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Published on February 28th, 2010 | by Will


And Its Name Is Legion

Looks like FoxeinSocks beat me to the first review, and I agree, its pants. The thing is, Legion is a real curate’s egg of a movie; partly good and partly bad, but as a result is entirely spoiled.

Firstly, the acting, especially Paul Bettany’s, is very good , and his performance is hindered as the main exposition guy to the rest of the cast . Art direction, photography and the special effects are excellent, even if its clear that its crossed the point of homage and is straying in to blatant copy at points. The problems lie in script and editing, which means direction is at fault too.

[local /wp-content/uploads/2010/03/legion_general_featurette_uk_v2_lo.mov nolink]

First with editing, as there is a touch of “cabin in the woods filled with zombies” style to the movie, I don’t want to give away the ending,  but the movie’s pacing is muddied and slowed to allow character expansion to take place. Instead of ramping up tension, these slowed parts just slow things down, but of all the characters time is spent on expanding their origins and backgrounds, somehow a survivor’s back story is skipped. This is understandable in a sequel (the back story is the earlier movie), but not in a one off. While this makes the “who will survive” mildly interesting, its just annoying overall.

The script itself is also a problem. The whole movie has a “left behind” vibe to it. This is at odds with the plot and the main bad guy. Namely God, who has decided that humanity is a mistake which needs to be fixed, and rather than an all-out assault by an apocalypse with the usual trumpets and horsemen God goes for a Matrix-like take over of the “weak willed” and cause a zombie style apocalypse. So far so interesting, the catch, there is a deadline, as a child is about to be born and this messiah/John Connor is important. So important that Archangel Michael decided to defend the child.

Cue gun play, explosion and some Archangel-on-Archangel fighting.

The plot is… okay for an action movie, its execution as a script is another matter. I’ve already mentioned the pacing, but tension should have started in the script. Nothing there, missing characterisation and expanding characters who die in the next scene are among its crimes. And those that get expanded back-stories, well the stories aren’t very good. And some dialogue corny enough to be popped and served in the cinema. Its main crime, it gets kind of dull, even with multiple false ending, the lack of a sudden ratcheting in tension is part of the problem. That’s just something that shouldn’t happen in an action movie. An audience only care about the ending is they care about the still surviving characters (jump ending aside of course).

The director, Scott Stewart, is also one of the two script writers, but usually the director gets to be the final arbiter of the edit. I’ll give him this, he gets fine performances from the cast, but I suspect he kept the things he loved, rather than the things which makes the movie work better. The technical aspects are well done, but the emotional ones are a mess.

Out of context, scenes of this movie work very well, but they don’t hang together as a whole. And on the whole, its dull. Then again, this is due to hit our cinema screens on March 5 2010, and I think the Angles are going to be buried by Alice.


About the Author

Will likes to dance around the interfaces of technology, people and culture. Unfortunately that dance floor is freshly waxed. He usually remembers to write (and photograph) at WillKnott.ie

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