So off to the local cinema you go to watch a show about a widowed, single father who ends up in prison. The opening scenes echo Game of Thrones. Winter has come and this prison is welcoming a new inmate, but why is Chris Pine knitting? The new inmate after being all nasty, is quickly knocked out by Horga, played by Michelle Rodrigues.
We are told that Edgin (played by Pine) and Horga are up for parole. Edgin is without certain heroic traits but is strong on charisma. Horga is a the surly bruiser barbarian, with a heart of gold. Slowly, the back story of how Edgin and Horga ended up captured is told.
We see a group form and the quest to free Edgin’s daughter becomes a heist and then the heist becomes a quest. The quest/heist, leads to the defeat of the evil sorceress. In turn they save the city through the redistribution of wealth. How? Go see the movie.
It is a breezy tale told without fanfare and tongue firmly in cheek. Only the evil Red Wizards and the pure hearted hero Xenk play it straight. The movie is almost stolen by Regé-Jean Page as the hero Xenk. He is without any hypocrisy and works so well as a foil to our morally grey protagonists.
Can I take my Children to this Movie?
Well…..there is one jump scare and it got me. The bad guys are bad and the villains are terrible and without remorse. Hugh Grant is having a great time being a dishonest grifter who lies to Edgin’s daughter Kira. There are undead and some are scary, while the others are the set up to a joke. If this is a problem for your family, I understand.
Does it pass the Tolkien test?
Tolkien defended fairy tales by highlighting three elements, recovery, escape and consolation. Recovery is how something from the mundane world is changed within the narrative of the magical world. Family and what makes up family, especially what is parenthood is core to the narrative of this movie.
Escape for Tolkien is not the flight of the deserter but an heroic and creative endeavour. Escape is there to highlight the mundane. Prisoners see normal life in a more focused way than before they were imprisoned? Please remember the root word for fantasy is light and illumination.
Edgin is holding on to what was and is unable to see what has happened. Horga is mourning a past and not looking towards what could be. All the characters, including the villains are stuck in the past in some form or another. Where are we stuck and unable to move on?
Consolation, how are we comforted. We are certainly consoled in this narrative due to the good guys winning. Also how they win is a lot of fun and shows how each member of the group has grown. You could also be consoled by the way the many magical devices are all introduced and then used to great effect in the whole movie. I know I was.
Honour Among Thieves does not have the tone and grandeur of Lord of the Rings. Neither does it have the grit and darkness of Game of Thrones. It certainly does the job of entertaining us by taking us on an heroic journey. Closer to The Princess Bride, Barron Munchausen and Time Bandits. It is a simple movie without pretensions to greatness. Can we have some more of these please?
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.