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Cry of the Winged Serpent did have an intriguing idea going for it, though I was somewhat dubious as well considering that this is Jim Wynorski we're talking about here. I found myself surprised, as while it is not a great movie I did it. It is not without its problems though. I do think Cry of the Winged Serpent could have been longer by a couple of minutes, while the pacing is generally solid there were a few moments that felt rushed. The special effects are definitely far better than most other Wynorski efforts, and certainly beat anything that SyFy and The Asylum ever did, but I'd only consider the overall quality decent in alternative to great, though there is the odd moment where they do sport a rough-around-the-edges design.
Another thing that Wynorski fans and detractors would note is how tame the gore, attacks and profanity are in comparison to his other work. Some may be disappointed, others may find it refreshing in a somewhat nostalgic sense. I myself am on the fence, I did like that there wasn't any overuse that would imply more of a emphasis of quantity over quality, however the tameness of it all did detract from any realism Cry of the Winged Serpent had. But the biggest rough patch of Cry of the Winged Serpent was the dream sequence, which in terms of how it was staged was very ineptly done.
However, the scenery was striking and at least had some colour, and the editing did have coherency. The music is also much improved over the generic and sluggish orchestration and tempo I was anticipating. It manages to be catchy and helps to enhance the mood. The creature is not the most menacing one on the block mainly to do actually with the tameness of the attacks and such, but it didn't feel poorly-utilised or just there for the sake of it, again an improvement. The dialogue is snappy and smart especially in the banter, and there were times where I did find myself amused. Okay there may be still the odd cheesy line but compared to others it is not too big a problem, and it wasn't the kind of cheesy that makes you want to rip your teeth out.
The story is never dull and less predictable than anticipated. It also succeeds in maintaining one's interest all the time and having a sense of fun throughout. Aand while elements from movies like Q and The Winged Serpent are combined, Cry of the Winged Serpent doesn't make as blatant a mistake as stealing directly from them. Of course the characters are clichés, which considering the sort of movie Cry of the Winged Serpent was inevitable. The clichés aren't necessarily the problem in movies though, it is how they are written. I did worry that the characters here would be cardboard and annoying, but actually the characters do have likability and they are somewhat interesting.
Wynorski's direction is at least assured and in keeping with the film's fun nature. The acting is well above-average, Maxwell Caulfield has a gruffer persona than usual but he does acquit himself credibly in that regard. What was surprising though was Glori-Ann Gilbert, as beautiful as she is, for the first time ever actually trying to act and she is entertaining with it.
All in all, while there are better movies around(but also much worse), I liked Cry of the Winged Serpent and do consider it one of Wynorski's better efforts in quite some time come to think of it. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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