Sunday, December 05, 2004

Librarian a Bore, But Tolerable

I caught TNT's Librarian: Quest for the Spear on TNT tonight (8-10pm EST). It stars Noah Wyle (ER) and features Kyle MacLachlan (Sex and the City, Twin Peaks), Sonya Walger (Coupling, The Mind of the Married Man), Jane Curtin (Our Town, 3rd Rock from the Sun), Kelly Hu (X2, The Scorpion King), David Dayan Fisher (Jerry Bruckheimer's National Treasure), Oscar® winner Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias) and Bob Newhart (Elf, The Bob Newhart Show). Peter Winther (The Tag) directs the cliffhanger written by David Titcher (Around the World in 80 Days).

TNT's Plot Outline:
As THE LIBRARIAN: QUEST FOR THE SPEAR opens, brilliant 30-year-old student Flynn Carsen (Wyle) is kicked out of school by his professor because he believes Carsen, after earning 22 degrees, lacks life experience and thinks it would be a disservice to him to continue on. While Carsen's mother, Margie (Dukakis), is haranguing him about finding love and setting him up on blind dates, Carsen receives a mysterious invitation to interview for a job at the Metropolitan Public Library. After a bizarre but successful interview, Charlene (Curtin) and library head Judson (Newhart) reveal to Carsen the true nature of his job, a secret job that has been around for centuries. He is charged with protecting the greatest treasures of history, which are being kept in a secret section of the building. Among the treasures housed in the library are the Ark of the Covenant, the Mona Lisa (the one in the Louvre being a replica), Pandora's Box and Excalibur, to name a few.

Carsen finds out the job is more than he bargained for when members of the malevolent Serpent Brotherhood (Fisher and Hu) break into the library and steal one of three portions of the Spear of Destiny, an ancient holy relic that grants its owner control over the world's destiny. He must now track down the other two portions to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
First and foremost, the reason I watched this made-for-TV movie is because it stars Noah Wyle and the plot (what little I'd heard) sounded mildly interesting. Why did I finish watching it after the first 60 min.? Well, I'd already watched the first half, it wasn't that bad, the female lead "intrigued me" (read: she's pretty attractive, as is the female baddie), and I honestly had nothing better to do (except perhaps spend another 2 hours in World of Warcraft).

So, my review of the movie? In a word - cheesy. Cheesy as only cheesy can be. Like putting American cheese on a pizza a la Domino's. Cheesy. TV Guide calls it "[a] poky Indiana Jones knockoff" and they're not too far off. Parts of the movie feel very much like an Indie ripoff or, in movie parlance, an homage to the series.

Specifically, I have a number of observations. The few CGI (computer generated images) pieces are overdone and far too clearly fake. Not unlike the green screen portions. Or the fight scenese which, too, are a bit over-the-top and unbelievable. As for the plot/story, it, too, is not a little fake and very predictable. Not completely involving but not uninteresting either. If you can deal with a plot, CGI, fight sequences and a movie of made-for-TV caliber (and not much more), then maybe you won't be disappointed.

Personally, I didn't think it was a bad movie. It wasn't very good but hey, what can you do. I'm glad it starred Noah Wyle as, IMHO, he is well-deserving of good movie roles. Unfortunately, this was not a "good movie role" per se. Nonetheless, it's a step. He himself did a fine enough job acting. It's just everything around him, you know - little things like the plot and budget, that really showed as lacking. I'm hoping that as opposed to holding him back, this movie serves as a stepping stone to better roles, better characters and better movies.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Watcheable. If you want. But not mandatory.