Runtime: 92 minutes
Director: Anne Black
Starring: Melanie Stone, Kevin Sorbo, Adam Johnson
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Final Score: 8.5/10
Stuck in a life of indentured servitude, Marek dreams of becoming a wizard. When she meets the beautiful priestess, Teela, Marek escapes her master and assembles a team of adventurers in an epic journey to help Teela save her sister from a vicious ogre.
In a world reminiscent of any number of RPGs and MMOs, A Quest for Heroes is an homage to the creation of an adventuring party. The plot is kept simple and is used as a device to bring the party together. We watch the characters learn to work together, get to know each other, and ultimately become a party. Throughout the movie we are given hints of other quests that might come back in later movies. The main quest is completed, but those mysteries are left unanswered.
A wizard mentor, a powerful warrior, a charming thief, and an army of orcs; you either love them or hate them. This movie has them all and more. It also has a charismatic main character who brings life to the movie. She is a crippled wizard who wants to become an adventurer. Her character is what draws the other members of the party into the story. Don’t expect completely original characters from this movie. They fall under the archetypes of their class but with personality sprinkled on.
The romance falls into a weird combination of happening too quickly and not fully committing. Neither of the relationships happens at first sight, but there isn’t much interaction before it does. The romance with the main character is set up in an offhand and conversational way but is left to fall away. The second romance is stronger, but comes about much more quickly. Both have their ups and downs, but neither are fully committed by the end of the movie.
No great speech or battle cry is needed at any point in the movie, so nothing ever feels epic, but this doesn’t it. What does is some of the one liners that are spread throughout. It doesn’t break immersion completely and most of the dialogue is serviceable and fits in well with the setting, but they do stand out.
While the fight scenes are still plagued by quick cuts, the actual fighting does not look half bad. That is until the ogre shows up. The ogre and the characters are never on the screen at the same time when the ogre “hits” them. And when a character is hit they roll onto the ground like they were directed to do so.
There is some really nice music in the movie. It creates a sense of fantasy that works with the sets and costumes. The only time it doesn’t work is during the chase scenes. Something about the music feels like it doesn’t belong. It’s too much like music from an action movie. They have to change the music up during those scenes, but that music just doesn’t fit this movie. It’s a small detail when the music is taken as a whole.
An inn was the perfect choice for the movie. Fantasy is known for its inns, and this one fits right in with the rest. Complete with a dwarf bartender and a job board, it feels familiar. This familiar sense follows through the rest of the movie as well. Nothing comes off as modern or too strange. All the sets feel like they fit in this world. Especially the countryside. The locations that they shot keeps the same feeling as the buildings and gives a sense of wildness. We never get to see any of them from above, though. Aerial shots are absent.
There were no bad costumes. The designs were kept toned down with nothing gaudy and made the world feel grim and harsh. It’s practical and worn. The world that these characters live in is not easy to survive and is reflected in their clothes. This doesn’t mean they don’t look good. Characters are given different clothes that make them stand out from each other. They are from different backgrounds and the clothes show this easily.
The movie is filled with special effects. We get orcs, ogres, dwarves, spiders, and a strange mutant ice wolf. And except for less than perfect CGI, it is amazing. The magic also had very little wrong with it. Multiple characters are magic users and use magic throughout the movie. It’s not subtle either. Some of it is, simple glowing lights or magic visions. But other magic is not subtle at all, like the giant fire snake, for example.
If there was a checklist for fantasy movies, this one would nearly be complete. Orcs and wizards, rangers and warriors, priests and dwarves, everything you think about when someone says fantasy. There are a few scenes that stand out, but overall this movie is perfect for transporting you to a completely different world. And that is what fantasy is for.