Dark Age DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Dark Age DVD
Reviewed by
Andrew Proverbs
on
Dark Age DVD Review This movie is a long-buried gem that deserves to see the light of day.
Rating:
3.75

Feature 7.5
Video 5.0
Audio 5.0
Special Features 2.0
Total 7.5
Distributor: Umbrella
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs
Classification
: MA15+

7.5


Dark Age

Aboriginal mythology, XXXX Gold, a giant crocodile, Ray Meagher- You canít get any more Australian than this movie. You might find a few things to cringe at, such as the over-use of local idioms (words like dunny, bloody, mob, mate, and tinny are peppered through almost every line of dialogue) but itís mostly done in the right spirit. Once you get past the opening few shots of helicopters and yahoo-ing blokes on horses, designed to stir up romantic notions in American viewers, thereís plenty to like about this movie.  

In the Top End, conservationist Steve Harris (John Jarratt) has a job about his hands trying to stop poachers from decimating the population of saltwater crocodiles. His job only gets harder when a real monster of a croc swims into local waters. The aboriginal townsfolk call it ĎNumunwari,Ď and see it as an important icon of their culture. But after it kills two fishermen and a young boy, the town sees red. A war party, led by poacher John Besser (Max Phipps) sets out to bring the giant reptile down, and they donít care if they wipe out every other croc in the region. 

Hoping to save the unique creature, Steve enlists the help of his aboriginal friends Oonadabund (Burnam Burnam) and Adjaral (David Gulpilil) to try to find another way. He puts a different strategy to his tough-as-nails boss Garret (Ray Meagher)- A plan that involves capturing Numunwari and moving him across land, to a secret reserve where he can live out his days in peace.  

But with the poachers watching Steveís every move, and his old flame Cathy (Nikki Coghill) caught up in the trouble, the conflict quickly becomes deadly. 

If you were to simply glance at the cover of Dark Age, it would be easy to write the movie off as a quirky B-grade horror romp-but that would be doing it an injustice. Itís deeper than your typical monster movie. The title refers more to an ecological Ďdark ageí than a time when prehistoric monsters rise and attack people. Itís about one manís fight to preserve something old and sacred. Steve is forced to question his own motives, just as the audience is, at every turn. Everyone seems against him, from his developer boss to his girlfriend to the stubborn and ignorant townsfolk.

The theme of progress-versus-conservation runs right through the heart of this movie, and the themes are handled well. 

Despite its B-grade aesthetic, the technical aspects are well executed. There are some suitably dramatic lighting effects, and long, fluid camera shots. The monster itself looks convincing, whether it be half-submerged or in full view.   

Itís a pity Dark Age wasnít made a few years earlier (or later), because we might have avoided the horrible synthetic music that seems to make up every film soundtrack from the 80ís, but this is a relatively minor gripe. 

Special Features: 

There are none to speak of, just an enlightening commentary by Jarratt and Producer Anthony Ginnane. 

Closing comments: 

While a lot of Dark Age looks and sounds archaic to us now, the themes of conservation and wildlife protection are still relevant. This would be good fodder for a film appreciation class (one or two moments not being suitable for younger kids) because of the range of film-making techniques on show and its thematic ingredients. This movie is a long-buried gem that deserves to see the light of day. A B-grade monster movie for the thinking person! 






 
 



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