Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Last Templar



Did anyone else watch The Last Templar on NBC? It was shown as a four-hour miniseries on Sunday and Monday nights. I'd read the book by Raymond Khoury when it came out a couple of years ago, since I'm a total Templar freak, and I remembered enjoying it, but I'd forgotten most of the details, so a movie version sounded good to me.

What I did remember was the exciting opening scene in which four men, dressed like Knights Templar, ride through the streets of New York to an art museum where priceless treasures from the Vatican are on display. The men ride their horses up the museum steps, behead a police officer then commit Grand Theft Artifacts. The opening scene was surely written with a movie in mind, esp. since Khoury was a screenwriter before he became a novelist, and the movie opener didn't disappoint.

What I didn't remember was Tess, the female protagonist played by Mira Sorvino, being so annoying. I really didn't remember the book Tess grabbing a crozier from the museum exhibit, jumping on a police horse in her cocktail dress and 4-inch stillettos and chasing the robbers into Central Park. I re-read the opening of the book and nope, that didn't happen. Excuse my snark, but it's like the screenwriters thought the character wasn't interesting enough as written so they turned her into a cross between Carrie Bradshaw and Indiana Jones. I shouldn't be surprised since Hollywood often dumbs down female characters. I don't think the problem was with Mira Sorvino's performance, she just didn't have much to work with. Neither did Scott Foley as a bland FBI agent, and I know he can do action; I watch him on The Unit all the time.

The plot wasn't much changed and the story is fairly interesting, and if you hadn't read the book you might have enjoyed it. Anyone else have an opinion?

Linda

12 comments:

Teresa said...

Hi Linda,

I didn't get to see either night of the NBC version because our TV was firmly tuned to special broadcasts of Chinese New Year galas in Taiwan and China (amazing acrobatic acts and fireworks).

I did, however, read the book, and I really liked it. I would recommend the book to any readers of your blog. If NBC reairs the miniseries, I'll try to catch it.

Kathleen Rowland said...

What a great cast for The Last Templar. Drat, well maybe I'll watch it another time.

Linda McLaughlin said...

I'm sure it'll be on again, Teresa.

It was a good cast, Kathleen, and it looked great. They filmed some of it in Morocco. In the meantime, you could always read the book.

deboradale said...

The movie sounds exciting, Linda, but you're right - Hollywood does tend to dumb down its females. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that more women read novels than watch movies whereas more men watch movies than read novels... I'm just saying...

~Debbie

Linda McLaughlin said...

Interesting point, Debbie, but I think it's more that men are firmly in charge in Hollywood, but there are lots of female editors in the publishing industry. Just my guess.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing?

pattinase (abbott) said...

I drifted away. The characters just seemed cookie cutter Hollywood. The locales were nice though.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Patti, sounds like your reaction was like mine. It was hard to stay with the story. The production values were good, though.

Kathleen Rowland said...

Hadn't thought about that, Linda. What you say about more females in the publishing business (romance fiction) is true. I like a heroine who is smart and takes responsibility.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Exactly, Kathleen. That is what female readers/viewers want, but the guys in Hollywood have yet to figure that out. As a general rule, the heroines of romance novels have grown up beyond the naive Gothic heroine roaming the attic in her virginal nightgown while the reader shudders in anticipation. It used to be fun. Now she just seems too stupid to live.

Barbara Martin said...

I didn't see the movie, but after your take I'm not much interested in seeing it at a later date. I loved the book, and of course, all things Templar.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Barbara, if you loved the book, I think you'd be disappointed in the TV movie. Too bad.