Monday, January 12, 2015

Movie Review: The Librarian - Return to King Solomon's Mines

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, sense of fun, characters
Cons: Climax over the top with bad effects
The Bottom Line:
Climax doesn’t fit
Otherwise enjoyable
Entertaining film

“It’s Best to Not Use Water Analogies with Poseidon’s Trident.”

Since TNT has a marathon of their made for TV Librarian trio of movies last month, I’ve been trying to find time to watch them.  Instead, I spent most of December concentrating on Christmas movies.  But now I’m catching up with the second in the series, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines.  It was a lot of fun, although the ending was very over the top.

This movie picks up a year after the previous one and Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) is definitely settling into his new job.  He’s gotten some more action experience under his belt to go with his head knowledge, and the result is a man who can get himself out of as much trouble as he gets himself into.  At least most of the time.

It also happens to be his birthday, and he receives a mysterious package in the mail.  When it is then stolen, Judson (Bob Newhart) makes the connection from what Flynn remembers to the legend of King Solomon’s Mines, the place he stored his greatest wealth as well as a book that could destroy mankind.  Flynn’s first stop is an archeological dig where he unintentionally picks up Emily Davenport (Gabrielle Anwar), a woman obsessed with the Queen of Sheba.  With a band of people who want that book on his tail, can Flynn find the mine and escape again?

I’ve got to say this movie was lots of fun.  Flynn is still awkward and geeky at times, but he is much more confident overall.  There were lots of one-liners, and I really enjoyed them.

The story was pretty good as well and allowed us the opportunity to learn a little more about Flynn.  No word on what happened to his love interest from the first film, but the series did have a habit of casting love interests before they landed visible TV gigs (Sonya Walger was playing the recurring character of Penny Widmore on Lost by this point and Gabrielle Anwar would go on to star in Burn Notice the next year.)  There was plenty of action and twists along the way to keep me interested.

The acting was top notch as well.  This may be a made for TV movie, but everyone gave it their best efforts.

However, the lack of budget definitely showed up in the special effects needed for the climax.  Yes, I know they were low budget, but they were fairly laughable.  We’re talking obvious CGI here.

Frankly, the climax overall was my biggest problem with the entire thing.  I know they were going for a big Indiana Jones finish (that’s still the best comparison to these movies), but it felt over the top for what had come before.  I definitely would have liked to see it toned down a few notches.  And there is a question left unanswered at the end of the movie, although I didn’t really think about it at the time.

As I watched, I had to throw anything I knew from the Bible out the window.  This is built purely on legend, and I know it has no basis in fact.  So just go with the flow and enjoy.

Despite the weak ending, this movie still provides plenty of entertainment.  If you are looking for a popcorn flick on a made for TV budget, you’ll be glad you watched The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines.

(Oh, and speaking of Indy, Flynn found the Crystal Skull a couple of years before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theaters.)

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