Librarian (The): Return to King Solomon's Mines
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Stevie McCleary & Noor Razzak (20th January 2007).
The Film

"The Librarian: Return To King Solomon’s Mines" is like the female best friend that always has the crush on the main character in 80s teen movies. You want to find her attractive, but you’d still rather do the hot cheerleader. I’m just saying.
In case that was too subtle, "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) is the hot cheerleader. "The Librarian" is the nerdy girl with braces. Kind of adorable, yet you can’t shake the feeling that you can do better.
In this sequel to "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear" (2004), book-smart Flynn Carson (Noah Wyle) spends his time protecting humanity’s greatest secrets from falling into the wrong hands. In this case it’s King Solomon’s Mines, specifically the Book of Solomon. Apparently it’s one of those deals where, should the Ark of the Covenant fall¦sorry. Should the Book of Solomon fall into the wrong hands it would spell doom for mankind. I love how everyone always thinks that everyone else’s hands are the wrong’ ones. Anyway, it’s that classic it’s magic so we never really need to explain how things work? kind of deals. You know its bad news; you’ll just never know what it’s really doing. But it sure is bad, better stop it.
And so the story goes that Flynn begins a worldwide trip to discover where the mines area so he can make sure they’re safe. I know, doesn’t make much sense to me either. If you go to the mines I’m pretty certain the bad guys will just follow you they do that all the time. They do that in pretty much in every adventure film made, actually.
Flynn’s travels take him through Casablanca and Kenya, and through the path of a feisty archaeologist, Emily Davenport (Gabrielle Anwar) who naturally gets under his skin because she’s seemingly better than him. Will there crazy chase across the globe bring them closer together ad fan the fires of romance? I don’t know. Does it seem likely? Does that seem like something that is telegraphed from the moment they meet? You cynic, you!
Despite its entirely derivative nature, "The Librarian" fares better than most made-for-cable feature films. This is mainly because of the cast that, apart from a nice minor role from Bob Newhart, features in Noah Wyle doing the best with what he’s given. His character never fails to be interesting to watch due to the man’s natural charisma. Still, certain scenes like a drunken flirty scene and the film’s final five minutes are cheesy beyond belief. I especially felt bad for the actors in the flirting/seduction scene. I still haven’t decided Gabrielle Anwar‘s worth as an actress. She can play stressed and annoying’ but past that I found her just annoying’.
The film also features a lack of exposition as it pertains to how anybody ever reaches their destinations. It’s used for dramatic effect, but I’d sure like to know how both bad guys and friends suddenly turn up just when they’re needed even if they no way of knowing where they were, or had a way to follow. I blame magic. It seems to be the thing to do. "The Librarian: Return To King Solomon’s Mines" is a cute little story that is mostly inoffensive. The effects waver between passable and cringe-inducing at times, but are better than other cable movie fare. The actors keep the story alive and without their charm it surely would have fallen flat. As it stands it actually does come across as a safe, friendly afternoon movie. Great to watch with the kids, as it does feature a likable and studious main character. I think fun was what they were aiming for here, and that goal is achieved. So while it’s no classic, it sure is entertaining in its own way.

Video

Presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 this film was shot on a digital format and transferred to DVD from the original source, the image is sharp and clean in fact at times too sharp that it gives off an unnatural feel to the overall film. While colors are vibrant and pop off the screen they are contrasted with deep blacks and dark skin tones, this transfer is passable for a made-for-TV offering and will not likely win any awards but it's not terrible.

Audio

A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is offered here and I found it lacking in depth and was rather undynamic for a action-adventure film such as this. I suppose the production's budget accounts for this mediocre sound mix that is very front heavy with little activity and aggressiveness behind it. Aside from that the film's score makes good use of the sound space and the dialogue is clear and distortion free.
Optional subtitles are included in Spanish only.

Extras

Warner Brothers has released this film with only a short featurette and some theatrical trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is "In The Den With The Librarians Special Effects Artists" featurette that runs for 12 minutes 37 seconds and the special effects team talks about how passionate they are about their work and a look at the various effects created for this film such as animating inanimate objects, created CGI animals and a cavern complete with lava stream among other things. This clip provides us with a basic understanding of what these guys had to do but doesn't go into too much detail.

Rounding out the extras are two bonus trailers for:

- "The Librarian: Quest For The Spear" which runs for 58 seconds.
- "The Closer: Season 2" which runs for 2 minutes 2 seconds.

Overall

The Film: C Video: C+ Audio: C+ Extras: C- Overall: C

 


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