I have a passion for story. This much is clear. I love telling my stories and listening to others tell their stories. Sometimes, when the writing or painting isn’t going well, I know it’s time to take a break and fill my head with other people’s tales.
Recently, I had picked up a bunch of movies just because they looked interesting. One of the movies I watched was by Lightning Rod Studios called Dark Nemesis (though their website lists it as Shadowlands and IMDB has it as Dark Knight).
Now mind you, I wasn’t expecting much from any of the movies I picked out. I just wanted to be engaged in someone else’s story.
Starting this movie, I saw instantly that there was going to be a lot of computer graphics and that the acting would be mediocre at best. Still, there was something about it…
Having played Dungeons and Dragons for many years and my children now role playing, we sat back and laughed. Where did the armor go after the first major battle and several people deserted the main army? Of course, if you were trying to escape and maybe wanted it to look like you had died, maybe you would leave your armor behind.
It was only one of several things that really needed to be explained further. Throughout the movie, I felt like I was missing about half the dialogue. Not only that, but I knew what they were going to say next. I felt like a god whispering to them. Still, I give full credit to the script writer. It’s the basis for the movie. Someone had an idea and decided to make it a reality. The writer started the script, worked at the project, and finished it. They also weren’t afraid to show what they had done to someone. I’ve spent enough time writing to know that the writer was doing their best but still hadn’t honed their craft yet. A little more digging to reach that next level and the writer will be well on the way to being a decent scriptwriter.
It quickly became apparent that they were honestly doing their best with the CG animation. They really did want it to look good. I swear I’ve seen the same tutorial on making floating, burning cinders that they had seen. A lot of time and effort went into it. I’m betting they learned a lot of skills as they needed to know them. Nothing they learned here is going to go to waste. They can use these skill on their next movie and get better. Isn’t that one of the things I’m always touting here? Honestly, it was because of their care with the CG that I realized how much passion they were putting into this movie. Anyone with money and people can make a movie look good. But when you have a small budget (this movie had a budget of $10,000) and only a few people who all have to have multiple jobs, you’ve all got to run on passion and do the best you can with the skills you have.
The actors did what they could with a script that wasn’t fully fleshed out. A lot had to be based on visual clues. Hard, brooding stares ran amok and usually without verbal emphasis to back it up.
The setting was well thought out and the costumes a good attempt — in fact, it was all well done except for the white masks. Those were just laughable. Quite frankly, ditching those really wouldn’t have changed the story a whole lot as there really was no story reason for them.
The music was spectacular. While I suspect it was purchased from a stock library (a good thing rather than bad), it still takes time and care to select songs which reflect the mood of the story.
IMDB has a rating currently of 1.5 stars for this movie. When I thought about how I would rate it, I’d give it 3 stars. I have seen worse. It was only in trying to identify why this movie succeeded while others from bigger studios and more money backing them had failed, it was because of the passion they (cast and crew for Dark Nemesis) put into this. no, it wasn’t perfect, but it was obvious they had given it their best attempt. They were having fun. They were putting together their art backed with their need to tell this story. I got that. Their passion really did come shining through. Huge kudos to them.
I hope that Lightning Rod Studios keeps up what they are doing. Each movie will get better and better. Movie-making, like every other art form, is a skill that improves as one practices. I’d love to see their passion for storytelling continue. Good luck and thank you for taking me on an impassioned journey!