First things first: all crystal skulls are modern fakes. All of them. Now, I know you could easily say “werewolves, vampires and zombies don’t exist either, but I don’t see you making a big fuss about that in your reviews of their movies”, and you would, of course, be right. The difference is, you don’t get a whole industry devoted to convincing people that those things are literally real, whereas you can’t wander onto a conspiracist / Ancient Alien / “fringe” site without being assaulted with multiple articles about crystal bloody skulls and all the special powers they have. But don’t believe me! I’m just a dumb movie reviewer. Believe archaeologist / journalist Jason Colavito and moderately douchebaggy investigator Joe Nickell – as Jason states, “The fact remains that not a single crystal skull has ever been excavated in a documented archaeological context, or ever documented as being in the possession of actual Native peoples.”
Second things second: this is another one of those movies where someone at the SyFy Channel got the synopsis completely wrong, and then no-one bothered to correct it. Here it is:
It is 2020 and the impending apocalypse is inevitable. Due to a rapidly growing Black Hole headed straight for the sun, Earth begins to fall into darkness, waves rise above Los Angeles, Paris is rocked by extreme earthquakes and Japan is crumbling. Governments around the world race to build massive space arks for the lucky few who will escape Earth’s tragic fate, though billions of people will be left behind. At the same time in the ruins of a Mayan temple a solution is discovered: 12 ancient skulls, that when brought together can stop the destruction. A team of scientists set out to find the hidden skulls and rescue mankind from imminent destruction.
Literally none of that happens. It sounds at least a little more fun than what we got. Anyway, on with the review!
The idea that there are 12 life-size magic crystal skulls, with a special 13th to rule them all, is a 20th century invention (literally hundreds of allegedly real ones are knocking about) and it also forms the basis of this, a brand new(ish) SyFy Channel movie! Some billionaire has paid a sleazy British guy to obtain all the skulls, and we first see him (the Brit) buying a skull and then planting a bomb in the suitcase of money he gives to the seller. What an asshole! That he, with zero character arc, becomes a good guy about halfway into the movie is one of the more curious choices it makes. The other side of it is Indiana Jones ripoff Richard Burgi, a good decade too old to be playing the character; his little brother dies on a skull-finding expedition and then when he gets back home he’s sacked from his University job, thanks to their main benefactor (Mr Billionaire) threatening to withdraw his funding (but secretly wanting Burgi to come work for him).
So Fake Indiana, British Murderer and Billionaire’s Daughter go back to the same cave where Indiana’s brother died, and again fail to find anything (they’ll need to go back a third time for that). Some ancient cult is protecting the skulls (stellar job on the first 12, guys) so there’s a few unexciting action scenes dotted here and there, plus the “tension” of the uncontrolled 12 skulls, finally brought together, probably destroying the world. Some NATO army guys storm the billionaire’s base in Vienna as well, although they’re the filler-iest filler that ever fillered.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say that every person in this movie was filmed on their own and they were all digitally inserted into the same scenes. There’s negative chemistry between any of the characters, and some of them (Mr Billionaire, Army Colonel) are so bizarrely wooden that I wondered if they’d used rehearsal footage, or hired people with the same names as actors who happened to be insurance salesmen, or something. The romance between Fake Indiana and Billionaire’s Daughter looks weird due to the enormous age difference, and feels weird due to the combination of not having the least chemistry or a story that makes their romance make sense.
A perfect example of how absolutely shocking the script to this movie is can be found in the montages of TV news shows that pop up every now and again, to help you out in case you’d not been paying attention. They feel like people who won an “appear in a movie!” competition…I’m sorry, I’m just making the same criticisms over and over, which indicates how rotten this movie was. Nothing feels like it has any “weight” – the lines are poorly delivered and written by someone who’s never heard adults talk to each other, none of the characters seem able to decide which side they’re on (for example – the NATO army busts in and starts threatening people, despite not really having the jurisdiction to invade a legitimate business in a friendly country – and they’re supposed to be the good guys?), and the ending is incredibly stupid too. Heck, it’s all stupid.
For sheer total incompetence, this could be one of the worst SyFy Channel movies I’ve ever seen. Nothing works, and it all feels like it was made by people who knew what movies were, but had never seen one or really knew how to make one.
Rating: thumbs down