Saturday, September 15, 2007

Highlander: The Source WTF?!

Dear friends, I come before you today on the brink of a grave disappointment. I have just witnessed a great tragedy which goes by the name, Highlander: The Source. This is the latest, and possibly final installment of the Highlander series.

Highlander started in 1986, Featuring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery as immortals. In the 1500's, the immortal Ramirez (Connery) took junior immortal, Connor Macleod (Lambert), from the highlands of Scotland, under his wing. Macleod learned of his place as an immortal and his destiny to fight other immortals. By taking the head of a rival immortal, one receives the life force of that immortal in an electrifying process known as "the quickening". The last immortal left standing would receive "the prize"; a power allowing the victor to affect the destiny of the human race, for good or for ill. Ramirez was bested, however, by a shady character known as The Kurgan. In the 1980's, Macleod and The Kurgan faced off as the last two immortals standing. With the decapitation of the Kurgan, Macleod finally won the prize, or so he thought.
The next movie seems to have been stricken from the records of Highlander Cannon. Highlander 2: The Quickening, takes place in the future. This movie featured the exploits of Connor Macleod while utilizing the prize, and included the return of Connery as Ramirez. This film, however, is barely worth note, and the future of the Highlander series seems to have tossed this from the story line.

The third movie, Highlander: The Final Dimension, places us back into the current era at the time the movie was made(the nineties). Connor Macleod, believing himself to be the last immortal, is proven wrong when he witnesses a quickening in the distance. Turns out there's been three immortals in hiding for the last few centuries, and they've just popped back up. So, after the loss of two immortals, it's down to Macleod and the new/old bad guy, Kane. So Connor Macleod takes Kane's head and now he's really the last surviving immortal...

Apparently, there's still a whole slew of immortals left. Enter Highlander the television series. The television series casts Adrian Paul as Duncan Macleod, an immortal-Macleod one hundred years younger than Conner Macleod. Duncan wields a katana sword with a dragon hilt, almost identical to Connor's iconic katana, which has a tiger hilt. The television series added a lot of depth to the shallowly entertaining Highlander series. This series ushered in new characters such as Joe Dawson of the "Watcher Society" (an ancient society dedicated to recording the exploits of immortals), Methos, the oldest surviving immortal(aged into his thirties), and Amanda Raven, on and off immortal love interest to Duncan. She also spurred a one season spin off of the series called, Raven.

Following the six-season series, came the final box office movie, Highlander: Endgame. This movie merged the worlds and characters of the movie series with that of the television series. It concluded with the self sacrifice of Connor Macleod and the succession of Duncan Macleod as the series lead (prior to this point, there was confusion as to who the lead was supposed to be). This was somewhat sad for poor Connor, who was thought to have won the prize on multiple occasions. It was a wise choice, however, as Duncan's character simply shows more depth.

So now we're down to Duncan as the hero immortal, destined to win the prize. We're all set up for the final climactic battle between good and evil. After decades, we're ready for Duncan Macleod, to best the last immortal and win the coveted prize, influencing the future of humanity for good.

That's where Highlander The Source comes in; or where it should have. The Source is a made for TV movie set in the near future. It's a post-apocalyptic setting with a decaying world, and Duncan is a changed man (Or so the characters say). In this movie, Amanda Raven is tossed out the window, (not literally) and the Methos character seems to have resurrected from the previous movie. This movie makes no mention of anything that happened previously in the series. Not even a mention of Connor Macleod and his self sacrifice. In fact, out of several movies, two television series, a Saturday morning cartoon series, and an anime movie, this is the first Highlander not to involve flashbacks of any kind. The chronicles of these ancient beings normally tend to be riddled with flashbacks; a testament to the many lives these people have lived. This movie, however, only had flashbacks to things that we already saw happen earlier in the same movie (as if we're stupid and have already forgotten). This and the complete lack of ties to anything prior in the series, were possibly the main contributors to the shallowness of this flick.

The plot was handed to us in jumpy, attention deficit scenes which often threatened me with motion sickness. And the plot of the overall Highlander series, the one where immortals fight each other to win the coveted prize; the plot which has existed throughout the entire two decades of Highlander was left on some freeway off-ramp holding a cardboard sign. Instead, we got to see some weak plot where Duncan enters "the source" of the immortals, a glowing bunch of whatever, and gains the ability to have children. Excuse me! I haven't been watching two decades of Highlander just to wrap it all up with Duncan being able to make babies! Nothing in the series, or even in this one movie for that matter, built up to this conclusion. In fact, the only thing this movie really had to do with the Highlander series is that there was an immortal guy named Macleod.

As for the anti-climactic end to this movie we got words on the screen telling us that Duncan can now have children. That's it; two decades and everything is wrapped up with words on a screen. It was like the end of a classic NES video game where the screen says "congratulations, you saved the princess", and then the credits roll.

And finally, to the dismay of any Highlander fan, not once did the iconic Highlander sword make an appearance. Even the mistake known as Highlander 2: The Quickening was somewhat redeemed when the familiar blade was finally revealed. But not once did we get to see the sword in this latest movie.

So, to conclude, I'm going to say, Thank you, makers of the Highlander series for this slap in the face. I can always use a nice red hand print, and you have provided.


Anonymous said...

I just watched it, worst movie ever made!

J-Dubb said...

Well, I think Alexander might be up there with it, but yeah, it's definitely among the worst I've seen.