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Minotaur

"Minotaur" somehow lost the plot amid its labyrinth of 19 producers. Laudable attempt to get away from the bright, clean look of sword-and-sandal mini-epics of yore goes to the other extreme, with almost the whole DV-shot movie tinted, color-corrected or shot in lugubrious interiors and set in an Ancient Greece where the sun never shines.

A dreary reinterpretation of the Theseus myth in realistic, Iron Age terms, multi-country co-prod “Minotaur” somehow lost the plot amid its labyrinth of 19 producers. Laudable attempt to get away from the bright, clean look of sword-and-sandal mini-epics of yore goes to the other extreme, with almost the whole DV-shot movie tinted, color-corrected or shot in lugubrious interiors and set in an Ancient Greece where the sun never shines. Horror addicts will doubtless search this one out on ancillary, where its biggest market resides.

Eight youths from Thena, a village in the southern Peloponnese, are regularly carted off to Crete for sacrifice to a bloodthirsty monster. The so-called Minotaur is the fruit of a union between a bull and the queen (Shiva Gholamianzadeh) of pleasure-loving Minos.

When another batch of youths is required, Theo (Tom Hardy, colorless), son of village leader Cyman (Rutger Hauer), questions the whole process. He’s exempt from the fresh-meat quota, but he still grieves over his g.f., Ffion (Donata Janietz), who was in the last group.

When Theo hears Ffion is still alive, he disobeys dad’s orders and joins the new shipment. However, a diversion awaits him in the form of the sexy Raphaella (Aussie actress Michelle Van Der Water), a Minoan princess who wants protection from her brother, the king.

Perfunctory dialogue fails to make much of the palace drama on arrival in Crete, and film only belatedly gets going once Theo & Co. descend into the Labyrinth. Though the Minotaur itself is disappointing after all the build-up, f/x are passable. However, the general murkiness makes it difficult to follow the action, even if one really cared about the cardboard characters.

Transfer to 35mm is OK, though DV origins are always obvious. Exteriors were shot in Wales, interiors in Luxembourg studios.

Minotaur

U.K.-Luxembourg-Germany-France-Spain-Italy-U.S.

  • Production: A Lionsgate Films release of a First Look Media presentation, in association with Lions Gate Entertainment, of a Meltemi Entertainment (U.K.)/The Carousel Picture Co. (Luxembourg)/CMW Film Co. (Germany)/Telema (France)/KanZaman (Spain)/Buskin Film (Italy) production, in association with Scion Films, Double Edge Entertainment. (International sales: First Look Intl., Los Angeles.) Produced by Kim Barnes, Tom Reeve, John Evangelides. Executive producers, Peter Block, Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman, Romain Schroder, Daniel J. Walker, Bjorg Veland, Andrew J. Curtis, Bobby Sheng, Evan Astrowsky. Co-producers, Charles Gassot, Antonio Guadalupi, Roberto Bessi, Denise O'Dell, Mark Albela, Christoph Meyer-Wiel, Eda Kowan. Directed by Jonathan English. Screenplay, Nick Green, Stephen McDool, based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Nic Morris; editor, Eddie Hamilton; music, Martin Todsharow; production designer, Anja Mueller; art director, Keith Slote; costume designer, Suzannah Harman; sound (Dolby Digital), Nick Stocker; special visual effects, Double Edge Digital; special creature effects, Gary Pollard; special make-up effects, Hybrid; stunt, special effects supervisor, Ricky Wiessenhaan; casting, David Hall. Reviewed at Filmtheater Hackesche Hoefe, Berlin, Feb. 12, 2006. (In Brussels Fantastic Film Festival; also in Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 91 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Tom Hardy, Michelle Van Der Water, Tony Todd, Lex Shrapnel, Jonathan Readwin, Rutger Hauer, Maimie McCoy, Lucy Brown, James Bradshaw, Fiona Maclaine, Claire Murphy, Ingrid Pitt, Ciaran Murtagh, Angela Furtado, Donata Janietz, Shiva Gholamianzadeh, Stefan Weinert. (English dialogue)
  • Music By: