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Given the well documented interest of the Nazi party hierarchy in the
occult -Hitler and Himmler especially -it is a minor pity that so few
supernaturally themed movies or science fiction movies have taken this
as a starting point ."The Keep" , a pretentious rambling Michael Mann
movie and the altogether better if more modest Trancers apart it
remains a relatively unexplored area for genre cinema.Reign of the
Gargoyles does tackle this subject and makes a decent if somewhat
undercooked stab at it Nazi scientists are able to resurrect stone
demons and set them loose in an attempt to sabotage Allied attacks on
the Central European heartland .An American aircrew is dispatched to
try to discover what is going on ,and are brought down by an attack of
these winged demons .They combine with a small local partisan band to
destroy the creatures ,and this involves locating a sacred spear from
the grave of a long dead knight who had originally imprisoned the
demons some time in the Middle Ages The problem is a lack of quality in
the special effects ,which are workmanlike rather than exceptional and
a cast of unknowns whose talent is such they are likely to stay that
way .The script is underpowered and allows for little or no character
development The location photography is good however and makes good use
of the bleak ,wintry landscape to give an eerie and edgy look to the
A bigger effects budget and sharper scripting would have made this a better movie .As it is ,what we have is an okay picture which just fails to do justice to its premise
There is hardly anything left to say; the title says it all. Crappy CGI
(a bit better than average for SciFi channel) meets silly cardboard
characters. And cardboard wins because CGI is virtual! It's like one of
those Santa Claus and a smart beautiful blonde jokes.
Anyway, with the limited, but larger than average budget they could have chosen one of the thousands of good scripts floating out there. No, they chose a story where German sadists try to kill brave Americans helped by the beautiful French resistance girl. Oh, and there are gargoyles around. Puh-lease!
Bottom line: total waste of time. Not bad enough to count. Not good enough... for anything ;)
Some hot shot WWII pilots are flying around, rattling off some old 40's
movie dialog. Suddenly, some flying creatures with sticky feet attach
themselves to the planes' wings. Then they destroy the planes and go
away for a while. Then they come back and do it again. Nazis have
unleashed a bunch of gargoyles, in some cult legend practice nobody
ever heard of before. They want to use the monsters to conquer the
world but the things just croak them too. Oh, and meanwhile, Allied and
Nazi forces have battles.
This film tosses around bits and pieces of war and horror genre stuff, and loosely fits it all together. Some attempt is made to tell a creative story; there is an evil-encounters-evil motif about the modern Nazis and their ancient cultist counterparts. Acting is strong enough, but character development is minimal. Lots of violent action, but little explanation of why the gargoyles are so anti-social. CGI looks to have been done by students in a "Computer for Dummies" class. The ending is unintentionally funny. Overall; about average for SyFy channel; good fast food fluff if you're in the mood for some cheap entertainment.
I guess it could've have been worse. The straight-to-TV presentation 'Rein of the Gargoyles' mildly entertains, but artificially dodgy CGI effects and pompous dialogues really do shoot it down. Bad computer visuals are one thing, but that script had me giggling and groaning at the same time. Too many random inspirational speeches, than explanations about the topic at hand or that of the Nazi's involvement in the occult had me wincing. The concept behind the film (An American airborne crew involved in WW2 in Eastern Europe find out that they have more to worry about than Nazis when they encounter Gargoyles, and join forces with resistance fighters to achieve the sacred spear that vanquished these gargoyles centuries ago) has something strong to go on, but alas it's given weak treatment and slaps in a stew of war clichés. Soon the mythological side is drowned out, and the interest begins to peter out. I can't knock its spirit though, and the locations and time period was well-shaped in presenting a dreary, war-torn backdrop. Performances fair up with no-one really standing out or overplaying it. However those accents (namely the Germans) were terrible, as if they were straining too hard. Joe Penny was dependably stalwart and Wes Ramsey is fine as the go-getter. No one really takes it entirely serious (even the script), but it doesn't fall away for any cheap laughs or a lighter tone of self-consciousness. The action is slight, and small. Sadly the gargoyles cop the brunt of it. Too little screen time, same for those Nazis who brought them to life. Sometimes the vigorous activity felt like something out of a video game, as the camera bobbed up and down. Moments do work, like atmospheric imagery in a graveyard. But really it's non-effective and flaky, despite its efforts. An okay time-waster nothing more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Recap: A thousand years ago, some pagans summoned Vorthorn, lord of the
gargoyles, and unleashed his terror on the world. They managed to
defeat him, but now a secret Nazi commando has awoken him again. Now it
is up to some American flyers and British airborne rangers, trapped
behind enemy lines to defeat him once again.
Comments: The only thing that saves this movie is the realization that it must have been a low budget production designed to fill time on a the Sci-Fi Channel. Because otherwise, this was seriously bad. The idea behind the story is ridiculous, evil Nazis summoning flying demons that are even more evil. Which naturally leads to that the American Bomber flyers happen to find themselves in the middle of it.
Unfortunately they don't have any good CGI to support the story, or distract the audience with some spectacular scenes. The monsters are very plastic, moving stiffly and just looking awkward. What is worse is that now and again the actors interaction with these CGI monsters are completely out of sync. Sometimes they face the completely wrong way, when a two meter monster stands behind them screaming.
Some few known faces surprisingly appeared. It was a long time ago Joe Penny and John Ashton where in the big titles. And it shows why. But it was nice, maybe the best part of the entire movie, to remember their prime days.
Otherwise, Stay clear.
Sci-Fi Pictures has such an incredibly bad track record that I am
amazed that they are still churning out movies. This effort by them
does nothing to break their long streak. In fairness, I will admit that
not everything was badly done. The locations were pretty convincing,
and some of the sets were okay. And... uh...
...well, that's about it for what's decent here. Everything else is REALLY badly done. I won't get into details like the uniforms, which were clearly wrong to this viewer who isn't an expert on World War II details like this. I will rip into the movie's really bad CGI special effects. These poor special effects may explain why the killer gargoyles stay absent for most of the movie - hard to build terror when you don't see what is causing the terror. The characters were also pretty weak. Maybe I could excuse the East European actors for not having convincing British accents, but I could not excuse the movie for having not one memorable character. They all seemed to blend together.
Must I go on? If you have seen one Sci-Fi Pictures movie, you can guess just how awful this one will be before watching it.
I'm afraid that like most Sci Fi original series this movie is mediocre at best. It just doesn't have any spark. I wish that I could point out some major flaw, but there really isn't any. Stock characters; evil Nazis's,nasty monsters, valiant ally soldiers and partisans. Whee! But the characters just spin their wheels. They practically have labels stamped on them. The VALIANT FLYING FORTRESS PILOT mouths a few words about how he idolizes Lindberg thereby establishing that he's a good egg and an all American joe. I'd love to see Sci Fi channel try to have subtle, nuanced characters for once. There's so much unbelievably good Sci Fi out there. Heinlein, Brin, Asimov, LeGuin, Niven, I could go on. Still, I hope that they keep trying.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of these movies that gets frequently broadcast on the SyFy
Channel . You can understand why someone might do their best to avoid
watching it but as so often happens there's absolutely nothing else on
so it was either REIGN OF THE GARGOYLES or having to watch a movie I'd
seen several times before and had commentated on it on this site .
After all I'm amongst friends at the IMDb and I can always share my
opinions amongst my friends here
The general consensus on this page is that REIGN OF THE GARGOYLES is better than most of the films produced by the SyFy Channel which is admittedly faint praise but some people have qualified this by stating it's almost a good film in its own right and contains a couple of good scenes . There's certainly contains the bare bones of a good film and one wonders if a film containing some downed pilots and SAS soldiers behind enemy lines during WW2 might have been better pitched to one of the major Hollywood studios . Indeed a cross genre mixing war and monsters starring Jeremy Renner , James McAvoy and Olga Kurylenko probably wouldn't break box office records but it'd certainly make a great night out at the multiplex . This SyFy production is let down by two major things
First of all is the budget . You want flying Gargoyles , squadrons of planes and explosions . No problem for a Hollywood studio with a lot of cheque books , but a very big problem for SyFy who can only realise these sequences via ... go on guess ? I'll give you a three letter clue - CGI . The unfortunate thing because there's so many CGI sequences the budget for it is spread very thinly which means it's often worse than you see in this type of production . It also seems to bite in to other aspects such as sequences where characters fire their weapons is it's patently obvious that the actors are just shaking their props around
The second thing is the amount of errors made concerning military matters and timeliness .Early a character talks of UFOs and flying saucers terminology that wouldn't have existed in 1944 . We also see SAS troopers with British Parachute regiment insignia and berets and over-sized B-17 Flying Fortress interiors where the crew have no need for oxygen and are happy to fly 20,000 feet in dress uniforms without suffocating or succumbing to minus 20 degree temperatures
In summary REIGN OF THE GARGOYLES is a mediocre film but one recognises that with a bigger budget and a bit more thought this would have been a fairly enjoyable piece of pop corn entertainment . Perhaps if Hollywood is thinking of doing a mixed genre film featuring monsters and the war with an international cast they could watch this film seeing the obvious contrast in what works and what doesn't
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie really is just baffling. It has a few good scenes, and
honestly, I'm usually a sucker for any movie set in WWII, but I'll make
an exception for this one.
First off, the actors have the acting ability of a cardboard standee. That just makes for a horrible movie no matter what you do. Second, there are inexplicable mistakes in the form of anachronisms that just blow it straight out of the water (example: the French Resistance girl somehow magically possessing a Mosin Nagant carbine (never available to France, or anywhere other than Finland and Russia during WWII), the Sten guns firing from a closed bolt, the SAS uniforms being completely wrong, and the MP40's with a 2mm bore diameter).
Did I mention the use of a MORTAR round to take down a plane? How about the fact that the Germans, confronted by an enemy, wait until he picks up a discarded MP40 and starts shooting at them before they attempt to do anything to stop him (and yes, they're standing there, weapons ready, staring at him the whole time)? Overall, if you need a decent laugh at the expense of some Nazis, I'd recommend this movie. Otherwise, I'd recommend avoiding it like the plague.
Interesting to read comments about this film picking holes in the correct way for a WWII SAS officer to wear their beret when there are hundreds of (below average) CGI Gargoyles running around. A bit like having a go at Star Wars because Chewbacca does not have split ends. The film is straight to DVD/Sci-Fi Schlock and there are thousands of other similar movies out there which take themselves a lot more seriously and are more in need of being deflated. The film tries hard and does quite well considering it must be low budget. A more interesting goof is the comment that the holder of the Spear of Destiny was buried like a commoner and then watching the heroes breaking into his tomb - hardly the resting place of a commoner. Nice comment earlier about NAZI interest in the supernatural and mention of the excellent THE KEEP but add to the list RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and HELLBOY.
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