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Druids

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 09/15/02 09:30:50

"It's as if Ed Wood was trying to remake Braveheart. In Bulgaria."
1 stars (Total Crap)

Holy fuck on a stick, who knew they could make movies this bad? The film stars Christopher Lambert as Vercingétorix, who led the revolt of the Galls against the army of Julius Caesar. The revolt ended in the battle of Alesia, where 50,000 of Caesar's legionnaires defeated two Celtic armies numbering at least 160,000, though you could add a few more dead to that total when you consider the dozens of audience members who would have slit their wrists watching this mess.

Christopher Lambert is so bad in this film you wonder why he wasn’t sued by the filmmakers for claiming a paycheck under deception. Wearing a mullet wig that sits about four inches above his rapidly balding head, and donning a Sonny Bono-like moustache that gives him all the ferocity of my drunken Uncle Bill, Lambert’s physical presence would brings laughs from the audience if it didn’t look like he has leukemia.

Also on he cast list is Max Von Sydow, and you have to wonder what bills he’s racked up that he needs to go signing on for a role in a Christopher Lambert film. Von Sydow is on screen so infrequently towards the final act that I wondered to myself if maybe he’d died before the end of the shoot. Certainly he’ll have come close once he saw the finished product.

Shot in Bulgaria, Druids is an epic historical drama featuring a cast of dozens. In the background of every scene you’ll find local folks drafted in as extras that have all the ferocity and acting talent of a small cod. When they’re required to run across a battlefield like warriors, they jog for a while, then slow to a walk to catch their breath. Some wave their fists in the air, but not so much like they’re angry, more like they’re trying to get the attention of a valet outside a restaurant. The fight scenes are similarly laughable. In Braveheart, you spotted the occasional extra not exactly trying hard, but in Druids you not only can’t find one that is trying hard, but Christopher Lambert himself walks through the battle scenes like he’s pulled a hamstring and is looking for somewhere to sit down.

If that were all that was wrong with this movie you could almost forgive it, but the problems go on and on and on. First of all, who writes dialogue like, “Your incomprehensible talking is doing me no good”? Incomprehensible talking? Is this something the King of the Gauls would say? Is this something my retarded six-year-old cousin would say?

Next you have the production design. Now, I’m not sure if the Gauls spent all their time in cardboard houses and caves filled with burning torches, but these ones sure do. In fact, they seem to take the same wooden towers with them from village to village, because I saw the same buildings in different towns all over the country in this film. In one particularly hilarious scene, a horseman negotiates his way through lines of Roman soldiers crouched in the ‘tortoise’ formation with shields in front and over their heads.

In a scene right out of Ed Wood, the horse clips the soldier on the corner of the formation, nearly causing him to drop his shield. A little hand pulls the shield back in and puts it back in place as the horse rides on – AND THEY LEFT THIS IN THE MOVIE! What, does the horse require an expensive refueling to make it go back and attempt the maneuver a second time? Is there some reason this obvious and laughable error couldn’t have been edited out? Was anyone actually watching what anyone else was doing? Did the director do his job via the internet or something?

Beyond the laughable writing, direction, editing, production design and acting (isn’t that the whole movie?), the storyline is almost incomprehensible. If you can keep up with what the hell is going on here from one scene to the next, you’re probably way ahead of the editor, who seems to have been on crack cocaine at the time he was working on the film.

To continue the cavalcade of dumb errors in the making of this film, we have the moronic decision to cast a German, Klaus Maria Brandauer, as Julius Caesar. In case you missed it, they cast the world’s most prominent Roman with a thick-accented GERMAN!

So who should we blame for this mess – the producer? The director? The writer? Don’t give that question a second thought because all three jobs were filled by one man - Jacques Dorfmann – and if he ever works again outside of a Wendy’s Drive-Thru window, then there’s hope for Osama Bin Laden to make it as President of the USA yet. In a move to open this flick up for both French and English audiences (and probably because they couldn’t get Bulgarian actors that spoke English), every scene was filmed in both French and English. This means that whenever they needed extra footage, all they had to do was dub over the original language and use it! And boy howdy do they do that a lot. Sometimes the actors lips are saying “We will have some freedom” and other times they’re saying “Cette chemise de coton fait mon mamelons démanger.”

In a seemingly last minute move towards making this dreck watchable, a scene was inserted involving an entire town of women baring their breasts at the Roman army. Far be it from me to ridicule nudity, but if this isn’t the most ridiculous scene I’ve ever seen in a motion picture, it at least comes second.

Druids is a movie so poorly conceived, written, acted, directed and edited that there’s honestly no reason to ever consider renting it, let alone owning it. Lambert’s acting alone is enough to drive me to seizures and when you consider that there’s barely any druids in a movie called Druids, well… the horse is dead. I’ll quit flogging it now.

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