Studio: TVA Films
Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, John Malkovich
Director: Simon Hunter
Time: 111 mins.
In the distant future, war rages between earth's four giant corporations as they battle over the planet's dwindling resources. In an era marked by warfare and social regression, the earth is on the verge of ruin, destruction is everywhere; battles explode on every ravaged continent. Amidst heavy combat, an errant shell shatters an ancient burial seal releasing a horrific mutant army from its eternal prison deep within the earth. As the mutants scourge threatens human extinction, a single squad of soldiers descends into the earth to fulfill the ages-old prophecy of the “Mutant Chronicles” and save mankind.
With a title like, 'Mutant Chronicles,' it is obvious this is not a movie for the casual viewer. It exists in the grey zone of B movies where the charms of such fare will only be discernible to those receptive to such fare to begin with. Horror and SF films thrive in this lower class district. Within these genres, sub-genres such as zombie, vampire, space opera, mad scientists running amok are staples. Sometimes mashed together. Often these subgenres are linked to another B movie staple, the Post Apocalyptic genre. Mutant Chronicles is such a film. Light on the space opera, it manages to not only merge many horror and SF conventions but it also pulls in the war genre to boot.
With so many disparate elements the mood of the movie is all over the place. Though grim is the common thread that ties all of them together. It opens with sepia-toned World War I in the trenches sequence that would be right at home with, 'All Quiet On The Western Front.' From there it morphs into a gore fest of mutant rampage. It is a wry observation that trench scenes invoked more dread and horror than the supposed horrific ones that followed. From this opening sequence the movie marries elements of the SF novel, 'A Canticle for Leibowitz,' with, 'The Guns of Navarone,' and, 'The Dirty Dozen.'
All of that placed against CGI extensive backgrounds married with steampunk elements, Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon Buster Crabbe type technology, and, 'Metropolis,' like vistas. As a youngster I remember being part of a Cubs like group that went camping and one of the meals would consist of everyone emptying a can of soups into a big metal pot. The ultimate minestrone soup if you will. Mutant Chronicles is much like.
What is really interesting in a movie like this is to 'A' cast actors, whom are still getting 'A' level work, plying their craft and trying to bring some gravitas and emotional nuance to such a casserole confection. John Malkovich has a cameo and fares the poorest. Thomas Jane plays the embittered hero and does a pretty decent job. Ron Perlman has the toughest role playing a religious prophet. He has several scenes where he totters on an acting tightrope but he does save those moments until the very end when he goes all mutant, so to speak.
Crave Factor – 6.5
The movie is present in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Given the washed out tone of the movie, grey is the colour of the day, the video is correspondingly soft. No doubt the softness is enhanced by the extensive amount of CGI generated landscapes and background.
Crave Factor – 7
Serviceable. Dialogue is always clear. No real sense of depth and dimensionality and limited LFE.
English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Stereo tracks are included.
Crave Factor – 7
Crave Factor – 2
Menu & Packaging
A standard Amray case. No booklet is enclosed.
Crave Factor - 7
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
B movie, Apocalyptic, Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, and Zombie fans apply only. Everyone else move along. Nothing to see here.
Myself, some of those elements do attract so I found the movie a marginally rewarding experience.