The Catholic Review of Priest 20116/10
A priest throwing crosses like throwing stars into a vampire caught my attention.
Vampire meets post-apocalypse meets religious iconography meets Western. Staring Paul Bettany. I had the misfortune to see Legion and I've yet to forgive Mr. Bettany for participating in that wretched wince-fest. So given the actor and the genre, it's probably not going to be an Oscar-nominated type of film. But you know that the moment you saw the trailer.
As a Catholic (the orthodox type that grudgingly accepts Vatican II but mutters about 'the good old days' entirely tongue-in-cheek) it caught my eye. If you happen to be Catholic, every time you see a trailer for a movie where Catholicism is notably featured, you think to yourself 'Oh boy, how are they going to do a hack job that makes it out to be nothing like it actually is this time?'. Can't blame writers though, it's a religion that provides a deep, deep mine of interesting looking iconography and concepts (Apparently Catholic priests are the Ghostbusters of any movie that involves exorcism. You know who they're going to call. An old priest and a young priest.)
Interestingly enough, this film really... Doesn't involve religion. There's the iconography of Catholicism, a few words here and there, but there's really no actual religious content to the film. It's as if a tourist from another planet did a really in-depth one month tour of all things Catholic, but unable to understand the language, did the best job they could of representing it to their friends back home. The film doesn't denigrate Catholicism, it treats it more like a grab bag of 'ooo, that sounds / looks cool' material. It's a post-apocalyptic vampire western that involves characters that participate in a world where there's a State-run religion that is akin to Catholicism in a weird sort of 'parallel dimension where everyone has a goatee' type way. It's what you think you know, but not.
The movie itself is visually interesting. In many ways, it's similar to Event Horizon - another film where a concept wrapped in bad dialog with little to no sane plot caught the viewer's eye with interesting imagery.
Do you like vampires? Do you like westerns? Do you fancy a post-apocalyptic world? Does religion intrigue you, but in a 'not enough to be serious about it' way?
This is your film. It's not a bad film. It's not a great film. If you like certain things, like I do - vampires, vampire killing in a kick-ass style and a certain visual je ne sais quoi, 'world view' that's unlike anything else out there, it's worth seeing.
People you shouldn't take with you to see the film: Serious boring types that get upset if there aren't things like 'good dialog', 'character development' or 'a plot that doesn't make you put your head in your hands'. Much like Ke$ha, it's one of those catchy things you would never admit to enjoying to anyone you respected.
If you happen to be Catholic, rest assured that it's not butchering the religion and presenting some horrific view of it that alienates all who would see it. That's because it doesn't understand religion, but hey (blame the material it's based on - eastern writers tend to have a really strange view of Catholicism and Christianity in general.)
See it in 2D if possible. Like any 3D film originally shot in 2D, the 3D isn't great. Not as bad as Alice, but Avatar it ain't. While rated PG-13, taking anyone who isn't in college or older to see it isn't going to add anything to their life at this point.
And, if you, like me, enjoy it - try not to mention that in respectable company and we can just nod at each other in passing, secure in the belief that not everything enjoyable under the sun needs to be Oscar-worthy material.