Minotaur (2006)
By: Devon B. on October 21, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Lionsgate (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 91 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jonathan English
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Van Der Water, Tony Todd, Rutger Hauer, Lucy Brown
Screenplay: Nick Green, Stephen McDool
Country: USA
External Links
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You might've thought that thousands of years ago, accents would be strictly defined by the immediate region one was raised in. It's a good thing we have movies like Minotaur to show us how foolish that notion is; evidently local accents were so varied it might even seem like people from a small community were from several different countries.

I got Minotaur because I thought it would be about a large man-bull killing people in a labyrinth. I was envisioning something with the tone of the film within a film in Demons, but with some buff guy in dodgy makeup impaling people on his stupid looking horns. I was surprised to find Minotaur is actually a telling of the story of Theseus' (or in this case just "Theo") slaying of the Minotaur, not a story about youths uncovering a monster that had lay dormant for centuries. I was also surprised that the monster's a giant bull, not some man-bull. I was fairly worried once I realised the movie was set in ancient Greece and was low budget, but the film is okay. It's not always convincing enough to suspend your disbelief, though. If nothing else, Minotaur has highlighted that I don't pay too much attention to synopses before watching a movie…

The film starts well with some nice nudity, but it's very brief, which is always a shame. We get the back story of the Minotaur, and then we're on to a village that has eight youths taken from it every three years to be sacrificed to the Minotaur in its labyrinth. Last time our hero's girlfriend was taken, so he makes sure he gets abducted this time because he's been told he can rescue her. I think he should've thought more about this. Even in the best case scenario she'd been in the labyrinth for three years without any real way to clean her teeth. Anyway, Theo and the other youths (some of whom would fit right in as "teens" on 90210) are taken and put in the labyrinth. But something's different about "young" Theo, and it's been said he will be the one to slay the beast.

I didn't mind Minotaur, but I wish everyone got into the labyrinth a bit sooner. There's only so much time you can spend with Tony Todd lookin' like a member of Rammstein before you get a bit weirded out. Most of the FX are passable, but most of the CG is dodgy. The Minotaur's design is interesting; it's a decrepit, emaciated looking thing, and it's fun watching it charge around goring things, even if it is sometimes CG. The mythology is changed a little bit, but this probably wasn't going to be one for history classes anyway.

Watch for the magic wire that appears out of nowhere while the Minotaur has a guy stuck on his horns.
Minotaur's a new film, so the image is sharp. The colours are a bit muted, but this was probably a style choice to make everything look bleak. I noticed very few spots, but there is grain and it can be distracting in lighter scenes. This is probably more to do with the source material than the transfer.
The audio is available in a 5.1 or 2.0 mix. The 5.1 is vastly better than the 2.0, which sounds flat. The 2.0 mix's volume levels are poorly done, with distracting background noises brought more to the fore than on the 5.1 mix. The 2.0 is REALLY bad, and maybe it was just put together as an afterthought. Thankfully the 5.1 is good, and of course you want the movie in 5.1 while the Minotaur is charging through the corridors.
Extra Features
The DVD includes a commentary with director Jonathan English and editor Eddie Hamilton. It's fine. They keep the discussion flowing, but there aren't a lot of laughs, which is generally what I want in a commentary. There's also an FX montage that runs about four minutes and shows the Minotaur in various stages of development and a few other tidbits. There're 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, but it's mostly character and story stuff, and I certainly wasn't watching Minotaur to learn more about long dead Greeks. There're also timecodes on the footage, which is annoying. Rounding things off, there're the trailers for Beyond the Wall of Sleep, The Graveyard, and Maid of Honor.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Minotaur isn't one you can really make fun of, as it's mostly competent, but it also isn't a masterpiece of cinema, so in the end it's fairly mediocre experience. While it does feature what may well be the longest outrunning of an explosion ever, Minotaur is probably only for the die hard monster idiots willing to put up with boring things to see a fake bull chase people around in the dark.

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