Thursday, August 10, 2006


Ah, the early 1990s. A rash of fantasy-based TV shows filled the broadcast schedules. Xena chucked her magic frisbee at evil, Hercules threatened to crush fair maidens between his pecs, and Beastmaster showed us all what it would look like if a stick worked out. It seemed there were no historical inaccuracies, no blending of disparate myths, no low-budget production values so outrageous that they couldn't be overlooked. In this heady atmosphere, the producers of 'Quest of the Delta Knights' obviously thought, "Why not us too?"

Why not indeed. 'Quest of the Delta Knights' bears all the hallmarks of a pilot for a TV series, but no TV series was ever made. What happened? What went wrong? Sadly, the answers were all there in the movie.

1. The Androgynous Hero

The rules of fantasy have a certain amount of flexibility, but your hero must be at least a little bit... heroic. An effete 12 year old with a gender-unspecific name ("T") who could reasonably be compared to Holly Hobby just doesn't cut it. Frankly, if it came down to a fight to the death between T and, say, Miss Elizabeth Bennett from 'Pride & Prejudice', I'd be backing Jane Austen's girl all the way.

2. The Complete Absence of Sexual Tension

The feisty Princess Athena (oh please) and the irreverent Leonardo Da Vinci (double oh please) were supposed to provide the romantic interest. They didn't. The lack of sexual tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

3. The Secret Society

Apparently the Delta Knights are a secret society pledged to... well, you know, stuff. Truth, Justice and the Renaissance Way, presumably. Leonardo da Vinci was one of them, which leads me to suggest that perhaps the producers should be suing Dan Brown for plagiarism.

Mind you, I'm all in favour of anybody suing Dan Brown for anything, so I may not be the most objective commentator.

4. Having David Warner Play Two Completely Unrelated Characters

How much David Warner does this movie deserve? MORE THAN ONE CHARACTER CAN PROVIDE!

5. Having Richard Kind Play Anybody At All

In a performance hammier than a pig on a spit, the best friend from 'Mad About You' / office klutz from 'Spin City' plays an evil magician. Imagine Queen Latifah playing Abraham Lincoln, and you're still nowhere near the levels of unconvincingness we're reading here.

6. The Logical Progression of the Plot

T: (reading an inscription in an attempt to nut out which direction is north on an ancient map) “The arrow must show where the Father did glow.”

Baydool: This map has been waiting for you. Maybe it’s your father. Now when did he glow? With pride at your birth. You point the arrow to the place of your birth, and that will orient the map.

Blandwagon: What the hell?

7. Sex Appeal

Xena had Lucy Lawless in a short skirt and a fulsome metal breastplate. Hercules had Kevin Sorbo flexing his impressive biceps in all directions. Quest of the Delta Knights had a prepubescent boy, a frigid princess, and a man in what appeared to be a harlequin outfit and a supersized beret. You do the math.

8. Action

Was the climax of the film a battle with a fearsome CGI dragon? Or a spectacularly choreographed fight between our hero and his villainous nemesis? No! It was a scene in which two guys pushed over a rock. A rather unconvincing polystyrene rock. Huzzah!

So, in conclusion, may this be a lesson to all you aspiring film makers out there; don't make a movie about a young hermaphrodite, a princess forced into a life of prostitution and Leonardo da Vinci as members of a secret society searching for the lost treasure of Archimedes.

No excuses. Just don’t.


Blogger The Dog of Freetown said...

Thank you for talking about Xena Warrior Princess, which prompted me to google her. Thoroughly enjoyable research it was.`

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most of those series were mid-90s onward actually, not really early 90s. I think.

9:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home