Artos Pendragon, captured by the barbaric Saxons as a young man, only has one goal in mind: to save his home, the Isle of Britannia, from the invading Saxon forces as the Dark Ages fall upon ancient Europe. Afforded the opportunity to escape his captors, he is helped by a mysterious seer who reminds him of his family’s Christian heritage and gives him a new hope by telling him to go to a fortress city on the island where King Ambrosia is building a new army to beat back the Saxons from their nation. Artos begins a new life there are refocuses on the vision God has laid upon his heart: free the people of Britannia from the Saxon oppression. Little does he know the intrigue, conspiracy, and battles that await him.
Production Quality (2 points)
For a very low budget production, Pendragon does the best it can with what it has. The Burns production crew was quite inexperienced at this point, so they must be given a chance. The production quality improves as the movie progresses, including the video quality and the camera work. Some of the battles scenes are well done, but some are not. The costuming and the sets are very complex and should be applauded when the small budget is considered. The overarching issue with Pendragon’s production is the large amount of poorly overdubbed lines that are inserted into many outdoor scenes. Overall, in their debut film, the Burns crew has shown that they have a lot of potential and can do even better with more funding.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)
The plot of Pendragon is extremely complex. In a noble effort to avoid narration, there are a lot of understated elements that need to be explored more. Though the film is over two hours, it could have been longer due to the sheer amount of content that is portrayed. Multiple characters have interesting arcs that need to be further developed. This is not a simple action plot, as it is filled with twists and turns. The ending is justified due to its historical genre. Overall, the driving point of the film needs to be better highlighted and the plot needs to be expanded, if at all possible. Once again, this is difficult to do without proper funding, and Box Office Revolution feels that Burns did the best they could with what they had.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
This is the most detracting element of the movie. If the acting was improved, this movie would greatly improve. It is evident that many of the main actors are members of the production crew and that this is their first major acting venture. While there is little to no acting coaching and the best actor has a very small role in the film, they must once again be given clemency, given that they had little money to work with.
Pendragon has a mammoth potential, enough to be a two-part epic movie or multi-part miniseries, due to its highly complex plot and untapped character arcs. But alas, poor funding often derails great intentions in the world of independent Christian film-making. However, the good news is that Burns did not settle for less in their sophomore film, Beyond the Mask, which indicates that we can expect even greater things from them in the near future. The Christian movie scene desperately needs studios like the Burns, who will flip the script and bring new genres of Christian films to the table.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points
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What is the burns next movie?
It is rumored to be another American historical epic. More information should come in March 🙂
I’m torn on whether to evaluate this movie by normal standards or taking into consideration that this is a first time production with a tiny budget. Neither way seems entirely fair.
In any instance the Burns certainly did fairly well with the resources they had. The sets and costumes are commendable. I have seen other Christian movies with bigger budgets that did a lot worse in this area. They also did a great job at managing a large number of extras, another feat not usually attempted by indie films.
The most distracting production issue is the audio issues that plague the entire movie. Much of the dialogue is difficult to understand and there is no option for subtitles, this greatly hinders plot and character development. There is also some bad audio and video syncing issues that make it look like an overdubbed foreign film at times.
The other main issues lie with the plot and acting. The plot is quite good in parts and has great potential but it needs to be simplified a bit. There are many complexities and subtleties that are easily missed because they are not amplified enough. I do love that they do not resort to narration but some better dialogue would have helped to flesh out the story. There are multiple characters who seem important but have hardly any lines for some reason, the female lead in particular is tragically underdeveloped and reduced to a damsel in distress. They desperately need more dialogue throughout the movie. Also the very end is a bit ridiculous and implausible (spoilers: the hero miraculously lives).
Finally the acting is just bad, I don’t know what else to say about that. Multiple characters are ruined by their actors but I do realize that they probably did not have many options.
In the end it is evident that they tried to make a different movie that avoids many of the cliches and common errors of Christian film making and for that the Burns must be commended. I am looking forward to what they do next.
I think they were limited on creative license due to the historical events surrounding this story. Overall, I think the next Burns film should be highly anticipated 😉
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