Minotaur

MinotaurPLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

As a voice-over narrator recounts, long ago in the Iron Age a shadow loomed over the lonely village of Thena. Every three years, eight village youths are stolen from their families to the capital of the Minos’ Empire and placed in the underground labyrinth to be a sacrifice to the Minotaur, the Minoan god. Theo, haunted by the loss of his love, Fion, in an earlier sacrifice, is convinced by a leprous prophetess that the beast is not a deity and that his love still lives within the labyrinth. His father Cyrnan, the village leader, tries to reason with Theo not to go, intending to selfishly remove his son from the village as before in order to preserve his family’s legacy as village chieftains. But Theo, intend on saving Fion, smuggles himself in between seven other youths to be sacrificial lambs in order to reach and kill the Minotaur.

Along with his fellow captives, Tyro (a young man hostile to Theo because of his “privilege” of exemption from the sacrifice), Danu (Theo’s best friend), Morna (Danu’s love interest), Didi (Tyro’s love interest), Vena, Ziko and Nan, Theo is placed in the labyrinth by King Deucalion, where the youths are stalked and slaughtered one by one by the Minotaur. However, Theo is aided by Deucalion’s sister and unwilling lover, Queen Raphaella, who reveals that her mother gave herself to bestiality to create a living god, the Minotaur. As the Minotaur grew, so did its appetite when it murdered Deucalion’s brother, resulting in the human sacrifices to appease the Minotaur while ensuring Minos’ survival. The youths also meet Turag, a single youth from an earlier sacrifice who has managed to elude the Minotaur so far, but has become slightly insane over the years; from him Theo learns that Fion had initially escaped the Minotaur’s hunger but since died of poison gas.

Along the way, Theo discovers that the labyrinth is connected to an underground natural gas vent. When the Minotaur threatens to kill Theo, Tyro sacrifices himself as an act of redemption. Theo tempts the Minotaur into attacking him, and in the process the Minotaur breaks its left horn, but continues to charge after Theo. As Theo runs back towards the gas vent, he scratches the walls with Fion’s iron amulet and generates a spark that ignites the whole labyrinth, and dives into a pond of water where Raphaella was waiting for him. They emerge from the water as the flames die out, but the beast is still alive and attempts to charge at them again. Theo takes the monster’s broken horn from the rubble from where the vent was, and just as the beast attempts to kill him, stabs the Minotaur through the mouth; the monster continues charging until it hits a collapsed rock formation, which drives the horn through the Minotaur’s head and finally kills it.

Theo and Raphaella collect their fellow survivors – Morna and Turag – and leave the collapsing labyrinth. Once out, they find Deucalion near death from the gas explosions, which have made the palace collapse as well, and Raphaella smothers him to death, ending the cycle of fanatism. Morna, now revealed to be the narrator from the film’s beginning, finishes the tale with how the Minos’ empire faded with the death of the Minotaur, and how Theo himself became a legend for killing the monster.

REVIEW:

In my limited knowledge of films, I have noticed that there is a severely underused genre, mythology. Yes, there are films about the likes of Hercules, Odysseus, Achilles, and the like, but when it comes to the gods and mythological creatures, we seem to be lacking, save for a handful of exceptions. Apparently, SyFy channel noticed this and brought Minotaur.

What is this about?

Lionhearted youth Theo is heartbroken over the death of his lover Ffion, a sacrifice to the vicious Minotaur monster. When Theo hears that Ffion is still alive, he plots to infiltrate the Minoan palace where the beast lives and rescue his beloved.

What did I like?

Minotaur. Perhaps one of the top 5 creatures in Greek mythology is the Minotaur, and yet, I don’t believe we ever get the chance to see him on film, even in animated form. Luckily, some filmmaker had the brilliant idea to give this magnificent creature its due by featuring it in its own film. True, we rarely see the beast, but its better than nothing, right?

Bane. Tom Hardy was still working his way up in Hollywood when this was released. His star power is obvious, yet unrefined. Also, he’s a wee bit tiny. Then again, the last thing I saw him in was The Dark Knight Rises where he played the monstrous figure of Bane. I was really impressed with how he handled this less than stellar material, though. I guess because he was still a “starving artist” at this time and put everything he had into whatever he could get, but it did show the guy’s real talent.

SFX. We’ve all at least seen clips of the kind of stuff that passes for SyFy special effects. These things are so cheesy looking that you need some wine to go with them. This film, unlike it counterparts, doesn’t follow suit and actually has somewhat decent effects. Well, decent for SyFy, anyway.

What didn’t I like?

Incest is best. There is some implied sexual relation between brother and sister. Given this savage time, incest wasn’t really such a taboo thing, but nowadays it is thought to bring about inbred rednecks. I don’t really have a problem with them putting the incestual hint in here, but if they were going to go through with that angle, then they should have went with it, rather than hinting at it.

Minotaur. For a creature that is supposed to be intimidating and evil incarnate, I sure wasn’t impressed with it. This thing looked like it was a little kid wearing its big brothers athletic equipment. They should have made this thing look bloodthirsty, savage, feral, brutal, and any other adjective that I can’t think of right now.

Pacing. The action was pretty good, but the pacing in this thing was horrible. No, there wasn’t really that much exposition, at least any more than a normal action drama, but when there is no action happening it slows down to a near halt with conversations and such that the audience doesn’t really care about.

For a cheaply made film, Minotaur is actually not half bad. Syfy did a pretty nice job with what they had, but this didn’t knock it out of the park like their other projects Tin Man, Neverland, and, to a lesser extent, Alice. Still, it is far superior to all those shark movies they keep churning out. So, do I recommend this? I suppose, but only because there aren’t many films about mythological creatures, so you take what can get. Tread with caution!

3 out of 5 stars

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