Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Lunch with the Librarian

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IMG_0402Today I followed my friend Domenico’s suggestion, and I watched The Librarian, Quest for the Spear during lunch break, instead of having lunch.
This is a sort of instant review or what.

For the uninitiated, the Librarian franchise is a sort of sneaky, possibly overlooked property that includes three TV movies, a TV series, a book and two comic book series. And it is still going, as far as I am told, which is quite impressive considering how little known it is hereabouts – I don’t know, maybe in the rest of the universe it is a smash hit and on top of everyone’s fave list, but I’m under the impression it’s not.

And that’s a pity, because the first movie has the suave, lightweight tone of an old matinee cartoon or an old cliffhanger.

The basic premise of the whole franchise is: there is a secret society of librarians that have been jumping from planes and dueling dragons for centuries, to keep the world safe from the abuse of magic.
The plots mix ancient mysteries, Indiana Jones-grade archaeology, conspiracy theories and the whole catalog of pulp tropes, down to the bad guys wearing the mark of the snake and all that.
Noah Wyle plays Flynn Carsen, an over-educated and under-experienced geek that gets a job as the new Librarian, and soon finds out his duties involve the above-mentioned jumping from planes to protect the world.

In the first movie, Flynn has to recover the three pieces of the Spear of Longinus from the bad guys.
He is accompanied by Sonya Walger (beautiful) as kick-ass bodyguard Nicole as he travels from the Amazon jungle to the Himalayas with the bad guys in pursuit.
The bad guys are led by Kyle MacLachlan and his sidekick Kelly Hu (you know she is evil because she has blonde extensions in her hair).

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The whole is quite goofy, and predictable too, with a certain feeling of been-there-done-that, but it’s fun anyway – and there are a few laugh-out-loud moments: after all this is the movie that features Bob Newhart’s only fighting scene ever.

una-foto-promo-di-jane-curtin-noah-wyle-e-bob-newhart-del-film-the-librarian-quest-for-the-spear-131411Aimed at a younger audience, this is light fantasy entertainment, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of about it.
The budget is low but well spent, the acting is fine, the scenery acceptable and even the CGI works unobtrusively.
I think a bunch of kids would probably enjoy it quite a bit as an afternoon entertainment, and while I’m not a kid anymore, and by a long shot, I had fun watching it.
Sure, if you like adventure fiction and movies, it will probably feel like watching a chess endgame for an experienced chess player – the moves are predictable, the finale inevitable. But – to mix metaphors – it’s just like listening a cover version by an OK band of a good old classic: nothing to write home about, but fun.

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And the trailer I placed up there gives you a good suggestion: find the movie on DVD, if you are interested, because the DVD features 26 extra minutes of footage compared to the Blue Ray.
Why? I have no idea.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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