The Pyramid (2014)

Pyramid

This movie was released about the time when I first became interested in writing movie reviews.   The Pyramid holds a special meaning for me in that it was the first movie to expose me to the concept of a limited release film.

Prior to that, I just assumed most movies I wanted to watch would be at my trusty theater.  Anything and everything that wasn’t there had to be a direct-to-video thing or an art-house release film.  So when I saw this film’s previews, I was all excited to see it at my local cinema.  But when I looked for movie times; I discovered it was only playing in a town over 100 miles away.

Story (2/5) – The story was written by Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon.  It is about an archaeological group headed up by a father and daughter team.  They eventually discover a catacomb inside a buried ancient pyramid.  The team, along with a film crew and their lead technician, find themselves trapped inside a labyrinth of tunnels and secret passages designed to keep in an ancient creature.  It’s basically your traditional Greek Labyrinth myth mixed with some Egyptian mythology.

The story itself builds up rather slowly, spending time at first to introduce the main characters.  Once inside the pyramid, the story then reveals only small bits of the entire mystery.  As we move deeper and deeper into the structure, we learn more about what is really happening.  After the creature is revealed, the pacing really picks up, but ultimately I found the ending unfulfilling.

Character (2/5)The Pyramid contains a mix of likable and unlikable characters.  The main character is Nora Holden (Ashley Hinshaw).  She is one half of the father/daughter team running the dig.  She is intelligent and prefers new technology over traditional exploration.  It is her work with new archaeology that has attracted the attention of a news crew that ultimately follows her into the pyramid.

The other half of the father/daughter team is Miles Holden (played wonderfully by Denis O’Hare).  As you can imagine, he is a traditionalist.   He doesn’t approve in his daughter’s methods, but I’m assuming he goes along with them, because they bring in funding.  He also doesn’t approve of her daughter’s relationship with their tech guy Michael Zahir (Amir K).

The crew assigned to film them is made up of Sunni March (Christa Nicola) and Terry “Fitzie” (James Buckley).  Sunni is an annoying reporter that really gets the worst of it in this movie.  She is an excellent contrast to her cameraman Fitzie, who is ultimately this likable and brave guy that you want to root for.

Direction (2/5) – the film direction by Gregory Levasseur was decent.  The pacing is again slow to start, but picks up reasonably at the end.  One scene in particular stood out for me though.

[Spoiler ahead]
It was the scene where Sunni dies.  As she is expiring, the red flare that is lighting the room goes out with her.  I loved the symbolism there.
[End Spoiler]

Execution (3/5) – And I really liked the creature in this film.  This is important because I feel that every decent labyrinth story needs a convincing Minotaur-type creature guarding it.  Whether it be the traditional Minotaur of the Greek mythology or the stylishly slick Troll King that David Bowie plays in Labyrinth.  There needs to be something in the center of the maze that the runners are trying to reach or are trying to escape from.  And I really liked the main creature over all the little cats that were running around.

Entertainment (2/5) – I’m not sure if being excited to finally watch this film helped or hindered it in my review.  The film definitely gave me a sense of claustrophobia, and it has its moments of thrills.

Overall – In the end, I give this film a 2.2 bowties out of five.  It’s worth watching at least once for its interesting take on an old story.  I found the blending of ancient cultures worked pretty well for me.  If only they’d redo that ending.

FF

2bows

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