Mythica: The Darkspore


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Mythica: The Darkspore
"Black's direction here is notably more confident than in the first film and once again she makes good use of natural locations."

Picking up where the original film left off - and in fine Dungeons & Dragons style, with our heroes blowing their money on drink and women whilst secondary heroine Teela (Nicola Posener) uncovers meta-plot - Mythica: The Darkspore sees the team reunite to go on a quest involving the titular McGuffin. Like all the best genre sequels, it's darker than its predecessor and, having established characters the first time around, spends more time developing them.

For Marek (Melanie Stone), this means discovering that the natural magical power she briefly exhibited in the first film emerges from a sinister source - she's a necromancer, and when she performs magic she drains away some of the life of those around her. It's an interesting premise for a heroic character and positions her as something of a Luke Skywalker, perpetually tempted by the dark side, especially as Teela's quest requires the team to deal with an object with sinister powers - one of a set, it transpires, leaving plenty of material for sequels. The dark figure of an evil necromancer begins to emerge, speaking to Marek in her dreams, whilst his henchman leads an orc army against our heroes.

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Fantastic though its themes might be, the Mythica series is refreshingly down to earth in its take on relationships. Heroine Marek begins this film having to come to terms with the fact that her fleeting romance with elf thief Dagen (Jake Stormoen) doesn't mean he has any intention of curbing his womanising, and he in turn has to deal with another elf, brooding stranger Qole (Rocky Myers), catching her eye. The resulting tensions are well handled and round out the plot without becoming a distraction, which is noteworthy in a film with a female lead. Not only does Marek get to have a complex sexuality, she gets to subdue it in favour of bigger concerns. In the meantime, a more traditional romance develops between Teela and warrior Thane (Adam Johnson). Whilst it emerges that this could complicate the former's commitment to her religious order, the usual implication that her power or status depends on her virginity is refreshingly absent.

Black's direction here is notably more confident than in the first film and once again she makes good use of natural locations. Scenes set in long grass are particularly effective for implying the presence of countless dangers without having to show them directly. The pacing isn't quite as tight as before but there's still a lot happening and there are a fair number of fight scenes. Kevin Sorbo makes a brief return as Marek's mentor and Exposition Man, which he carries pretty well. The story may be a rehash of familiar tropes but the energy and commitment of all involved mean it's still enjoyable, and it terms of what it manages to achieve on its tiny budget, it's fantastic in more than one sense.

Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2016
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A young wizard and her friends must stop an evil necromancer from uniting the shards of the darkspore.

Director: Anne K Black

Writer: Anne K Black, Jason Faller

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Matthew Mercer

Year: 2015

Runtime: 108 minutes

Country: US


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