Newest Review: ... of the dystopian society that was trying to be portrayed here, and to be honest I don't think The Church seemed powerful enough. Ther... more
Killer Priest seeks undead bloodsucker for very short-term relationship
Priest  (DVD)
Member Name: SpiderJamb
Priest  (DVD)
Advantages: Great opening animation, Excellent 3D effects and action scenes
Disadvantages: Short running time at 87 mins long
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
[This review is for the 3D Blu-Ray edition]
Priest is a science-fiction vampire movie, set in an alternate future, where mankind has been fighting with vampires for generations. With the church and religion as a foundation for their society, mankind develop a sect of warriors imaginatively named 'Priests', who manage to destroy the vampires in a war, resulting in many of the Priests becoming retired. It is only when the threat of vampires rears its ugly head that society realises that they need their protectors again.
The first thing that comes to mind when watching Priest is how similar the setting looks to Mega City One from the Judge Dredd comics. I guess there's not too much room for individuality when it comes to massive fenced-in post-apocalyptic cities surrounded by radioactive deserts, but I did keep thinking how cool it would be if Judge Dredd just showed up, which is ironic since Karl Urban (who is set to star as Judge Dredd in the new motion picture) was in the film as the lead villain.
The film opens up with a visually striking two-minute animation which depicts the history of the Priests and their subsequent retirement, forced to take menial tasks in an effort to fit in with the society they protected and who now fears them. This animation looked amazing in the 3D Blu-Ray version that I watched, with added depth and clarity given to the usually flat animated style. I find that animation tends to fare better with the 3D transfer, but the actual live action scenes were also effective in 3D. There were several moments where ash flew towards the screen and almost felt like it was in my bedroom! Sony's 3D effects seem to be the best I've experienced, as this along with Monster House, have been very effective.
Paul Bettany stars as the un-named Priest, taking up yet another religious role after his appearances in The Da Vinci Code & Legion. He doesn't seem to inject his character with any real charm or personality, preferring to stare broodingly and mutter at his companions. I quite liked Cam Gigandet as Hicks, who seemed to provide the viewers point of view to the foreign world of the Priests.
My biggest complaint of the movie was the setting - the initial ten minutes or so were in the dense, futuristic metropolis which would have made a visually stunning location for vampire battles, but the locale is quickly shifted to the desert and underground hives, which didn't seem as atmospheric to me. I think more could have been done about the hierarchy of the human society and the class structure between the Priests, the Monsignors and the general public. It just seemed to descend too quickly into a standard post-apocalyptic monster movie, without any real subtext.
I haven't read the original manga series upon which the film is based, so I am unsure just how close to the source material this adaptation has been, but it seems like this initial movie was crafted to open the door for a potential sequel. Hopefully, a sequel would expand upon this universe with the religious order ruling the people and craft a more interesting movie, set within the city walls.
Overall, this wasn't a bad film, but it seemed to lack any real spark, with a less-than-charismatic leading character, whose uniqueness was summed down to a cross-shaped tattoo on his face. Other than that, he was a fairly standard monosyllabic action hero, who wouldn't stick in the audience's memory for that long after seeing the film, but for those wanting to watch a 3D movie on your home cinema system couldn't go wrong by choosing this for a fun night in.
[Also posted on Ciao.co.uk & my blog]
Summary: A great example of a 3D movie, but not so great example of an action thriller