With its array of in-house and acquired B-movies, Sci Fi Channel has staked out [branded] Saturday night as "The Most Dangerous Night of Television." One of the more interesting movies to air under the new branding is a sword & sorcery adventure called Gryphon [Saturday, 9/8C], a not-so-epic tale that is fun for some good reasons, and even more fun for some wrong ones… CLICK THIS LINK TO SUBSCRIBE TO EMTV, OUR iTUNES VIDEO PODCAST!!
A land divided, Vallon has been suffering through a civil war for a decade. Now, however, a wicked sorcerer has subverted the supernatural guardian on of the warring factions and turned it to helping him become immortal. The two houses that have been at war must now join forces or the sorcerer will unite the land under his evil rule…
There is very little that is new here. Each house has an heir [one prince, played by Jonathan LaPaglia; one princess, played by Amber Benson]; the heirs must join forces to find a certain weapon [a supernaturally enhanced pike that has been split in two and hidden] in order to kill the gryphon before an eclipse. If they fail, both the gryphon and the evil sorcerer [Larry Drake] will become immortal.
What makes Gryphon more entertaining than the average B-movie take on the epic fantasy is the very contemporary manner in which the characters speak – there are no thees and thous here. The prince has an aw-fer-crying-out-loud demeanor that makes him one of the guys among his men – though it is never in doubt that he is in command. The princess is a warrior in mail armor and a dirty face. One of the movie's fun ironies is that she, who really doesn't need one, has an assigned protector [and what a grouch he is, too].
When the prince sets out to find the pike, he encounters the princess and her men in The Valley of the Dead – and ghostly figures spirit away some of their men and spook their horses. As a result, he becomes her captive – with all the expected twists that you might expect. [What? You say they fall in love? Get outta here!]
Another interesting thing is that all the actors speak in their own native accents, resulting in a mix that adds an odd verisimilitude to the film – and actually helps make some of the more clich