The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013)    0 Stars

“The new name for adventure.”

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013)
The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013)


Director: Jonathan Newman

Cast: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill

Synopsis: Ancient mysteries. Powerful evil. And a fearless hero’s quest through a fantastical realm of steam-powered wonders and sinister magic…




I have a real problem with Michael Sheen as an adventurer.   Tony Blair? no problem;  David Frost? Certainly; Brian Clough? Spot on.   He somehow overcame ownership of a face more suited to comedy than drama to produce compelling performances as all of those characters.   But dashing adventurer? You’ve got to be kidding; with that narrow, upturned nose and odd choice of clothing he looks like a Phiz caricature of a Dickens figure in this movie, a drunk toff fallen on hard times rather than Victorian England’s answer to Indiana Jones.   But then there is little that is right about The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box.   As well as curious casting choices, in its attempt to build the foundation for a franchise rather than relate a fully-contained storyline, the film somehow manages to turn what is essentially the simplest of plots into an overcooked mess unburdened by tension or suspense.   No wonder, then, that it was released direct to DVD in the UK…

The plot joins Mariah Mundi (burly 26-year-old Aneurin Barnard, who has absolutely no chance of passing himself off as a 17-year-old youth) and his little brother, Felix (Xavier Atkins – Snow White and the Huntsman, Philomena) attending a lecture at the dusty old Natural History Museum with their parents.   While there, they are visited by the quirky and mysterious Will Charity (Sheen) who, shortly before their parents are abducted by the henchman of dastardly businessman Otto Luger (Sam O’Neill – In Her Skin, Escape Plan), warns them that Luger is searching for the titular box, an ancient artefact which, as it’s name implies, has the ability to turn anything it’s owner wishes to gold.   The brothers manage to avoid their parents’ fate, but it’s not long before Luger has Felix in his clutches, leaving Mariah on his own to try and figure out just why the rest of his family has been abducted, and how he can get them back.

He receives help from the perpetually wounded Charity, who flits in and out of the action like a man who has business elsewhere but feels obliged to pop in and lend a hand when he has a spare five minutes.   He advises Mariah to travel undercover to an island on which Luger owns a hotel which he believes is built upon the hiding place of the box.   Following Charity’s advice, Mariah gets a job as a bellboy at the hotel and, with the help of a sympathetic seamstress (Mella Carron), sets out to rescue his family and prevent Luger from gaining ownership of the Midas Box.

The storyline looks reasonably solid on paper, but lacks punch on the screen, and is populated with lacklustre characters who stubbornly refuse to capture our interest.   Mariah’s colourless character is made doubly dull thanks to a one-dimensional performance from Barnard, while the supposed eccentricities of Charity, the film’s most colourful character, are confined to secret winks and a questionable dress sense.   Sheen at least looks like he’s having a good time – which is more than can be said for the audience – and O’Neill handles his villainous role with relish, but the story’s habit of devoting too much time to incidents that have little or no importance to the outcome of the plot dulls what little enjoyment an audience might derive from them.   Judging from the number of loose strands remaining to be cleared up at the conclusion of The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, it’s clear that the producers had hopes of it being the first in a franchise.   It looks like they’re going to be disappointed…

(Reviewed 12th May 2015)

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