By Felix Vasquez Jr. | February 3, 2007

Visually, “The Black Pearl” is exceptional. Messner & Gasteazoro are no slouch in the cinematography department and it shows with some rather amazing landscapes, and wide shots that are utterly gorgeous. One of the better awe inducing sequences involves two of our heroes training for the journey along crashing waves. Messner & Gasteazoro use their scenery to their advantage to create a post-apocalyptic world that is both beautiful and utterly incapable of supporting much human life. I was floored that this was generally a low budget film, considering the talent Messner & Gasteazoro display with beautiful action sequences, and their ability to make very little seem so epic.

“The Black Pearl” sets down on a world that has now been minimized after the world finally comes to an end. Political turmoil, war, and the like proceed to destroy most of civilization, and now only two small tribes remain. Wouldn’t you know it? There’s a war between them, too. Considerably, the audience will be as conflicted on “The Black Pearl” as I was; and that’s because it bears a lot of potential within the seams of its story and performances. It’s a very meat and bones fantasy film that doesn’t rely on horrible CGI to attempt to convey its world. The effects are rather standard, and that’s not a caveat. And, as you would suspect, the directors have faith in their setting to do all the work for them. Story-wise, “The Black Pearl” is a mixed bag.

The story of two classes of tribes fighting for a black pearl that will somehow save the remaining humans is interesting, but is ultimately drowned out by the often confusing and esoteric mysticism presented. There’s just too much extrapolation and verbose interaction to involve its viewers. From the prophecy, to the black pearl, to our young hero learning from his mentor, to a demon that roams the forest, to a mysterious disease destroying the working class tribes, Gasteazoro is too involved in his own lore to get to the actual point. I sat attempting to involve myself, and only gazed confused attempting to decipher the entire mythos that unfolds in the eight minute epic.

Training, and special powers, and a demon that can take over bodies, it’s just all too stilted to pull even the most open-minded person in. I wanted to enjoy the lore, but all I could do was try and figure out what was unfolding. Otherwise, “The Black Pearl” is an above average mystic fantasy film, and the two directors really know how to develop their film with stunning direction. I just wish the overall film was better.

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