|Rated: PG for adventure action and violence, some peril, and brief smoking|
Starring: Aneurin Barnard, Sam Neill, and Mella Carron
Released: December 5, 2013
When Mariah Mundi's (Aneurin Barnard) parents disappear, and his brother gets kidnapped, Mariah's investigation leads him to the Prince Regent Hotel, newly owned by the villainous Luger (Sam Neill, Merlin). Before Mariah's mother disappeared, his mother told him a cryptic rhyme: "Faithfulness will be your shield as a thousand may fall and hide, but no evil may ever come near you with gold at your side." Legend tells of a Midas Box; one that can turn anything into gold...and Luger will stop at nothing to get it! Mariah and his newfound friend Sacha (Mella Carron) know he must be stopped...but can they prevent the evil Luger from unleashing his dastardly plan?
Based on a book by G. P. Taylor.
At its core, this was an enjoyable, well-made, kid-friendly action/adventure film. Like a page-turning novel, this kept me gripped until the end. The actors all did well, especially the legendary Sam Neill, who has to be one of the most convincing villains I've ever seen in a live-action family film. All of the action scenes were greatly choreographed, and the special effects were good, too. The lack of sexual content and profanity--save for one utterance of the d-word--was rather refreshing.
Probably the most unfortunate moment was when a blow was struck that knocked out someone's tooth; it was implied, but still a bit much. Also--and this is a spoiler, so, be warned--at the end, Mariah asks his new friend Sacha if she wants to come live with him and his little brother, since she just lost her father; that was a bit weird. One other thing: This was supposed to be the first in a franchise, but, given the lukewarm response it allegedly received, we may not be seeing any more of these.
As a fan of family-friendly entertainment, I enjoy kid-friendly action/adventure movies, of which this was one. Other reviews and ratings of this film I've seen online have been negative; I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a good movie yarn, but, I found this one to be rather fun. If you do decide to watch it, don't turn it off when it gets to the credits; a minute or so into them, there's an extra scene.