What with the screen success of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson stories and the super-duper screen success of the Harry Potter, “Lord of the Rings,” and “Hunger Games” films, it's not surprising that someone got around to G.P. Taylor's Mariah Mundi series, which falls into roughly the same category — adolescent hero fantasies with franchise potential.
Ah! Time flies so quickly it seems like only yesterday that “The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box” debuted on American screens — but in reality it was an entire month between the theatrical release and the new DVD and Blu-ray. Mariah (Aneurin Barnard) — who, despite the name, is a boy — is determined to locate his lost parents, rescue his little brother from slavery, and foil the evil plans of Otto Luger (Sam Neill). On a lead, he travels to a deluxe hotel, carved in the face of a cliff, where he is aided by world adventurer Will Charity (Michael Sheen).
That's right: Michael Sheen — not a name that leaps to mind for an action role. And for good reason: Sheen's a fine actor, but his action hero comes across more as a deranged leprechaun or a pixie in the manner of Betty Luster as Mr. B Natural, the title character in a short made famous by “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” They say that Charity begins at home; he should have stayed there.
The sole aesthetic justification is the production design, which creates the sort of hazy, Victorian world of Jules Verne stories.The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (Image, Blu-ray, $29.97; DVD, $27.97)
ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).