie came out before Windows 95, and for those of you who were around then, you know that it couldn't hold a candle to the abilities of computers today. Same thing with the computerized effects in this movie. They're just bad and cause unintentional laughs, which is never good for a horror movie.

"Special" effects

Lord of Illusions has an interesting story and decent execution, but its simply just too long. The acting is good with some entertaining action sequences, but its really just not enough. Boredom will creep in with still plenty of time to go. The traditional special effects are great, but the computerized effects just weren't right at the time and the movie is brought down because of it. If you like detective movies or David Copperfield, this movie is for you.


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