Mythica: The Darkspore
Directed by: Anne K. Black
A short while ago, I had the pleasure of watching and reviewing one of the best low budget, fantasy films I had ever seen. It was called “Mythica: A Quest For Heroes”, and I enjoyed every orc, wizard, and elf filled minute of it. After learning that it was planned to be the first installment of a trilogy, I immediately (like an excited 10 year old fantasy geek) hopped on Kickstarter and contributed to the second film’s campaign. Well, today, I got my reward (a signed, Kickstarter exclusive dvd) in the mail. I popped some popcorn, put on my headphones, and watched it. Here is what I thought:
“Mythica: The Darkspore” picks up right where “A Quest For Heroes” left off. Marek (Stone), Thane (Johnson), Dagen (Stormoen), and Teela (Posener) have just escaped the ogre’s cave, and are licking their wounds. Very quickly, they are all called back into action when Gojun Pye (Sorbo) appears to Marek and warns her that an evil necromancer named Szorlok and his apprentice Kishkumen (Chan) are searching for the four pieces of the darkspore. Marek must reassemble her team, and beat Kishkumen and his army of orcs to the underground city that harbors the relic. But, necromancers and orcs aren’t the only thing they will have to face if they want to keep the lands safe from Szorlok’s sinister plans.
Joined by the quiet and mysterious Qole (Myers), a dark elf, the team heads off on their mission. Meanwhile, Marek is also fighting an internal battle against her own darkness, and the temptation to use it for selfish means. The only question is will she be able to control her power, when the time comes and she is tested?
“Darkspore” is an excellent follow up to “Quest For Heroes”. Director Anne Black opts for a slightly darker approach in the second installment, dialing back on the humor and focusing more on the seductive power of the darkness welling up in Marek. It pays off, and although there is the tonal shift, the story seamlessly follows up on the duality of all four of the main characters from the first film. The whole team are great again, and I found myself smiling (much the way I did while watching the second LOTR film) when the familiar faces showed up on screen.
While Johnson’s Thane is still a bad ass, Stormoen’s Dagen is still a wisecracking wise ass, and Posener’s Teela is still an enchanting beauty with sadness in her eyes, it is once again Melanie Stone as Marek who hits a home run. Black and her co-writers have done an excellent job at cultivating a female hero who has all of the classic fantasy protagonist baggage (penchant for darkness, can’t fully control/understand her own power, and my favorite is constantly misunderstood but keeps coming through) and are fortunate to have an actress who plays the role with an incredible balance between strong and afraid. As a kid watching the first two films of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, I was always a bit bothered by Luke’s whiny attitude and the fact that his friends were so much stronger in the face of adversity. Well Marek has none of that! She is strong of both mind and heart, and it is so refreshing to see a female hero who doesn’t need to be rescued constantly.
Even with the budget limitations, this film is enjoyable as you are going to get without battling a huge crowd of cell phone wielding teenagers and grossly overpriced concessions. The “Mythica” series has a talented, young cast and a capable director. I should also mention that all of those elements are book-ended by some really stunning cinematography. Also the effects team should be applauded for creating some really cool creatures without a multi-million dollar budget to work with.
“Darkspore” is as good a second middle chapter as I could have hoped for. Action, comedy, all manner of creatures, and some wonderful “Wink, wink” references to some old classics (a scene with a group of sprite-ish fairies who tie up their prey instantly had me thinking “Willow”). It is all there and it is “Fiking” great! I cannot wait to see the final installment, which is slated to be released in 2016!