Under the Mountain


Adventure / Drama

IMDb Rating 4.9


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91 min
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91 min
P/S 0 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by larry-411 8

I attended the North American Premiere of "Under the Mountain" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. The film is a love song to New Zealand's volcanoes. Jonathan King's fantasy tale is "Lord of the Rings" meets "Alien" -- it may be a bit scary for younger kids, though. Sam Neill does a star turn here as an aging wizard-like Fagan. Only he has the knowledge to help save the world from the evil Gargantua. But it's up to teenage twins Theo and Rachel (young newcomers Tom Cameron and Sophie McBride) to wield the power. The charming kids steal the show here and couldn't be more engaging. The multi-layered story more than held my interest -- there's plenty here for adults and youth alike. Production values are stellar with mind-boggling visual and special effects, and "Under the Mountain" boasts one of the best scores I've heard in a long time. The lush cinematography amounts to a New Zealand travelogue. The film is dazzling and puts many others of its ilk to shame. "Under the Mountain" should do well among family audiences.

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Reviewed by slumbergod 3

I&#39;d waited for this one for ages thanks to some fond memories of the original TV adaptation from when I was a child. I suspect that those memories made me expect a lot more that what was delivered here.<br/><br/>The plot is okay for a simple science fiction story but don&#39;t expect anything epic. The target audience for this seems to be children so in terms of entertainment value for adults it is rather limited -- fans of the original show, supporters of NZ cinema, and those who enjoy sci-fi. I would expect most adults not fitting into these categories are going to find this a boring film.<br/><br/>The special effects are okay. For the story, there is the right amount and the quality is acceptable. The movie is more about the characters than flashy special effects so here the balance seems about right.<br/><br/>The real problem with production is the same that plagues many New Zealand productions - bad script writing and terrible acting. I watch all the NZ films I can and I am always hoping they will improve but rarely am I surprised in a pleasant way. Whomever writes their scripts needs to spend more time watching real people converse. Part of the problem with the wooden acting is that their lines just don&#39;t feel natural so how can they be delivered in a believable way. If you are not a Kiwi or Australian you may not even notice how clunky the acting is; for us it is painful at times! Interestingly, some of the most clunky delivery comes from Sam Neil. Don&#39;t hold it against him though; he didn&#39;t have much to work with here and he *is* helping out NZ cinema.<br/><br/>The nicest thing about this movie is that it is not Hollywood junk. The characters, while not particularly convincing nor likable, are like people you would see on an everyday street. They are not perfect Hollywood models with glowing white teeth and perfect makeup and hair. That in itself is a refreshing change.<br/><br/>This movie doesn&#39;t extend NZ cinema to any great new heights, nor is it every going to be a classic. It&#39;s just a ho-hum movie that might amuse for an hour and a half then be forgotten.

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Reviewed by rrasull 5

There are only two reasons why i would waste my time writing about a movie. It is either because its brilliant or because it&#39;s a terrible waste of time! This movie falls into the latter category. Halfway into the movie, i find myself looking at the clock. Unfortunately, it didn&#39;t get any better. Wow, such great premise, how the hell did they miss the mark? The director is to blame here. It was so so lame and boring. The actors did a good job, though i would have to say that sometimes the reaction factor is kind of weak. Example, when Mr Jones was trying to heal Rachel, flames of fire came out of his hand, in reality any tom dick and harry would find this amazingly unreal and you would expect them to react in disbelief, but on the contrary, the kids are acted like they have seen this before. Wowsers! This movie gets a C from me.

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