Rating:

SLIPSHOD STEAMPUNK

Main Cast:  Aneurin Barnard, Michael Sheen

Director: Jonathan Newman

It’s taking everything I can do to keep Star is Born productions on track producing my Spielberg film mash-up movie musical sensation.  We still haven’t found the right title.  Various suggestions such as A Steve is Born, Spielberg Boulevard, and All About Steve have been rejected as too old fashioned.  I had suggested that we work the name of my character, Flo Idaho, Indiana Jones’ luscious new sidekick into the title calling it And Quiet Flo, the Don highlighting the portion of the film where my character teaches a class in French history at Oxford to the American

Corey Feldman by Alan Light

This is not my Corey!

soldiers before they storm the beaches at Normandy.  It’s going to feature a lively can-can which Normy is developing from themes by both Offenbach and John Williams.  However, darling Steve feels that might be drawing a bit too much attention to myself, away from his films.    While I know the vast majority of the tickets will be sold on the name Vicki Lester, Steven is putting up a good deal of the financing so he needs to be humored.

There has been a setback in the PR campaign around my marvelous singers, the two Coreys, who made such a splash with Katy Perry when I sent them off to be part of her half time show in their Bruce the Shark costumes.  While the sharks were an enormous hit, there hasn’t been nearly enough interest in the men inside them.  On top of this, the

Corey Haim

This is also not my Corey!

National Intruder seems to have confused my two Coreys with another pair of semi-famous Coreys from some years ago.  There was a rather unpleasant headline about my cavorting in the pool at Chateau Maine with Corey Feldman and Corey Haim which hinted that I was some sort of necrophiliac given that Corey Haim has been dead for the last five years.

Casting for supporting parts continues and all of the top talent from Broadway and Hollywood are having management submit themselves for parts.  Even Margo Channing has come out of retirement to express interest in playing the dual role of Bianca Castafiore and Tinkerbell.  If we use her, the Tinkerbell/Lincoln duet will have to be lowered about eight keys.  Normy is not going to be pleased.  In order to butter him up, I put on one of my more décolleté numbers from my GalmourPuss gown selection and invited him to join me in the home theater for an aperitif and film.  I allowed him to choose the film, hoping he would find a nice romance; unfortunately, his taste ran more to adventure and, on his flicking through the Netflix, he settled on a new British film entitled The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box.  It was not a film I had ever heard of and, being open to new experiences, the two of us snuggled up and settled in.

The Adventurer Curse of the Midas Box PosterThe film is one of those British ripping yarns that have entertained pre-adolescent boys since the Victorian era, being a direct descendent of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson.  We start in some sort of steampunk late Victorian London.  Here, young Mariah Mundi (Aneurin Barnard) and his little brother Felix (Xavier Atkins) are romping around the British museum where their father (Ioan Gruffudd) is lecturing.  While cavorting amongst the mummies, they run across an odd man, Will Charity (Michael Sheen) who has been stabbed and who has a mysterious message for the senior Mundis.  Soon, the parents go missing and Mariah and Felix find themselves on the run from nefarious forces and mystery assassins.  Eventually, Felix is taken as well and Mariah is off to a mysterious island hotel run by the formidable Monica (Lena Headey) where, while disguised as a porter, he discovers that the owner (Sam Neill) is searching for a powerful artifact located deep under the hotel.  With the aid of a plucky maid (Mella Carron) and the resourceful Charity (who pops up again, this time disguised as a Russian stage magician), Mariah must rescue Felix, unravel the mysteries of the island, defeat the villains and find out what happened to his parents.

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is based on a novel for young people by British author G.P. Taylor.  The book is the first of a series and it seems pretty clear that the film is intended to be the first of a franchise.  The novels are very much the story of Mariah while the films have been retooled, both in title and in emphasis around the mysterious Will Charity, the titular adventurer.  I have not read the books but in the film Charity is a sort of combination of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond.  He can disguise himself with amazing anachronistic full face make ups and seems to be an expert in any weapon and fighting style that will make a major visual splash.  Michael Sheen is having fun with the role, relishing the dropping in and out of characters within characters.  He really goes to town when playing the stage illusionist with the vaudevillian Russian accent.  Aneurin Barnard brings a pair of deep set soulful eyes and a certain lithe grace to Mariah.  He’s obviously older than the callow teenager he’s playing but he’s earnest and gives it his all.  As the villains of the piece, Lena Headey channels a bit of Cersei Lannister in a bustle and Gibson girl wig and Sam Neill snarls and chews the scenery.  The supporting cast are relatively forgettable.

The biggest issue with the film is that it looks cheap.  Huge mechanical machinery looks like cheap optical duplications of hobbyist models.  The lavish hotel is relatively small studio sets.  The cavernous spaces of the British museum are reduced to something resembling an elementary school classroom.  Jonathan Newman’s direction keeps things moving at a fast enough clip that we don’t dwell too much on it though and Annie Hardinge’s Victorian fashions are fun.   The other major issue is the central mystery.  It’s just not that interesting.

I can’t see The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box being a big hit in this country other than amongst the more obscure Cosplayers at a Steampunk con.  Hopefully it did better in the UK where the original novel appears to be better known.  It’s an interesting divertissement but not something I would especially seek out.

Rosetta Stone cameo.  Green jade medallion.  Boys’ reformatory.  Gratuitous lisping villain.  Collapsing ladder.  Medicinal waters.  Secret passages.  Gratuitous leap into the sea.  Scary warning posters.  Luggage carrying.

To learn more about Mrs. Norman Maine, see our Movie Rewind introduction, visit her entire back catalog and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/missvickilester

Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, The (DVD)


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