When the latest SCI FI channel original movie, Lost City Raiders was assigned to me, it was billed as being “Waterworld meets The Da Vinci Code.” I will admit, a shiver went through me when I heard that. I couldn’t think of less auspicious epithet. Yet, being a fan of many of SCI FI’s offerings I reserved judgment and I’m glad that I did.
Rather than comparing this film to a couple of movies I did not like, I felt the movie was more akin to a Clive Cussler novel. In fact, without actually being based on a Dirk Pitt adventure, it was far closer to a Cussler story than either of Hollywood’s previous attempts at adapting his stories to the silver screen. As such, I thought that Lost City Raiders was a good way to spend a couple of hours.
The story itself is set in a future Earth where a series of calamities have caused the world’s oceans to rise and catastrophically diminish the planet’s habitable landmasses. James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder (Lost) and James Thomas King (The Tudors) are a family of salvage experts on a secret mission for the Vatican to discover an ancient artifact that will stem the rising tides and save the world. Along the way they face mutated sharks, manipulative developers who profit from the lack of land and even an ex girlfriend. Following a trail of ancient clues, they end up facing a cosmological riddle that I found quite inventive.
Overall, I think the most surprising aspect of this movie is its scope. When one steps back from what’s on screen, the project itself is ambitious. With sweeping oceanic vistas, extended underwater sequences, elaborate sets and some pretty decent CGI, it is obvious that this production spent its budget well. The actors seem at home in their surroundings and turned in good performances all around.
Looking to the negative, I think there could have been a little more challenge for our intrepid heroes. All things considered, it was just a little too easy for them to surmount the odds. There was never a time I that I feared they wouldn’t succeed at their goals, which created a story that was just a little too pat. On top of that, I felt the pacing seemed hurried at a times, as if the characters knew they had to get through certain hoops in the time allotted. Lastly, there was one incident involving two boats – you’ll know what I am talking about when you see it – that stretched the limits of my willing suspension of disbelief. There are certain physical laws, like those that go into the construction of a boat, which can’t be altered for the convenience of resolving a plot point.
The negatives definitely do not outweigh the positives in this case though. Therefore, Lost City Raiders is excellent TV fair and a worth addition to the SCI FI Saturday night lineup this week.
Lost City Raiders premieres: Saturday, November 22 at 9PM on the SCI FI Channel