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‘The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box’ Film Review: The curse of bad storytelling

“The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box” fails to gain steam in practically every aspect of production. This lackluster adventure doesn’t seem to put effort in making its supposedly steam-powered and ancient mystery wonders relevant or even entertaining on screen. Sad to say, it is ultimately an amateurish piece not worth spending time on. It may be a top contender for the worst movie of the year.

There simply isn’t a whole lot to expect in this fearless hero’s quest story, which revolves around a teenage boy whose life turns upside down when his parents and younger brother gets kidnapped by powerful, evil men with deadly secrets. He follows a trail of clues to an anomalously majestic hotel where he is introduced to a hidden realm of child-stealing monsters, hidden passages, and strange and dubious hotel employees and guests. He must find a long-lost artifact that grants its master limitless wealth, as well as the power to exterminate anyone in its path. When used by the wrong hands, its devastating supernatural power can readily lead to the end of the world as he knows it. He, alongside an oddball adult ally, risks everything to unravel the mystery behind the missing relic before the evil hotel owner gets hold of it.

The script is so badly written that it puts its young adult source novel to shame. It actually deflates any buoyant value the book promises and it completely slaughters the material with such a terrible rendition.

The front story is slow and joyless. Many scenes are laden with tiring details and loose threads. The storytelling doesn’t try hard to be more than just a plot-engine substitute to quality works from the same genre.

The narrative features that same old evil treasure hunt plot peppered with coincidental and silly plot points, horribly handled characterizations, ridiculously rushed scenes that gradually reveal a lot of unsavory motives, and overly predictable outcomes that are not even mildly entertaining. There is not a single moment to feel that much-needed emotional investment for the supposed fear, anxiety, excitement, or sense of adventure the tale suggests on screen.

Although a few side stories seem intriguing in the beginning, they are never pursued and explored in fun and witty ways. Revelations are always completed too easily and there isn’t a whole lot of excitement generated by the dull speaking lines and bumpy character interactions. Instead of crafting an interesting make-believe world full of fantastic journeys, this ho-hum flick offers nothing but an unbelievable story that seriously throws off cliched and predictable moments throughout its running time.

This dismally directed Victorian adventure showcases a steam punk dazzle to at least elaborately present a fanciful setting where sinister magic and buried treasures and amulets linger. However, a huge chunk of its sequences consistently look so confused and unbecoming with that frenzy over establishing shots and over-explained stories and character details that could have been better rendered using cinema’s audio-visual language.

Annoyingly repetitive actions and lines abound throughout the movie. The poor pacing further sinks the narrative to the abyss. The perfunctory handling obviously doesn’t go far enough in terms of shifting from one genre element to another.

This childishly old-fashioned offering’s average production values don’t really help elevate its presentation’s unsophisticated and inert rip-off demeanor. And so, the seemingly brewing sequel, as seen on its ending, clearly feels so not worth doing, unless the production zealously elevates its vision for it.

The acting performances are just as confused as the script and direction. The actors seem to throw their lines without really understanding their inner conflicts and motivations. There isn’t any coherent moment to strongly define their personalities. They don’t bring even a tinge of a harrowing or exciting experience to any of the proceedings.

Although endowed by a fresh matinee bearing, newcomer Aneurin Barnard as the main character Mariah often appears clueless as he hams his way through his scenes. Michael Sheen as the heroic Charity and Sam Neill as the villain Otto Luger are wasted talents with such worn-out requirements for their roles. They may have the acting chops to add some flair to the tale, but they always have to contend with the loopholes of the troubled screenplay.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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