Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
In the battle over purgatory, Gabriel is the last of seven Archangels sent from Heaven to battle the seven Fallen angels sent from hell. As it stands, Hell has the advantage, which has transformed purgatory to a dark and dreary city. Gabriel must discover what has become of the Arc angels sent before him, and attempt to restore the light.
Is it good movie?
Despite the film's low budget, it was fairly well made. The film's story arc follows a very simple flow. Most of the other Arch and Fallen angel characters are introduced randomly throughout the film's runtime. These characters are either quirky enough that you can set them apart from the others, or are only on screen for a few minutes,making things easier to follow. For the most part, the acting was not terrible, but could have been better. A few characters come off slightly wooden and the delivery leaves a bit to be desried. Despite some shortcomings (quick cuts and mildly bad effects), the fighting scenes were pretty good, and the movie gets some bonus points for creativity.
The film's score wasn't overly memorable, although it never felt out of place. Editing was relatively seamless as well. The film did seem a bit simple at times, and definetely wasn't very complex, often following the same pattern. Someone would say a name and Gabriel would go find them. If it was a good guy he would heal them and they'd get mad at him for wasting his power, and if it was a bad guy he'd kill them and they would be dead. Finally, the film tries to throw a twist the viewer's way near the end of the film, but this twist really makes no impact. It can be shrugged off and forgotten, which probably means it shouldn't have made it to the final cut.
Video / Audio
This one comes in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and certainly looks pretty great, The picture is relatively clean and sharp, and considering its budget, that is a true feat.
Audio is also excellent, Dolby 5.1 really shows off some great sound design.
Gabriel: Genesis is a 30 minute featurette that is mostly an in-depth interview with director Shane Abbess, discussing how the film came about. It was a real struggle to make, and the creators were worried that there might not even be a crew due to all the night shoots! Good stuff.
Gabriel: Battlefront continues on from the other feature, and also runs about 30 minutes. This one has the cast and crew discussing their 'MacGyver' approach to making this film on such a low budget and with limited time. Also very interesting stuff.
Gabriel: Evolution is another 30 minute feature that picks up where the others left off, talking about post production stuff like visual effect, sound design and scoring the film. Like the others, this one stresses the rush and difficulty of putting this together, although the sound design part is easily the best.
Gabriel is an ambitious movie, but doesn't really pay off. The whole thing feels a bit hackneyed and heavy handed. There isn't a lot of original material here. This doesn't mean you won't be entertained because there's certainly a chance that you will be- but with that being said, all style and not enough substance seems to be the killer.