I know. I've been gone and completely inconsistent. I have a few days off and will be blasting through my queue on Netflix. The first one I chose to re-emerge with is Riese. As IMDb says:
Riese, a seemingly random wanderer, is being hunted by a terrifying religious cult, The Sect. Traveling from nation to nation for years, she is accompanied only by a wolf, Fenrir. Together they must evade the assassins sent by the Sect - who'll stop at nothing to complete the task they failed to achieve many years ago.
However, it is soon clear this man is not friend, but a member of The Sect. He tells her how her little brother survived and was taken by The Sect. He is the chosen one but first they had to "fix" him. They tested the operation on a boy they referred to as the prototype and then executed the surgeries masterfully on him. It is then revealed that Trennan, the man who has been searching for her, is actually her brother. He works for The Sect, but his intentions toward Riese are still unclear.
- Exposition with obvious narration throughout. My God this was annoying. If a movie has to use narration, it should tell me something I don't know, or is hard to understand. In this instance it was used to restate facts that the characters had JUST spoken. Narration can often add to the essence of a movie by giving you knowledge from a wise, unseen storyteller. It didn't work in this case. It really just distracts.
- A map as prop used ineffectively. This may be a new tick I formed by watching Game of Thrones. GoT uses the map well and does a good job of dividing the land and helping the viewer/reader understand how the kingdom is divided and the characteristics of those particular people. The movie did not do that. The map was an ill-properly issued visual.
- No real sense of the antagonists. When Amara was the main antagonist it was clear what her motivation was. Get rid of Riese once and for all. However, when the new element of The Sect began to emerge it was not really clear who they are. I understand they wish to undermine Amara, but that's it. The tag line talks about a religious cult, but all you ever see is a simple secret ceremony. I think the story would have done some wonderful things by exploring the workings of The Sect. As it is now, the writers would have done better by calling them a dissenting regime, or given the group a name like the Bolsheviks.
- A resistance that exists but that is of no use until the end. Self-explanatory. The movie would cut to them for two minutes to check in. But it was actually distracting to the story. It would have been interesting to make them a mythical group that emerges at the end.
- Plot goes no where. When Riese is at the hospital and finds that the babies are being shipped to another lcoation I thought this would be a major item to explore. They did not. I don't understand what they were trying to do, but it would have been interesting to see what was happening with the babies and maybe it tied into the demented boys at the second village. This simply asked more questions than were answered.
- Mislabeled as fantasy, barely science fiction. No elements of this story ring as fantasy and not really science fiction. I suppose the operations on Trennan and the prototype make it kind of sci-fi, but it feels like a stretch. Steampunk to me is a fashion statement, but not a genre of movie and literature. Categorizing it as such, seemed like a way to lure in a certain audience and frankly, it was a cheap trick.