The only thing I really knew about The Librarian was that Noah Wyle, previously known for his work in ER was playing in some goofy looking film, and the making of this film was getting in the way of whatever theatrical film I was watching from August-October. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was more than just a goofy little film, that it was the second in a presumed series, and hey, it’s not all that much about a library at all!
Written by Marco Schnabel in his initial outing and directed by Number One himself, Jonathan Frakes, Wyle plays Flynn Carsen, an adventurous academic with 22 Ph. D’s who works in a library that’s maintained by Judson (Bob Newhart, Elf) and the accountant Charlene (Jane Curtin, Saturday Night Live). He goes to Africa to search for the secrets behind King Solomon, and encounters a myriad of intrigue that few are familiar with.
Now I know what you’re saying, it sounds an awful lot like The Mummy, Sahara and any other adventure film you can think of that goes to Africa (or the desert) to discover religious artifacts. And you’d be right to a large degree, but the twist in this film that was executive produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day) is that the film is what it’s worth, which is decent fun. Not a lot of goofy humor and bad jokes, and the events in the story you can see coming a mile away, but Wyle basically uses his time spent as Dr. John Carter and transposes it into an awkward Indiana Jones-type of character. As his competitor and eventual love interest, Emily Davenport (Gabrielle Anwar, Scent of a Woman) plays off of his quirks and nerdisms pretty well, but she kind of goes from capable scientist to resident damsel in distress rather quickly. But like I said before, if you’re looking for a good story or polished characters, go elsewhere.
Well lookee here, there’s 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for the world to see. Sadly, it does expose how clunky the visual effects are, but the film grain is present throughout. It might not look as pretty as the version that aired on TNT HD awhile back, but what can you do?
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, which is nice, but it’s almost like having champagne on a beer budget. It sounds really muted with not a lot of surround activity or panning, and the overall audio track is erratic in its source material. Points for the thought but not the execution.
Nothing really. There’s a 10 minute look at the special effects behind the movie (OK for TV, amateurish if it were a theatrical film), full of plenty of split screen comparisons and interviews with visual effects footage. It’s nothing new, but its addition to this disc is a surprise. Aside from that and some previews for other similar films, there ain’t much else.
The Librarian might not be worth it’s weight in gold, but for what it is (good clean fun that you can show the whole family), it’s not a bad little romp. You could even say it’s a kind of sanitized serial adventurer. A definite rental for a good time, but nothing to buy here.