Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So I have a pair of movies to choose from. One would be ‘Married Life’, which by all accounts is a fine film starring Academy Award Winner Chris Cooper and the other would be this movie, which I obviously ended up watching, the Sci-Fi Channel Original ‘Odysseus – Voyage to the Underworld’. There are all kinds of high quality, important movies that we’ve watched and discussed here on the FCU, ‘The Queen’, ‘Notes on a Scandal’, ‘Frost / Nixon’ just to name a small few, but for the most part we get dispatched to see those movies, and even though we thoroughly enjoyed everyone of those films and highly recommend that you check them out if you haven’t done so already… sadly… when left to our own devices we readily choose garbage such as this movie, ‘Odysseus – Voyage to the Underworld’ over and over and over again. If anyone is aware of a cure for this sickness, please, help me.

Just so you know this here movie further fictionalizes fiction playing free and loose with well known myths, so if you have a love of Greek Mythology then by all means pass this one by as it may upset you. So we look in on an aging Homer who is writing something or another while a shadow passes outside his hut. What is this shadow? Hell if I know, and the filmmakers aren’t going to expound upon it so don’t worry about it. Homer tells the tale of one of the lesser known adventures of the great King Odysseus (Arnold Vosloo), as the king, his crew and Homer crash upon the Isle of Mists after being attacked by the evil Shadow Beasts.

These Shadow Beasts are some mean looking chintzy CGI sumbitches who seem deathly afraid of the shields of our heroes, but what does that mean? After a rather brutal attack by these monsters killing the majority of the remaining crew and leaving the few survivors barely alive, they are visited by an unnamed Siren (Stefanie Von Pfetten) who magically cures their wounds and has a haven on the island that keeps the beasts away. She will protect Odysseus and his surviving crew if they in return help her get off this island. Seems like a solid deal so Odysseus is on board, until he is

visited by the Goddess Athena in a dream who informs him that this Siren is instead the Queen of the Underground, the Goddess Persephone, and once freed from this island she will enslave all mankind. Athena just needs Odysseus to find the Cross of Hell or something and kill the Goddess Persephone. Odysseus thinks this is total bull, him having to do the gods dirty work, but whaddayagonnado? Turns out the shadow beasts are the love children of Persephone and Hades, and there are thousands of them. Girlfriend might want to check into the availability of birth control because birthing those winged beasts couldn’t have been all that much fun.

So the task for the King and his quickly dissipating crew is pretty simple. Kill a god, kill this god’s bastard god children, go home. Simple. Good luck with that Odysseus.

Outside of Arnold Vosloo’s ability to orate and make even the most inane nonsense coming out his mouth sound as if it has meaning and Stefanie Von Pfetten’s amazingly sharp facial features, there really isn’t a lot of joy in watching this incredibly silly movie. I imagine when you are approached by a production company who informs you that they are hiring you to create this epic, monster filled, exciting alternate tale of Greek Mythology, and then in the next sentence inform you that they are giving you absolutely no money to work with, that can’t be a great day for our filmmakers. For instance in this movie one of the first scenes was Odysseus and crew on their boat against a backdrop of the sea and horizon and the greenscreen was so suspect that I’m not sure the local weather report would’ve even claimed it. There are a bunch of creatures that one can choose from when making a movie loosely based on Greek Mythology but here they invented their own beasts and I’m guessing this decision was made on what they could afford to design. The whole exercise had an unfortunate low budget sheen to it and while we don’t mind low budget here at the FCU, we do mind an action based monster filled movie that basically consists of dudes in miniskirts walking across the park and talking a lot. This again leads back to the low budgetness of it all because even though the action and effects were suspect, the movie was entertaining, in a low budget kind of way, when it did engage in these suspect action sequences mainly because the actors where taking this thing so serious. These guys really put their best foot forward in this movie. Yes, a lot of the dialog was awful and the story was total nonsense but the performances, particularly Arnold Vosloo, were earnest. There was this one scene however when Persephone tricked Odysseus into believing that she was his lost wife Penelope… at least he allowed the goddess to believe he was tricked because he knew all along whom she was, that is after he got that ass. That’s outstanding right there.

It’s a Sci-Fi Channel movie and typically it’s an awful Sci-Fi channel movie that probably could’ve been a lot better with more cheesy action. When in doubt add in cheesy action and less guys in miniskirts walking across the park talking deeply to each other. Just a suggestion.

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