“The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box” (hereafter “The Adventurer”) is looking to be the next young adult franchise to make the leap from novel to the big screen. And while it does show some potential to be along the lines of, say, an “Indiana Jones” for the new generation of teenagers, there isn’t really much that sticks during the 98-minute runtime of this introductory film. “The Adventurer” releases to limited theaters on Jan. 10, and is also available on VOD.
In 1885 London, 17-year-old Mariah Mundi (Aneurin Barnard) has his world turned upside down when his parents, Charles (Ioan Gruffuud) and Catherine (Keeley Hawes), suddenly disappear, and his younger brother, Felix (Xavier Atkins) is kidnapped by the evil Otto Luger (Sam Neill). Mariah teams up with a strange but trustworthy man named Will Charity (Michael Sheen) to find his brother and figure out the reason behind his parents’ disappearance. Their journey takes them to the Grand Regent Hotel, which is operated by Otto. It turns out that he might know the location of the Midas Box, which can turn someone into the richest and most powerful man or woman in the world. And if it falls into the hands of Otto, bad things will happen.
The film does boast an impressive cast, with veterans Sheen and Neill being in top form respectively as the over-the-top Charity and the menacing Luger. But it’s hard to judge how other actors like Gruffuud and Hawes do with their roles, since their presence is extremely minimal. With the short runtime, everything kind of gets rushed through and we aren’t really given a proper introduction to a lot of the characters involved.
While this is a family film, it’s hard to not cringe upon hearing the names of each character. There’s Luger, Charity, and even some small characters like Grimm and Grendel. So, we’ve got the brand of a gun for the villain; the definition of giving to or assisting someone in need for the person who helps the main character; and then two names related to poetry and mythology. This wouldn’t be a problem, if the film was more of a satire.
“The Adventurer” doesn’t waste any time, when it comes to moving the story right along. When the parents disappear, we never see them again. And then Felix starts asking the same questions circling the viewer’s head in regards to their background, which Mariah answers. But once Felix goes missing, we’re kind of on our own with trying to figure out the holes in the development.
The production and costume designs are solid, but the action scenes are a bit of a letdown, with the final one being annoyingly anti-climatic. All of them have the feel that they belong in a “Pirates of the Caribbean” film – especially with the Hans Zimmer-like score by Fernando Velazquez.
“The Adventurer” gives a hint that the filmmakers have plans to make a second film, and there is already an IMDb page for it. But this will most likely end up as another potential franchise that didn’t make it past the first film.