Journey to Promethea (2010)

A dull and pointless sword and sorcery fantasy from Dan Garcia, featuring Billy Zane. 4 Digital Media UK R0 DVD.

The Film

In a distant land, the people of an ancient tribe are subjugated by the evil King Laypach (Billy Zane) who condemns them to wonder the forests endlessly. A hero rises among them and kills many of the king's soldiers but is eventually captured and killed. He prophesises that his legacy will live on in another; a decade later the King sends men out to find this threat to the realm, while the future champion of his people escapes from the captivity and finds a tutor in the forests...

Independent film maker Dan Garcia proudly credits himself as writer, director and producer of Journey to Promethea, so he can take full blame for this painfully dull attempt to make a sword and sorcery tale in what seems to be nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Lord of the Rings films and follow the route of the Uwe Boll In the Name of the King series. In fact the forest locations seem like a late alteration to a script that seems more suited to a desert based story (there are numerous references to the tribes 'wandering the wilderness'). The half hearted fantasy setting is never developed beyond cliché genre traits and characterisation is all but non-existent.

With only enough storyline to fill a thirty minute television show, with advert breaks, the script feels interminably padded out, with tremendously extended (and horribly written) dialogue scenes that do nothing to move the storyline along and a largely unnecessary subplot with a princess trying to find the hero that could be completely removed without loss to the story and seems to be nothing more than an excuse to show some half-clad women walking around in costume. This is the limit of the film's exploitation credentials however and despite bevvies of nubile women in the court scenes and the Princess' retenue, there is no nudity and only minimal bloody effects that might have at least made the film endurable.

Although Garcia is obviously working with a small budget, the location shoots look unusually cheap - despite a few token and very grainy stock shots of wide forests, the locations never feel like anything more than a Louisiana forest park. Although the occasional CGI shots are terrible, there are a few surprisingly decent looking make-up effects, even if the randomly deformed characters are rather gratuitous. Costumes are a weird mix of medieval and historic that do not seem to follow any particular trend. For a first time director, Garcia's work is perfectly decent (if unremarkable) for the most-part, but he trends towards choppy editing and shaky-cam during the action scenes that make these scenes hard to follow.

Billy Zane is top billed as the King and certainly seems to be enjoying himself in a number of scenery-chewing cameos. Louis Hethum (The Last Exorcism (2010)) gives a decent turn as a mentor but otherwise the acting ranges from listless to plain terrible.

Feeling more like the home videos of a group of Live Action Role Players, combined with the non-nude scenes from Lord of the G-Strings (2003), Journey to Promethea is a dull and pointless sword and sorcery film with no adventure or excitement and none of the unintentional comedy or gratuitous exploitation that at least makes the earlier Italian genre films so enjoyable. Pass.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Billy Zane - best known for his parts in The Phantom (1996) and Titanic (1997)
Directed by anyone interesting? Dan Garcia - an American independent film maker who also directed the poorly reviewed horror film Terror Trap (2010) and interminable "thriller" The Secret Enemy (2010)
Any gore or violence ? Several CGI bloody deaths, no real gore.
Any sex or nudity? None.
Who is it for? Only of interest to dedicated sword and sorcery collectors.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - xxx anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
A clean digital print, no transfer issues.
Audio English stereo - no problems.
Subtitles None
Extras None
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Available in the USA from Phase 4 Films. Available on Blu-Ray in Germany, although without English options.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print language is English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 29th January 2015.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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