AKA Shandar: The Shrunken City
Starring Michael Malota, Agnes Bruckner, Jules Mandel, Steve Valentine, Ray Laska, Dorina Lazar, Christopher Landry, Lula Malota, Andreea Macelaru, Ion Haiduc
Directed by Ted Nicolaou
Expectations: Moderate, the kids movies are always iffy.
On the general scale:
On the B-Movie scale:
I’ve put off writing this review for the last hour or so after the movie had ended. Usually I start right away, eager to blast out my thoughts into some form of a rough draft. Whenever I hesitate, it’s usually a bad sign. In this particular case, it’s a sign of a film that has left me rather indifferent, but I’ll try to make the best of it. It’s odd too, because I enjoyed The Shrunken City, or Shandar – The Shrunken City! if you’re going by its most recent title (and what it’s known by at a Redbox near you).
Shandar is about the mystical city of Shandar that was shrunken into a glass bottle as a last-ditch effort to save it from the destructive forces of the evil Ood. As a sidenote, has there ever been a shittier name for a villainous force? The Ood? I suppose I could call them the El Ooderino, but they’re obviously into the whole brevity thing so I won’t. Anyway, the city is shrunken and then 26,000 years and a dimensional journey later, it is unearthed by our 13-year-old heroes, George and Lori. The only problem is that by unearthing it, they have also broken its protective shield and now the Ood are back to finally wipe out that pesky city of Shandar. Boy, these guys really know how to hold a grudge. You’d think after 26,000 years they’d let it go.
My favorite scenes are held within the shrunken city of Shandar when the kids get shrunken down by mistake. In these scenes, director Ted Nicolaou’s eye for atmosphere and shot composition is on full display, reminding me immensely of his excellent work on the Subspecies series, and Vampire Journals in particular. The scenes are especially well-shot, with golden hues coloring the sets and light streaming onto the actors in the most dramatic way possible. Unfortunately, most of the movie was shot at random locations around Romania, so the cinematography in the rest of the film definitely leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, that would be an apt description of the whole film, really.
Shandar isn’t all that great, but for a Full Moon kids movie, it was pretty enjoyable. I fell asleep before it ended, which I guess says a lot for a 79 minute film, but I really did get a kick out of a lot of what was going on. If you’re a pre-teen kid that has a hankerin’ for a 90s B-Movie, it will definitely satiate your urges, but I think most everyone else will be disappointed.
I couldn’t find an embeddable trailer, so go here to watch it on the Redbox website.
Next time I’ll be checking out the David DeCoteau flick that I’m pretty sure is a Scream rip-off, Final Stab from 2001!