Morning Star Warrior (2014)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(18:19)
Trailer-Aftermath and Suddenly
|Year Of Production||2014|
|Running Time||90:37 (Case: 99)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After a battle an injured medieval warrior (Adrian Bouchet) finds himself alone on the corpse strewn battlefield and is given a drink by a black clad woman (Ivy Corbin). The warrior’s best friend and childhood companion (Daniel Vivian) has been killed in the battle; the warrior wraps the body in a shroud, places it onto a makeshift sled and starts to pull it towards his home where he wants to put the body to rest with its ancestors. On his journey he meets with an old witch, who for a time steals the body, saves an old man (Mike Mitchell) from soldiers and a woman being taken to the Inquisition, and visits an aged king in a ruined castle with demonic attendants, all the time having visions of the battlefield, his dead companion and of a red haired girl (Rosella Elmi) burned at the stake. Is he mad, or is his journey something else entirely?
Morning Star Warrior (the film’s title in its credits is simply Morning Star) is sub-headed with the bad pun Knight of the Witch. The film is produced, written, directed and edited by Italians Marco Ristori and Luca Boni, whose previous feature directing credit is Zombie Massacre (2013), and the main producer is legendary cheapy producer / director Uwe Boll, hardly an imposing list of talent. The Blu-ray cover promises “a (sic) epic movie in the vein of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, IN THE NAME OF THE KING and BLACK DEATH. . . . Prepare for steel and blood, honour and glory, heroes and evil witches”. Most of this is totally misleading, and users in the IMDb have been quite negative about the film: its score currently is 3.0 / 10. I think that this negativity is likely to be a result of disappointment by those expecting a medieval blood and guts action film; in reality Morning Star Warrior is an allegory and an interesting one at that.
The storytelling in Morning Star Warrior is not linear, nor are the strange or supernatural things that happen really explained. Scenes are repeated, although slightly differently, the dead converse about fate, destiny, free will, choices and hope, the same actors occur in multiple roles (for example Mike Mitchell is the old man, the priest and the ancient king), a witch can age, or not, and negate wounds while there are also visions of the Inquisition and of a red haired girl who stalks the woods. Dialogue is sparse, for example the first 15 minutes of the film are basically dialogue free, and the audience is left to work out what is really happening, at least until the end provides the explanation, which I will not spoil.
Morning Star Warrior is clearly low budget filmmaking. Other than during the opening battle there are only about 5 characters on screen. While there is a number of action sequences they are quite clumsy and not bloody (the film is rated M), the dialogue delivery is wooden and the acting stilted, which does however suit the film. Those expecting an action film or epic fantasy like Conan the Barbarian will be disappointed but if you are intrigued by a film of interesting ideas that does not explain everything you may be captivated by Morning Star Warrior. The film is cheap, although not nasty, and while it may seem odd I think it is influenced more by films like Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) than Conan the Barbarian. This is really a film about free will, choices and redemption and if you go with it you may be pleasantly surprised.
The Blu-ray cover of Morning Star Warrior states that the film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1; this is incorrect and I am pleased to say that it is in the original ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
This is a very good print. Detail is great, every link of the chainmail clearly picked out, and the blood and grime on faces and hands shown. Filmed in outdoors locations in Tuscany the forests, creeks and shorelines in Morning Star Warrior look great with nice, natural colours; in fact the print is so crisp it highlights the poor CGI castle and army in the opening shots! Blacks are deep and shadow detail very good, skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast consistent.
There is some slight ghosting with fast movement against trees but otherwise artefacts and marks are absent.
There are no subtitles.
Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.
Dialogue was clear and centred and during the battle scene the rears and surrounds were utilised for the clash of swords, voices, horses and general battle noises. The remainder of the film has a more subdued sound stage although the surrounds still carry the music, thunder, bird noises and atonal “supernatural” cues. The subwoofer added depth to horses’ hooves, thunder, music and the supernatural elements.
The score by Gabriele Caselli was good, mixing choral and orchestral cues to support the vision.
|Surround Channel Use|
On start-up trailers play for Aftermath and Suddenly. They cannot be selected from the menu.
This featurette is very poor, consisting of unstructured on set video footage, without narration or connecting text, of the directors and some cast clowning around and speaking in, mostly, non-subtitled Italian. The only interesting bit was a look at the witch make-up being applied.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I cannot find listings for US Region A or UK Region B Blu-rays although Blu-rays are mentioned in customer reviews. Buy local.
The on-line comments about Morning Star Warrior are mostly negative which I do understand. This is not an epic action fantasy as much of the advertising makes out, the acting and the dialogue is less than entrancing, the story line jumps around and very little is explained. So be warned; I am in a minority here as I think that, taken as an allegorical journey about choices, free will and redemption, Morning Star Warrior is intriguing and it held my interest. If you are after something rather different, this is worth a look.
The video is very good, the audio is fine. The extra is poor, but I suppose there is one!
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|