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HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Brett Leonard

Starring:
Adrian Paul
Thekla Reuten
Peter Wingfield

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Duncan MacLeod and his merry band of immortals find themselves searching for the answer to their origins. It is all held in The Source. But there is another immortal, a big, fast and mean dude named The Guardian who is out to stop them.
Is it good movie?
Highlander remains a classic tale of immortals and their struggle to be the only one… or something like that. And the television series based on the film seemed to carry on that tradition, making its star, Adrian Paul part of the mythology. The series has been gone for a long while now, yet the sequels continue. In Highlander: The Source, the adventures of Duncan MacLeod is still growing. He is now searching, along with others like him, for a mysterious source that is sort of the equivalent to the Fountain of Youth or something like that. But also searching is The Guardian (Christian Solimeno) who seems to be a very powerful and lightening fast baddie out to kill all the others. Remember now, there can be only one.

Now truthfully, if you have read much about this sequel, it seems to be almost vilified. While it is not the best in the series, it is not as bad as you would think. My biggest problems came with the script. I’m not deep into the mythology of Highlander, but even I could tell that this chapter didn’t seem to connect with the other films. This is much darker and slightly convoluted. Although I liked the story behind the ending, it really doesn’t explain everything we just witnessed all that well. Sure I got the gist of it, but it felt rushed. I liked the ideas behind it and thought the whole life affirming tone was fascinating. And since this was on the Sci-Fi Channel, it is no surprise that some of the special effects were weak. Way too much CG going on here.

But with that, I do have to give kudos to director Brett Leonard and his director of photography, Steven Arnold. Some of the shots in the film really were quite thrilling. The use of color to create tone and atmosphere kept me involved in the film. I loved using a different color for almost each setting. Many of the images here are very beautiful. Whether it is Duncan looking down on the city, to a trap set by the bad guy in the forest, this film looked better than the budget. I also felt that for the most part, the actors all do nice work. I really like Adrian Paul, but I wish that some of the humor his character once had would return.

Yet still, I found The Source to be a fascinating idea. I loved what the ending was trying to accomplish, although it failed to really make it as strong as it could have. The CG in that particular sequence was very off-putting and weak. I also didn’t feel like the explanation of the source and what it meant to the immortals wasn’t very clear. It was rushed and just looked silly. But I did enjoy the mostly humorless MacLeod. Yeah, it would have been better if Mr. Paul seemed more like his old self, but he still pulls off a good show. This is certainly not the best in the series, but there is a crude charm to this darker tale of immortals, yet one I fear may really disappoint hard-core fans of the franchise.
Video / Audio
Video: A very rich 16x9 Widescreen transfer. I love the atmospheric look here and it is well represented by this disc.

Audio: This 5.1 Dolby Digital is also very good. It looks and sounds terrific.
The Extras
Sometimes the special features make the disc. This can be said of Highlander: The Source. First up is Remembering Bill: A Tribute to Bill Panzer (15:22). Bill was one of the men that brought Highlander to life and this section is a very touching tribute to the man. It focuses on him at his happiest and healthiest. A nice addition is the beautiful song “Bonny Portmore” by Loreena McKennitt at the end with several pictures of Bill.

In Highlander: The Process - A Behind-the-scenes Documentary we get a very in-depth look at the film. We get a glimpse of all the waiting and all the frustration going into the making of the film. I’m sure there was a bit more anger and frustration than shown here, but still, you spend almost an hour and a half on the making of a film, you get to see a little more than you would normally see for a behind the scenes feature. Fun stuff and in many ways it’s better than the actual film.

With the Storyboard Comparisons (6:22), you get to see… well duh, the original storyboards in the bottom half of the screen with the actual film above. This is a short feature which offers up two major sequences in the film. I tend to like this kind of look into the style of the film. I would have actually liked to see more of this.

For all you gamers, we have Highlander Video Game Sneak Peek (1:09) and I’ve gotta admit, this looks like a pretty cool game. I’d definitely try it out. This preview is a whole lot of narrative, but the world of the game looks pretty damn cool.

Finally, we have a few Trailers including “The Forbidden Kingdom”, “Ron Howard Presents: In the Shadow of the Moon”, a really cool looking special edition of “Highlander 2”, “War” and “Saw IV”.
Last Call
With all the negative I had heard about Highlander: The Source, I actually had a decent time with it. Sure the special effects seem a little too Sci-Fi Channel and the script felt a bit all over the place. But I found most of the actors likeable and I really enjoyed the idea behind the film. I also felt that there was a whole lot of beauty by way of using color to emphasis the tone of the film. While I was somewhat entertained, I’m guessing the devoted fans of Highlander will find much to dislike here, even with Adrian Paul’s presence. Much of the humor he brought to the series is replaced here by a more brooding Duncan MacLeod. Yet I still was entertained enough to give a slight recommendation, mostly for the DVD extras.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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