DVD REVIEW: NIGHTSCAPE: THE DARK REIGN OF THANATOS

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02.24.2013

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MSRP $16.98

RATED Not Rated

STUDIO Reality Entertainment

RUNNING TIME 95 Minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES

-Making of featurette

-Trailer

The Pitch

A fantasy blockbuster made on an indie-movie budget that manages to achieve its intent for better or worse.

The Humans

Henry Amphlett, Tania Baressi, Julian Lamoral-Roberts, Robin Schnepp, Sam Stevenson, Sam Wells

The Nutshell

Upon creating the earth, the great god Zelos grew weary and forged in his image two sons, Aevum and Thanatos, to uphold his kingdom and ensure its longevity. As time progressed, so did the intentions of the two sons. The second, Thanatos, poisoned himself against the will of his brother and turned to blackness and evil for answers. From this new hatred, the darkness bore a final battle to end the rule of either son for their father lay dormant, undisturbed and unaware of his failing hopes. Years later, Thanatos threatens the very existence of our world, but something is still preventing him from total domination as the future of all humanity lies in the balance.

“Hey! Could you two assholes keep it down? The Kurgan is trying to menace Connor McLeod up here!”

The Lowdown

Nightscape: Dark Reign of Thanatos is a student film made by Tim Osgood and Dom Lenoir, two students of the University of Plymouth. Their self-proclaimed goal was to make a big-budget fantasy blockbuster similar to Lord of the Rings on the micro-budget of two film students.

As they tell it, the filmmakers had to beg borrow and steal to get this movie made. Surprisingly their work seems to have paid off in a big way here. From acting, to staging, to visual effects, everything here works remarkably well for what it is. Fight scenes are well choreographed, scenes are shot dynamically, the sound dubbing is pretty decent considering the makers didn’t have access to a professional sound studio. If this is what they can make on basically nothing I look forward to seeing what they could do with an actual budget.

It’s only a model

However, while Nightscape is interesting, it’s not a very good movie. Almost all of these problems lie within the story. Basically two brothers with powerful magic are at odds. Thanks to an unfaithful student the good brother is killed. We then flash to the present where a prophecy is coming to fruition: the forces of darkness are looking for the reincarnation of the good sorcerer and the forces of good have their hope resting in the hope of a comic book creator who think he’s dreaming about a magical fantasy world that he’s actually reliving old memores. It’s… not terribly original.

In capturing the feel of a big fantasy movie, Nightscape manages to feel like so many soul-less fantasy movies like Dungeons and Dragons or Beowulf. The plot is extremely derivative and while the movie is eminently watchable, it’s doesn’t bring a lot of enjoyment.

Make no mistake, I’m not going for backhanded compliments here. The film-makers have managed to make something amazing using what little tools they have at hand. I’m going to make a point to see if their names pop up in the future because they have a lot of potential and as their Evil Dead/El Mariachi/Equinox it’s a good first effort, but as a stand-alone movie it’s lacking in a few important areas that would make owning this worthwhile. These guys are going to go far but this movie is destined to be a cult curiosity that people look back on after they’ve achieved some manner of success.

Hey, guess who’s seen 300!

The Package

My disc is a screener so I don’t know how the special features are on the actual DVD release. My disc has a short “featurette” (actually just the creator sitting in a chair talking about the movie) and a trailer for the film.

Rating:
★★½☆☆

Out of a Possible 5 Stars



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