In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

dungeon_siege.jpgrating-3.5I'll probably keep calling this film Dungeon Siege, because I played the game, anticipated the movie, and really don't like the name they finally pinned on it. It's too long and tells you nothing. But, truthfully, that's one of the only major problems with the film.

Perhaps it's my lessening expectations regarding Uwe Boll's films, but I'm beginning to enjoy what he makes. What you have here is a fairly stock-standard fantasy film, but we haven't had many of those since the early 80's, definitely none above the made-for-Sci-Fi Channel level. (Yes, you can talk about Lord Of The Rings all you want. Fuck those boring movies.) And Dungeon Siege is actually of a decent budget and quality, comparitively-speaking.

The acting, given Boll's direction, is shockingly good. He managed to get a good cast and most of the actors are well above par. They all turn in normal performances that you would see in any other movie, a fact that I shouldn't have to mention were it not an Uwe Boll film. None of the traces of Bloodrayne are on this, moving away from the sheer dullness and plotlessness to actually provide action and attempts to move a story forward, simple and straightforward though it may be. The game Dungeon Siege was a more or less linear, plotless adventure about aquisition and levelling and, while that character grind isn't represented in the film, it does co-opt its simplistic story and its visual elements, a fact that is actually pleasing when filled with rivers and lush forest.

The major flaw of the film, aside from the lightness of the script (which could be considered a non-issue to many fantasy fans), is in the acting of the villains. Ray Liotta, while excellent in gritty modern fare featuring cops and mobsters, isn't cut out for fantasy villainy. He seems a pathetic lightweight and his line delivery varies from shrieking to whining. He sounds totally out of his element and makes you wish they had found some middle aged British stage actor to take the role of head scenery-chewer. For his part, Matthew Lillard tries to make up for it by chewing enough scenery for four Christopher Walkens. Unfortunately, Matthew Lillard is as annoying as he's ever been, making any scene that he's in cringeworthy with his whining and bad overacting. But at least the boy tries.

Boll's direction is, overall, not that bad. The editing is often a bit spotty, but for a totally inept fuck-up, Boll may have created his magnum opus. While the story starts out on a few inexplicable and confusing notes, it manages to get itself back in shape fairly quickly and has limited interruptions of viewer annoyance or confusion. A few questionable decisions, bad edits, and bad performances aside, it's a simplistic and enjoyable fantasy epic the likes of which hasn't really been made since the early 80's, back when they were a dime a dozen and all very low-budget. We forget that, at the time, movies like Beastmaster and Conan The Barbarian were fun, but not particularly honored or appreciated by anyone. Perhaps given time Dungeon Siege will earn some manner of recognition and not just as another awful Uwe Boll film. Though in this age of constant disposable entertainment, that day is hard to imagine even if it might actually be deserved.

Is this move a "good" film? It's all up to your own expectation and interpretation, but that can be said for any film. In my opinion, it's good enough to be enjoyed. It has its faults, but almost all films do, whather we love them or not, and this film only receives the attention and ire it does because Uwe Boll is attached. Because of him or in spite of him, the film got made and is what it is. Love it or hate it, watch it with an open mind.

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