Fantasia : Call of Chtulu, Monarch of the Moon and Exodus

Call of Chtulu was made to look like a silent, black and white film. This makes it unique and surprisingly refreshing. Those familiar with Lovecraft, even if not with Call of Chtulu itself, will recognize the premise. Inheritance, forbidden or paranormal research, people going crazy and/or (usually and) dying for going too far in their research. It's known and loved by the fans, and it works. The illusion of an old movie works very well at times, a bit less at others, where it becomes apparent it was shot with in modern video and CG-filtered to look old. Acting feels over-the-top, as it was at the time, which add to the authenticity. The music is perfect, and is the only sound in the whole movie. A pretty interesting experiment gives a pretty interesting movie. 7.4 out of ten with a butt-factor of 0.1.

When Monarch of the Moon showed up, I realized I had absolutely no idea what it was. Blind choices like that often yield terrific surprises, and Monarch of the Moon was exactly that. Like Call of Chtulu, Monarch of the Moon is a recent movie (more like a miniseries, with all episodes showed back to back) made to look like it's coming from another era. The illusion, in this case, is nearly perfect, aside from the all-to-often presence of cheesy CGI (I would rather have had to watch even more cheesy "real-life" effects). The theme, acting, horribly sexist and racist undertones, all appear to be lifted straight from the '40s. During the '40s, the Nazi and Japanese tried to destroy America. But they were only tools, tools of the evil Monarch of the Moon. Afraid of America, with it's freedom, democracy and good old American know-how, the Monarch uses Japan and Germany to weaken America before the final attack from the Moon forces. But thanks to superhero Yellow Jacket, who gained his superpowers from being tortured and drugged in a Nazi prison, America will be safe. Or will it? Monarch of the Moon was an awesome ride, if maybe stretched thinly in the middle. I think it would be beneficial to watch the series in an episodic fashion, rather than having all 6 episodes shown back to back. Still, entertaining, hilarious and very refreshing. 7.5 out of 10, with a butt-factor of 0.5.

Last and least, Exodus, the beautiful Thai children's epic. First and foremost, parents should be warned that Exodus may be considered a children's epic, but it has rather violent scenes (including torture). Maybe Thai children are not little wusses like children over here, so be warned that your little ones may need their dose of ritalin after that one. The story has been told thousands of times before. Humans are being attacked and destroyed by a race of bad guy. One hero emerges, he needs to gather a party of friends (in this case, 4 beautifully designed elementals), train and fight legions of bad guys, then face off against the evil boss, then live happily ever after. Still, the movie is beautiful, the elemental design is awesome, the shots with floating Tarot cards are imaginative and effective. However it all has a pretty generic feel to it. Not that most children will mind, but I did. 6.5 out of ten, with a butt-factor of 0.5.

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