Ok, I went into this not really knowing anything about the comic from TokyoPop. So I was hoping I’d have the benefit of nothing to compare it to. However, when you see Priest, you’ll find lots to compare it to, anyway. Like, sleep.
Ok, I went into this not really knowing anything about the comic from TokyoPop. So I was hoping I’d have the benefit of nothing to compare it to. However, when you see Priest, you’ll find lots to compare it to, anyway. Like, sleep. And a slew of movies that use a monochromatic color scale and then add monsters. Hello? Is that you, Underworld?
A priest, played by Paul Bettany, disobeys church law by going out to hunt the vampires that captured his niece. Of course the church says the vampire menace is gone because they think they defeated them all in the big war between humans and vampires. And you know, the church can get all uppity about itself and not see things clearly. Priest finds out there’s still vampires out there and there’s even a human vampire leading them around. Turns out that human vampire is an ex-priest. Bummer.
I can’t really get over how uninteresting this film was. It all SEEMED like it might be good. I mean, the acting is competent, the action is decent, and the vampire creatures are thankfully different than the sparkly bullshit vampires traipsing through movies these days. But alas, it’s all either not particularly unique, or the stuff just doesn’t have enough depth to make me give a shit. From what I’ve seen of the comic, there are some changes in the film. Comic: set in the American West; more demons and angels, more horror. Movie: set in the future, barely notice the Western motif; just vampires, more action. Sound like it might have been more compelling to stay truer to the comic.
Bettany is fine. Perfectly adequate. And this is a better movie than that Legion thing he was in. Ugh. Maggie Q plays one of the other priests (Priestess) in this and she’s fine, too. And pretty. There’s a bit of romantic tension between her and Priest that only gets one mention and then goes nowhere, like a lot of things in this movie. The magical Brad Dourif is in this as a huckster trying to sell some townsfolk holy water and stuff. Then he gets a scene that shows him making a deal with our human vampire, Black Hat, played by Karl Urban. Then Dourif gets bitten and we never see him again, despite the fact that we know he’s still alive. Random.
And Karl Urban, who I like as an actor, plays this villain way too straight. Like Kevin Spacey’s turn as Lex Luthor, Urban chooses to underplay this nefarious role instead of really taking advantage and making the most of an under-written character. Too bad. Of all the potential here, this is where it could have shined. But as it is, he’s just kinda average. I was happy to see, albeit briefly, Madchen Amick here. She still looks gorgeous. Christopher Plummer is the typical narrow-minded Monsignor that can’t see the coming doom even though it’s right in his face. Oh, and Priest’s niece is played by Lily Collins. She’s ok in this and she’s beautiful. AND she’s drummer Phil Collin’s daughter! WTF?!
The vampire creatures, although refreshingly different and vicious, also suffer from being utterly uninteresting. The very thing that I like, is what makes them two dimensional. The CG is pretty decent, but without any significant concern for anyone, they just kinda exist. And there isn’t really much gore other than one wonderful scene. And once again, the color palette consists of dark blue-gray in the city and various shades of beige in the desert outside the city. The fact that Priest is supposed to be a sci-fi western is mildly apparent. Mostly due to the beige desert and the use of a big train.
And because I happen to see it in 3-D, I’ll mention it. Started out with a few good moments, then I eventually forgot it was even in 3-D. Please stop with the 3-D. Please.
Priest is the kind of movie you watch on cable on a rainy day when you can only muster the strength to get to the remote and lie down again. In that context, 2 and a half kittenhands. If you make the effort to pay for it then only 2 kittenhands.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, feeling like this should have been released in March or April, or waited until Fall.