Dark cities, vampires, vampire killers, epic fight scenes. How could I not treat myself to Priest? It sounds like something I'd write- minus vampire and add creature of my making. But like Resident Evil: Afterlife, I saw it seeking only to be entertained- my expectations weren't high.
So plot, the movie portrayed a world after man, supposedly, won the war against vampires. Priests are "special" people, recruited and trained by the church to kill said vampires. They're "specialness" is implied but the movie didn't show how they were chosen. These chosen people were taken from everything they loved to fight but when the war was over, they were disband and forced to live, or try to live, ordinary lives. When I think of one aspect of Priest, I'm reminded of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort has returned but the powers that be are too afraid to believe so they stifle anyone who tries to destroy their perfect little world by telling the truth.
The main character, played by Paul Bettany from Legion, Inkheart and The Da Vinci Code, didn't set out to disrupt people's comfortable world. He wanted to save the family member kidnapped by vampires. The plot is cliche, yes. But you writers know there's nothing new under the sun. There are no new plots just new ways of telling what's already been told. Priest is a remake of a graphic novel and though I love graphic novels, I haven't read this one so my review focuses on the movie and not whether or not they did the graphic novel justice which they probably didn't. The book is always better.
I was impressed though. Priest wasn't what I expected. It was far more character focused. The action, the dialogue, the visuals were great but the movie didn't rely on them. The beginning was ingenious. The way they told the back story pulled me in instantly. As a writer, I know how important beginnings are. This movie used it to move me from slightly interested viewer to really intrigued.
Priest was... quiet. The writers relied on what the characters didn't say. The dialogue was purposeful. There weren't any long exposition or drawn out conversation. Each character, each scene got to the point. If you want Shakespeare look elsewhere. Priest is meant to entertain not boggle the mind. The writers used the bits of conversation to convey a lot. The romance was portrayed so someone like me, a person who dislikes romantic movies, could tolerate it. It was romance without the mush. Also, I don't remember the characters' names or even if they were given but it was a plot device and not a drawback.
The visuals were stunning without being too over-the-top. I read a review calling Priest simple. It's simple but not in a bad way. The vampires weren't the movie they were a tool. The priests were portrayed as superhuman but it wasn't constantly proven to us but when it was, it was amazing. Priest held a lot under the surface. It's a movie I'd see again. The world created was intriguing.
It's gotten a lot of negative reviews though, but as many reviewer who liked it said, one of its strengths is that the vampires don't sparkle. They're not the seductive creatures popular culture has been portraying them. They look and act like monsters. That's a big plus for me. I like a hot male vampire as much as the next women but after awhile, you get sick it. Just becasue they're vampires doesn't mean they need to be beautiful.
Unfortunately, by calling the creatures vampires, Priest set itself up to be compared to other vampire movies. It wins against Twilight no contest but it cannot compete with Blade and Underworld. Priest did well for being so short but it would've been fantastic if it had been longer. It has a lot of potential. Each scene was just a taste. You wanted more but it didn't deliver. It gave me enough to want to see the sequel, if it gets released, but I won't see it in 3D again.
Ever since Avatar, if a movie is available in 3D, I see it in 3D. I haven't yet seen the point of it. Is 3D supposed to pull the viewer into the movie or is it simply another way to show the story? The idea of a 3D movie is intriguing but since Avatar, I haven't seen a movie use it in any spectacular way. Priest included. I recommend it for horror fans but unless you just want to see a movie in 3D like me, don't- save your money. Being in 3D did nothing for the story.
It's a great summer movie. I was entertained but honestly, I treated Priest as a stepping stone for Harry Potter 7 Part 2, just something to tie me over. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and even if you aren't, you have to admit any movie opening this summer will be a drop in the bucket compared to HP7.