Under the Mountain (Sous-titres français)
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When teenage twins Rachel and Theo investigate the creepy old house next door, they discover the Wilberforces—shape-shifting creatures that lurk beneath Auckland's ring of extinct volcanoes. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Jones (Sam Neill), and with the help of their older cousin Ricky, the twins must rekindle the unique powers they once shared if they are to destroy this ancient evil...before it destroys them.
"A little dash of The Hardy Boys, a little slice of The X-Files, and a fun-sized chunk of Jules Verne meets Ray Harryhausen." -- Scott Weinberg, FEARNET
"The special effects from the famed Weta Workshop team (The Lord Of The Rings) are top-notch" -- Kerry Doole, EXCLAIM
"the effects are on par with a Hollywood summer tent-pole flick." -- Ryan Mason, CHUD
"Beautifully shot...will certainly find a large and appreciative audience." -- Todd Brown, TWITCH FILM
"Harry Potter with a darker edge." -- SCREENHEAD
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am inclined to agree with MadMac's review on the on the one point that the twins Theo and Rachel would have served the story better if they had been younger, instead of teens. In fact, the twins in the TV version are 11 years old. Still I can't fault the performances of Tom Cameron and Sophie McBride.
Sam Neil is very good in this type of role as an authoritative mysterious, benevolent alien/sorcerer. His presence is one of the things that lured me to seek this film out.
I have to side with those reviewers who enjoyed the film. It is moody and mysterious. The story builds at a steady pace and erupts into a satisfying climax. The Wilberforces and their masters are unsettling but NOT overly gross. There is really no gore to speak of or large body count. If director Jonathan King was in fact shooting for a Lovecraftian film the whole family could watch, this is it. I think it works on that level.
I caught film on one of the premium movie channels, but I do plan to purchase a copy of it.
I will add that I'm glad I watched it, but it's not a keeper.
Highly recommended. It's good stuff.
I wanted to buy it, and came here to find it at Amazon and at that time the movie was only given a couple of... not so nice reviews and because of these two reviews this movie comes across as not worth the time to watch or even own.
Well, everyone sees things differently. Thanks for the great review from the man in Wa and his 5 Stars. I decided to write also. My first time ever for any review.
I found this movie to be a real exciting adventure and yes, a little bit slow at first. The kids acting was great. If you really like a good Science Fiction type movie, I think you will also enjoy this movie.
Kind of creepy and fun. Not for little kids though.
Go for it!!!
Sam Neill, at least for the most part, has been a given winner the past few decades. He's been involved with very few duds, so I treat him like Apple stock, a blue chip given.
However, not everything he touches is golden - this being a clear example.
'Mountain' has the hallmarks of a quality film - the cinematography, set design and special effects are equal to anything produced out of Hollywood. And utilizing the stunning wonder of New Zealand is, as always, breathtakingly beautiful. I also appreciated how the writers engineered the natural history of The Land Of The Kiwis into the story.
But this horror-mystical-scifi thriller falls short on so many levels.
There are three reasons I think this failed.
First, because this flick doesn't know what it wants to be - it's a production in desperate need of an identity. It touches with and hints at several types of films, but because it only toys with each idea, there's never a full commitment by the director as to what he wants to deliver to us, the audience. Therefore, we never know how to engage the story. It doesn't help that plot-holes abound.
Once heard a funny and very revealing observation about the creative process that kept running in the back of my mind while watching this production. The late Alexander Godunov played a wonderful character in the film 'The Money Pit'. Frustrated watching the ineptitude of a workman repeatedly dabbing paint onto an unfinished doorway, he snatches the brush away and says, "Up...down. Up...down. Paint. Don't tickle."
Truer words have never been spoken about any creative endeavor.
Secondly, I think this might've worked if the two leads were much younger. The story is childish and so it makes sense that this should've been a children's film. As I think back, I can see this being much more enjoyable if Theo and Rachel were, say, 10 years old. The magic of youth allows for a much greater stretch of the imagination. As young adults, this feels so much more hokey and outright silly.
And finally, there's something not quite right about the two young actors who play the leads. I'm not sure if it's a directional failure or if it's that these two just can't convey and project. But there's something undefined in their performance; it's empty. We don't feel anything for them because they're reading lines from the script, not living their roles.
Director Jonathan King needed a stronger and more focused vision long before he put images to film. He wasted such amazing talent and creative production for this disappointing product.