Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

Flynn manages to win the philosopher's stone at an auction and in the process, loses his girlfriend Katie, who has become tired of always playing second fiddle to the Library.  This causes Flynn to have a little breakdown when he realises just how much he has given up for his job.  Fearing the worst, Judson and Charlene suggest that Flynn take a little vacation.  When Flynn decides to follow his dreams to New Orleans, he has no idea that rather than moving away from the mysteries he solves everyday, he is diving into an exciting search for the Judas Chalice.

I think of the movies to date, Cure of the Judas Chalice is easily the best.  The special effects are still very cheap and the movie is completely a camp rip off  of the Indiana Jones series but at least this installment is entertaining.  To have a chance of enjoying Curse of the Judas Chalice, you have to go into it with the right frame of mind and you simply cannot take it seriously.

Once again, Flynn is without an official Guardian but he is however partnered with a very sexy vampire named Simone Renoir.  Simone was turned against her well four hundred years ago and since then has determined to spend her undead life protecting the Judas chalice, sure in the knowledge that her sire would seek it out one day for the power it would provide.  Simone is smart, funny and extremely capable. Flynn and Simone even have pretty good chemistry with each other and this time, I actually believe his awkwardness.  Simone turned out to be an absolutely great foil to Flynn and was strong willed enough to walk away from him at the end.

The problem is that all of the female partners in this series have inevitably become love interests for Flynn.  Sometimes the relationships are subversive, in that they become the brawn to Flynn's brains; however, it's still rather limited for them to fitted neatly into the love interest role. It's a trope and it's far from original but then if you're looking for originality, this is not the series for you. 

Other than Simone, the only other female character is the indubitably strong Charlene.  Once again however, Charlene had a very small role in the movie overall but every time Charlene shares a scene with Flynn, it's fair to say that she stole it quite easily.  The same  by the way could be said of Judson played by Bob Newhart.  In the Curse of the Judas Chalice, we learned a bit about Judson's back story and his relationship to the library, making his character all that more fascinating.  Throughout this series, Judson has easily been my favorite character, due in large part to the great comedic timing of Bob Newhart.

Once again, when it comes to characters of  colour, Curse of the Judas Chalice, fails just like the other movies in this series.  Curse of the Judas Chalice is set in New Orleans and we are only given the tiniest glimmer of what the city is all about with things like Ernie Vincent Williams playing blues in a barber shop and what looks like a mardi gras parade in the French Quarter.  Andrew functioned as a tour guide for Flynn and his role was so small, I don't think he could even be characterized as a sidekick.  This is ridiculous considering that the Curse of the Judas Chalice is set in New Orleans of all places.  However, considering the treatment of people of colour in Return to Kin Solomon's Mines, this was absolutely a relief.

In terms of GLBT characters and disabled characters, this series continues to be erased.  However, considering the limited roles of women, and the racist stereotypes, it's perhaps a blessing in disguise.

Curse of the Judas Chalice tries to put a new spin on the vampire mythos with a new twist on the story of Vlad the Impaler.  While it was nice that Curse of the Judas Chalice to some degree moved away from the ageless vampire, moaning and carrying on about their lost humanity it wasn't compelling.  Vlad is far from an Edward Cullen, but I still think in this movie, he falls far short of all of the vampire stories to date involving Dracula.  Don't watch this movie thinking that you are going to get a good vampire story.  Don't watch this movie thinking that you are even going to get an awesome fight scene between vampires because while Simone and Vlad do fight, it's underwhelming to say the least.  It is particularly disturbing that despite all of Simone's strength that it's Flynn who at the end of the day manages to kill Vlad.  Always gotta save the big bad for the straight, cis, able bodied, white guy at the end.

Saying that Curse of the Judas Chalice is the best of the three movies, really isn't saying much, given how horrible the predecessors were.   It's a passable way to spend a couple of hours and it managed to keep my attention, even if the story itself was mediocre.  I don't feel like Flynn actually grew from his experiences and he is essentially the same man we met in Quest for the Spear, in spite of all the things that he has seen and done.  Flynn continues to be the awkward professor, written like a knock off Sherlock Holmes or the Doctor, with maybe half of the charm.  My suggestion is to skip the first two movies because you won't really miss anything and simply watch Curse of the Judas Chalice, expecting not to have your socks blown off but to pass some time.