Runtime: 100 Minutes
Director: Christian T. Petersen
Starring: Charles Hubbell, Matthew Amendt, Steven Sweere
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Final Score: 7/10
The legate Mag Kiln has been ordered to travel to the small Erenlander town of Blackweir to investigate the disappearance of a fellow priest. There, he soon becomes entangled in an old mystery and begins to uncover not only the forbidden legacy of the town, but also the malevolent, prophetic force that grows within him.
Midnight Chronicles was originally a pilot to a proposed TV show. The show never came about and what is left is a movie that sets up multiple stories, but fails to deliver any resolutions. The overall mystery storyline is intriguing and works well, but many scenes are there to begin different stories that inevitably go nowhere. That isn’t to say they aren’t good. They just don’t get enough attention for a single movie. It’s obvious that more was planned and would have been revealed in the show. But it leaves us with a movie that feel incomplete.
The mystery surrounding the city of Blackweir and the arising events overshadows many of the characters. Because of the story and how much time is needed to explain it fully, we are not given time with characters to become familiar with them. Relationships are implied but no time is spent exploring them. Not all characters are neglected, but when those scenes appear, they end up leaving you wanting more.
The one romantic relationship in the movie is very genuine. It has grown and splintered before we get to see it. The two characters chose different paths in the past. We see that it hurts them and that they want to be together, but neither can stray from their decision. It’s refreshing to see a relationship with cracks in it. It isn’t sappy or cringe worthy. While some of the dialogue is clunky, it still works to makes us feel the connection. And the movie doesn’t make it the characters’ final goals.
Many of the lines in the film are used to explain the story and the lore of the world. Characters are constantly asking questions that are bluntly answered. This is interspersed with the telling of backstories and old deeds. Conversations feel like rehearsed scenes meant to let the audience in on the secrets of the characters and the world. Now there are a few scenes that hit the mark, scenes where characters open themselves up to each other. They are few and far between but are authentic when they appear.
There is only one fight in the movie and it is one of the last scenes. A scene in the middle of the movie does have swords in it, but is mostly a comedic scene that moves the plot forward. This leaves the final fight to hold the banner for the action. It does so adequately. The quick editing is in full force, and for the most part hides the action. But a few shots are long enough to see the swordplay, which is not half bad.
There is nothing special about the music. It fits in with the tone they tried to set, and sticks with it for the most part. It does become noticeable a few times, mostly when the characters who were in a relationship talk to each other. The sad, sappy music tries very hard to get us to feel what the characters are feeling and doesn’t feel warranted.
For a movie based on a role-playing game and produced by a game company, it may come as a surprise that the sets did not look terrible. We are street level in the main city for most of the movie, and there is little to break the tone. Outside shots look natural, and there are some great sweeping shots of the forest. The biggest problem is the sweeping shots of the cities that use CGI. They aren’t terrible but they aren’t perfect either. It isn’t enough to ruin the shots, but they are noticeable.
With a few exceptions, all the costumes are great. The exceptions are the enemy armor. Black leather should look fine, but the design in this movie isn’t great. Mag’s armor looks too big for him and hangs loosely. Then there are the two secondary villains in the movie who look out of place in the city, one is even called out as looking like a pirate.
Magic is minimal, and what is used is subtle and dulled. This helps it look natural when it is shown. The orc makeup is also great. They have a generic orc look but it is done well enough that it doesn’t stand out.
We are given a fantasy world and then are thrust into a mystery movie. It works well. The story never moves away from the fantastical and uses them as part of the plot. While some of the characters and scenes lighten the mood a little bit, it keeps the suspense going until the end.