The story is frippery. The tone light, but not as light as advertised. Action and effects are as expected and no more.
What was remarkable to this viewer were a few of the character backstories.
Our hero’s story was ordinary. A petty theft got his wife killed. He tries to get a resurrection charm and is double-crossed and imprisoned. The other male characters have similarly ordinary stories, bereft of any interest whatever.
The two females in contrast have had some significant attention. I’ll just mention the most interesting, Michelle Rodriguez’ character, Holga.
First, the appearance. This is a rugged person, notably desexualised by movie standards, and especially those of sci-fi and fantasy. Though I did not notice, the actress let armpit hair grow. Her action scenes have her as the alpha in the group, sometimes eclipsed by the other female, an edgy redheaded human/pixie who converts to a beast.
The story depends on Holga’s maternal instincts for a girl presented as the complete opposite: fey, innocent tending toward stupid.
Her backstory is far more complex than the story of the film. She fell in love with a man outside her barbarian tribe and was exiled. So far, pretty ordinary. But we have a remarkable scene where she visits her former lover and we find him to be half her height and tenth the volume. There’s a complex mix of emotional urges and boundaries as they talk about what went wrong when they are interrupted by the new partner — a woman twice the size of Holga. This is handled in a theatrically deft way, matter of factly but with suppressed awkwardness.
Without the size factor, by itself this would have anchored the movie in terms of urges. But it introduces all sorts of unknowns by what is unsaid and what we don’t know about their intimate lives.
Posted in 2023
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.