I recently saw Midnight Chronicles and was quite impressed.
I believe that the story achieved what the writers intended, to introduce the setting of Midnight as a launching point for other stories. The special effects were effective. Not great, but good. The images gave enough sense of realism to carry the story.
For the most part, the acting was well done. While some of Chuzara’s dialog seemed a bit stiff and Gaelen’s emotions were a bit dry, Steve Sweere and Richard Ooms (in both roles) were quite impressive. As far as a stand out performance, it is a tough call. Charles Hubbell did an outstanding job as the lead antagonist, Mag Kiln. However, Sam Landman’s flamboyant portrayal of the gluttonous Kruce was also a favorite. I would like to see both of them in more.
I hope see more Midnight Chronicles. It may not have been a blockbuster, but was definitely better than some the movies and series I’ve seen on Sci Fi…Sorry, Sy Fy (it’s a stupid name change).
I would like to see more critical comments. What did you think?
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Think it was PT Barnum who said "always leave em wanting more". I WANT MORE! I just hope we don't have another 4 year wait for the next installment. My only critique would be a need for better fight coreography, but I digress as it wasn't really required for the story being told.
Not sure what kind of budget they had for this but I hope they make enough profit to do a second one. And SyFy (whatever, yes it was a dumb needless name change) should air this to make up for some of the stuff they made us suffer through (Mutant Chronicles most recently, not bad just not overly good).
Chuzara’s dialog did seem a bit stiff in the beginning - but got a bit better later in the movie. I loved the character however. I hope we get more too!
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My overall impression is that the FFG team, actors, production crew, everyone, did an outstanding, fantastic job. This indie movie (by a game company, no less!) is head and shoulders above 85% of most of the fantasy movies that have come out recently, particularly the drivel that gets served up on the Sci-Fi channel (I refuse to use their new acronym). Given a limited budget, FFG did a bang up job. Yes, the special effects weren't awesome but they served the story line and when needed they were more than adequate--again much better by far than most of what you see on the Sci-Fi channel movies. The important thing was the story and the acting, and here both were gripping enough to get me and keep me involved and caring about what was happening. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the production. I felt I got my money's worth with this DVD and will watch it more than once for sure.
From a critical standpoint, well, some of the acting was a bit wooden in places, but not overly so. The main characters were uniformly excellent, I felt. I would have liked more color in the film; everything is filmed in an ongoing twilight which became boring after awhile, but then I rationalized that the land is under the Shadow after all. And it looks like it as if the skies are always overcast. The Elf character could have been more strongly drawn and played, as could have been the young human hero. The biggest problem for me was with the storyline: there were gaps in the story and the editing was sometimes too jerky from one scene to another; that is, the storyline jumped between different characters and plotlines too suddenly and quickly in places, leaving me scratching my head as to just what was going on. A little more back story or character development would have been appreciated. Someone well acquainted with the Midnight RPG probably would have filled in the gaps easily and automatically, but as someone who had never played the game, i sometimes found myself struggling to comprehend some of the plot lines and nuances. Some of the main characters and their motivations were not clearly explained. The script writing was good, but not excellent and could have been improved (but as I say, it was still better than 85% or even 90% of most of the so-called fantasy films we see, particularly on the sci-fi channel).
And this led to my greatest disappointment. I didn't realize that this was a pilot movie at first, the beginning of a series. When the film's over, there are so many loose ends and unexplained plot points that I felt momentarily cheated and let down. I realized I was expecting a movie experience, that is, a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end (even if that end opens the door to more sequels) but this one ended with several cliffhangers and with characters left up in the air. It was like the introduction to a role playing campaign, leaving to the viewer to tell the rest of the story.
I know that there will be subsequent movies that will continue the story line (and as a previous poster said, I hope I don't have to wait 4 years for the next one to come out). Keeping in mind that this is an introduction and not a complete movie, though, it does very well what it is intended to do.
Given that this is a first time effort by a group of people most of whom had no previous experience making movies, the whole thing put together by a game company, I have to give this production high marks. It came out much better than I expected it would. One important factor in its favor is that it is made by gamers, people who truly understand, respect and love the fantasy genre and thus do their best to see that a fantasy movie is honored in the same way. The love and care shows in this production as well as the enthusiasm of its makers. FFG and Christian can hold up their heads proudly with this film. I look forward eagerly to their next productions and hope they go beyond the Midnight setting. Twilight Imperium the Movie anyone? And we've yet to see a really good Chthulu movie. I think after such a promising first step, the sky's the limit for FFG media.
I've just rewatched Midnight Chronicles for the fourth time. This movie is so good it makes me feel bad for paying money for other, unrelated DVDs I didn't even finish watching. I sure hope FFG will revitalize the Midnight setting somehow (a custom Shadowrun-like system would be perfect, but I'd welcome even a 4e incarnation as long as it would mean more Midnight).
The bad: no news of a sequel.
Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear - whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can.
My understanding is that the original plan was for a series to be made and this film was the pilot. I think there is a market for it (legend of the Seeker seems to be doing ok). I guess it will depend on DVD sales as to whether a TV channel will option it - fingers crossed.
I started watching this movie at GenCon in '08, and frankly it didn't really appeal to me. Does anyone know if the movie was edited based on that premier of the film, or is the current DVD version the same one they showed in '08.
"A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits"
The feeling I got from the movie was that this was a really good play that was brought into my own personal media room.
While I was entertained well enough, I would use the movie more as a primer for the Midnight campaign setting rather than as a title chosen for movie night.
This is not to say that I do not wish to see more, because as a first shot at a film project by folks who were relatively inexperienced with such, I think any movies to follow would be much better caliber due to how much learning they went through and because you can really tell that this project was a labor of love for many involved.
Also, rather than elevate one person in particular, no matter their role, further and further up onto a pedestal far and above all others involved in the project which tends to happen in the business world, personally I would like to see more real appreciation go toward all the unsung heroes in the project. It is the inclusive sweat and toil of these folks which allow such person to enjoy such accolades as I am sure that there are many who worked just as hard for far less reward or career advantage in this project as well as other projects produced by the company.
Izrador, even a god such as he, would still be insignificant if it wasn't for the bent over backs and supporting shoulders that he stands upon.
Thanks for the reviews. I'm interested, but money is so tight that I want to spend what I can on actual games. Glad to hear it's worth watching.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. - Douglas Adams
(kaleljorson7 on boardgamegeek.com)
How would any of you compare this to the "typical" Fantasy movie?
Does it hold its own against things like :
Conan the Barbarian?
The Sword & The Sorceress?
Hawk the Slayer?
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God?
Just to list a few...
Some of these movies are betetr than others, and I wouldn't expect it to defeat Conan or Jackson's Lord of the Rings...but is it in a class just below?
Because that's good enough for me :)
I'm a sucker for Fantasy films...
Midnight Chronicles, in my opinion, is immeasurably better than either D&D movie (the second being only "less bad" in my opinion that the first), although that's hardly saying much. This movie is also better by far than the vast majority of other fantasy movies, aside from LotR, Conan-caliber stuff.
I bought the iTunes version, because after previewing all of the "free" stuff I could about the film beforehand - gunshy of fantasy movies as I am - I wanted to see it right away.
I was NOT disappointed - quite the opposite. So I also bought the dvd, which I'm minutes away from introducing to a buddy even as I type this.
Now, I'm no expert in the subtleties & nuances of film-making, so I can't comment on the technical aspects. I just know - and am extremely pleasantly surprised - that this movie, far from "sucking," actually kicks some ass.
In the name of all that is good and right, more needs to be done - as promised on the dvd insert(!!!) - in the Midnight setting.
Could write more, but my buddy's here and there are Midnight Chronicles to experience! BOOM!!!
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