The Adventurer: The Curse Of The Midas Box
Three Stars (out of five). Released by RLJ Entertainment. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated PG. I reviewed this on Amazon Prime on May 18, 2014.

Taking place in the 1880s, The Adventurer: The Curse Of The Midas Box deals with a hero with the unlikely name of Mariah Mundi who sets out on a quest to find the lost Midas Box, an ancient device that can turn whatever object one puts inside of it into gold. Also seeking this box for nefarious purposes is the villainous Otto Luger, played by Sam Neil (Jurassic Park) who battles his old adversary Captain Charity (Michael Sheen, Tron: Legacy) in a battle of wits that crosses several continents. Mariah is living the quiet life an academic family when a wounded Charity shows up at the university, demanding to speak with his father Charles (Ioan Gruffudd, who played Reed Richards in The Fantastic Four).

Charity gives them a special talisman for safekeeping before taking off once more. Mariah’s mother gives one half of the talisman to him and his younger brother, warning them to trust each other only, and nobody else. This turns out to be good advice, since Mariah’s mom and dad are captured by the evil Luger, who’s seeking the talisman for himself. After their home is invaded by thugs hired by Luger, Mariah and Felix find themselves on the run through the streets of London. TA:TCOTMB is a fun, enjoyable movie that tries very hard to be a mesh of (young) Indiana Jones meets Harry Potter by way of steam punk.

It has its charms, thanks to a solid cast that also includes the superb Lena Heady (300; Dredd) as Luger’s evil henchwoman, and Mella Carron as Sacha, a hotel maid who gets caught up in the fun. Sam Neil’s so good as a debonair villain that the Bond producers should consider him as the next bad guy to cross 007. The only downside to this adventure is that, after taking a while getting going, the pacing keeps slowing down to a crawl. The editing overall doesn’t feel right, with some scenes running longer than they should, and the film lacks the feeling of suspense in moments where it clearly should be present.

Another problem is the lead character, Mariah--who, other than having a silly first name, is not really the lead character. Frankly, Michael Sheen’s Captain Charity is far more dashing, and so much more interesting, that he steals the movie from the hero, which is never a good idea. Mariah keeps being reminded by people in the film that he’s just a boy, and is treated as such, yet the actor playing him looks too old to be treated like a whelp. Still, despite these quibbles, the movie is a fun lark, and is recommended for anybody looking for something with a blend of Indy Jones and Harry Potter. Sadly, things are left hanging for a sequel that may never be made. --SF

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