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Minotaur (2006)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Director:
Jonathan English Jonathan English
Starring:
Tom Hardy Tom Hardy
Michelle Van Der Water Michelle Van Der Water
Tony Todd Tony Todd
Lex Shrapnel Lex Shrapnel
Jonathan Readwin Jonathan Readwin

3.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Adventure, Creature Film, Fantasy Adventure, Mythological Fantasy
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 22, 2007
So, I saw this one in Blockbuster one day and figured what the hell. Rated R for violence and nudity and it featured one Tony Todd, a man with one hell of a reputation. Plus, I grew up a huge fan of Greek mythology. What could go wrong?

An old woman is narrating the tale of the empire of Minos. They have dominated all of Greece, giving all of their worship and praise to the bull god. Tired of worshiping mere statues, it was decided that the queen of Minos would lie with the bull and mother a living god. Far across the sea, the small town of Thena was being punished for the murder of a prince; every three years eight youths were taken to be fed to the bull god, the minotaur. The fifth sacrifice was approaching and the chief's son, Theos, was still grieving for the loss of his fiance, Fion, taken in the last sacrifice. Being the heir to the village, he is hidden during the raids and kept out of harm's way. However, still reeling with guilt and grief, a local leper tells him that Fion is still alive and he leaps at the chance to have his love back. Sneaking himself among the eight chosen he finds himself among his best friend and his girlfriend, two villagers who scorn him for being kept safe and three other women. As they are being transported to Minos, he reveals that he is planning on killing the beast. Though the other's think him insane for trying to kill a god, they realize that they don't have much of a choice. Arriving at the castle, they are met by the King and his sister/wife, Raphaella, who begin a grand ceremony using a flammable, aphrodisiacal sedative that is released through a vent by his throne. Before the group are thrown in the labyrinth, Raphaella reveals that she needs Theo to save her by slaying the beast.

What can go wrong indeed. Jesus, was this a boring movie. Although on paper it's seemingly well paced, these people don't have a bit of chemistry between them which causes the whole thing to drag. During the beginning when we're learning about Theo's loss and Tyro's spite, you really don't give a damn. Even after they've entered the labyrinth and they begin some rather severe in-fighting, you just can't care about these people. Nothing about their performance was ever able to grab you, and the plot itself doesn't help this. There's a decently large group of people thrown in here and we know they all have a very deep and personal background together, but since we never explore it at all everything seems so shallow. Also contributing to the low entertainment factor are the kills itself. It's a bull creature, so our short-sighted movie makers here have decided that repeated horn impalements would get the job done nicely. Obviously, this doesn't cut it. Despite one solitary kill, the rest left you tired of them before they even began.

Speaking of which, the minotaur itself looked horrible. For the small handful of you that didn't grow up reading Greek mythology, the minotaur was a huge creature with the legs and head of a bull and the torso of a human. This was not a minotaur. This was a giant, demonic bull-esque creature. It ran around on four legs and looked like something out of a Resident Evil game. It was brought to life by a mixture of CGI and a giant puppet for the close ups of its head. After a good ten minutes of thinking on the subject, I can't decide which one looked worse.

But it's not a total loss through right? I mean, Tony Todd was in it! When does Tony Todd ever disappoint? Sadly, that day has come to pass. At first, he was up to his typical par in his role as the king. Quiet, creepy, powerful. However, it turns out there's a reason the man is typecast into this role. After some conflict with his queen, the character begins to lose his quiet charisma and starts to lose his mind. Apparently, he was not the actor needed to portray this humanization, because when put into these situations he becomes quite a tragic victim of overacting, to a laughable degree. When in his element, Tony Todd is one of the most sinister presences on screen, however he withers pretty badly when venturing into other realms.

Something else I have to touch on; this movie takes a huge amount of liberty with the story it's based on. And while this may not seem like a big deal being as common place as it is in the movie business, since I'm such a fan of the source material this flaw is amplified quite a bit. First off, the entire intro is flat out wrong. Greeks didn't worship animals they worshipped a series of gods. As punishment from one of these gods, the queen falls in love with one of her husband's bulls and under cover of darkness consumates her shameful lust. When the creature is born her motherly instincts forbids her from killing it so it is locked in the labyrinth. These 'artistic changes,' combined with the complete retooling of the creature itself, bugged me quite a bit.

When the credits roll, it's a blessing from the gods. Not once through its ninety minute running time could I ever honestly say I cared about these people, and that makes ninety minutes quite a long time. The story I wanted to see wasn't there, nor was the creature I wanted to see. The entire ending is predictable and poorly laid out. This is really nothing more than a shitty b-movie whose entire existence will only be known by a small handful of unhappy people. We're talking about a film so bad that not even Tony Todd and random lesbian making out could save it. Stay away from this one. 2.5/10
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