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Decent (not great) TV Movies
on April 26, 2010
I'm surprised to see these movies getting 5 star reviews. While it's nice that they're finally going to be available on DVD (outside of the complete series boxed set), I really don't think these are 5-star quality movies.
The first of the two movies, "Lost Treasure Of Atlantis" feels pretty similar to the Season 5 opener, "Legend Of The Holy Rose." In other words, it feels kind of like a poor man's version of Indiana Jones. This time, Mac and his buddies are searching for the sunken city of Atlantis. Two main problems bog this movie down-- a noticeably low budget, and Brian Blessed. I think the episode got a bit too ambitious for its budget, causing some of the special effects to be painfully bad. And as for Brian Blessed, well, his character is just incredibly loud and annoying throughout. I think he's supposed to be funny, but he fails miserably. Still, it's an fairly enjoyable adventure, and if you just consider another Mac episode (rather than a "movie") you probably won't be disappointed, but you aren't likely to be thrilled, either.
The second movie, "Trail To Doomsday" feels a lot darker, grittier and is clearly aimed at a slightly older audience than "Atlantis". Actually, truth be told, it feels more like a random movie that just happens to star Richard Dean Anderson, rather than like a true MacGyver adventure. The tone is just so different from the tone of the tv series. That's not entirely a bad thing, since I think this will appeal a bit more to an older audience, but it's still jarring. One thing that baffled me a bit about this movie, though, is why they didn't really include any MacGyer-isms. The tv show became famous because of the ingenious solutions Mac would come up with-- things that the average person would never think of doing, like stopping a nuclear reactor leak with a chocolate bar, or building a glider out of assorted junk-- but in this movie, he really doesn't do anything like that. Let's see, he uses a conveniently placed tennis racket as a wrench, and he takes his shoes off so that he can move about more quietly in his socks. Ingenious? Hardly.
The other flaw that both of these movies suffer from is simply that they really don't hold any connection to the tv series other than the fact that MacGyver is in them. There is no mention of the Phoenix Foundation, no Pete Thornton, no Jack Dalton, no Murdoc, Penny, Nikki, etc, etc, etc. Also, they're both filmed entirely in England, which makes them feel somehow disconnected from the TV show.
If you're a diehard fan of the show, you know you're going to buy this set anyway, and you'll probably get some enjoyment out of it, but just don't expect too much from it. If you're not a diehard fan, you could easily skip this.