[NOTE: This is a guest review by blogger, author and ‘winner’ of our Sands of Oblivion contest, Larry Ketchersid. All opinions expresses herein are those of Larry and not necessarily those of the management, staff, families or pets of SF Signal. Although they might be. We may even tell if you ask nicely. Due to various technical issues (read- I’m lazy) this review was not posted under Larry’s name but under JP’s. See four sentences above.)]
REVIEW SUMMARY: All that you would expect from a SciFi channel monster movie: hokey special effects, bad acting….but, unlike most, this one had an interesting plot plus stars from TV series Serenity and Charmed.
MY RATING: (2 stars from me, 3 stars from my 17 year old son)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Cecil B. DeMille films The Ten Commandments in the desert around Guadeloupe, California. Mysterious deaths, caused by some kind of curse, cause him to bury the constructed set. Sixty years later, archeologists try to find and move the set because of impending floods, and unearth an ancient Egyptian monster.
PROS: Interesting plot premise, Jayne (Adam Baldwin) and Inara/Adria (Morena Baccarin), an excellent gun-totting redneck retired Army guy as comic relief.
CONS: Special effects reminiscent of Power Rangers or other SciFi Channel monster movies; why is George Kennedy in this movie?;about the worst go-cart chase scene ever; Jayne plays a wussy-man…is there nothing sacred??
BOTTOM LINE: Im glad I didnt pay for it (thanks, SF Signal)but the Egyptian lead in and theme creates an interesting premise; just keep in mind it was free on the SciFi Channel and worth every penny.
My wife enters a lot of contests; last year, she won a trip to the Super Bowl and took me. I told her I won this movie on an SF Signal contest and I’d let her watch it with me to even the score.
After watching it, I’m still in her debt by a large amount and may owe her more.
With stars from Serenity and Charmed, it looked like there was something for the whole family in this movie: science fiction and Anara for me, Adam Baldwin for my wife, and Charmed/Serenity stars for my son (although my son believes Alyssa Milano was the only Charmed star, and his black belt Barbie fixation rivals John’s Summer Glau poetry).
And the premise is interesting and based on some fact. DeMille did film the 1923 version of The Ten Commandments in the sand dunes near the beach in central California. And he did indeed dynamite the massive, realistically built set.
The film opens with a scene in ancient Egypt, with priests doing a chant and soldiers trying to outdo who looks more serious than who. Though it is hard to discern, the priests are apparently trying to capture a malicious spirit/monster (In La Ra, the left hand of Seth/Set, the Egyptian god of chaos and embodiment of evil) into an idol. In La Ra has possessed one of the priests, who then runs into a sandstorm (being the embodiment of InLaRa)…the soldiers launch flaming arrows at the sandstorm and imprison the spirit into the idol. Neat, huh? The priests wear a pendant(the Amulet of Ra) which appears to protect them.
Flash forward to 1923 and DeMille’s film set, where a sleazy set supervisor has the pendant (how did it get from Egypt to sunny California, one wonders?), but runs into the monster with interesting results(how did the monster get there, one wonders further?). A child on the set finds the pendant in the sand, and buries it in his time capsule/treasure box in the sand. DeMille cryptically tells one of his assistants to pull down the set and dynamite it, hiding the evil entity (…at least the dangers contained he says).
Flash forward to present day, where the child who buried the pendant is now George Kennedy, looking for his treasure box in the sand with his grandson (played by Victor Webster, a guy who was on Charmed for a few episodes). Morena Baccarin’s character is also digging there, trying to salvage DeMille’s set before it is washed away. Adam Baldwin’s character is watching the news in a hotel room with a young lady (played interestingly enough by one of the many ladies from Two and A Half Men, which should be classified as science fiction because of the many unbelievable ways Charlie gets the girl). He sees his soon-to-be-ex-wife on the news, and decided he needs to help her out.
George Kennedy and grandson find the treasure box and take out the pendant. Somehow this awakens the beast, and opens a protective room, apparently built by DeMille to keep the evil spirit locked in. George Kennedy’s cameo ends quickly, and other people start dying with low-grade, Halloween-in-your-backyard blood spewing effects. The bulldozer decapitation scene is particularly worth studying.
After this, the movie is just a matter of who dies (quite a few), who gets the girl (not Adam Baldwin, for shame) and how long it takes them to figure out what the ancient Egyptians and DeMille apparently knew and re-imprison the beast. But casting Adam Baldwin as a man-wuss, who runs away while the beast is devouring young college girls? I almost had to cover my eyes.
Our two favorite characters (besides Anara, of course) are Buford, the redneck retired Army guy who has his own arsenal; and Nigel Barrington, played by John Aniston (Jennifers daddy), who is the caretaker of the DeMille museum and who helps bring about the monster’s demise.
Bottom line: enjoyable if you watch it for free and if you keep your expectations in line with SciFi monster movies.