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DVD Review

DVD cover

Billy Owens and the Secret Ruins (Region 1 Edition)


Starring: Dalton Mugridge, Ciara O'Hanlon, Christopher Fazio and Mikayla Ottonello
MTI Home Video
RRP: $24.95
Certificate: Dove Seal (12+)
Available 11 May 2010

Billy Owens (Dalton Mugridge) along with his three friends return once more for a magical adventure. When Thurgood (Roddy Piper) their mentor is trapped in an ancient amulet Billy has to battle through evil minions and danger to place the amulet into an ancient cursed sceptre, which will not only free Thurgoood, but legend has it will unlock vast power and wealth. But can the friends defeat their nemesis, Mr Mould, before it is too late...

Billy Owens and the Secret of the Runes (2010 - 1 hr, 24 min, 49 sec) is another teen adventure directed by Mark McNabb and written by Barry Cowen.

It’s hard to know what to say about this film that could be good. If the first film was of this quality I’m surprised that they made a second. Which is a shame considering the time and effort that both the cast and crew have expended. If I were to categorise the problems with the film I’d have to say that the overall effort appears lazy.

This starts with the title sequence, which has, obviously borrowed the Elvish script developed by Tolkien, well if your going to borrow it might as well be from the best. The problem here is that these are not runes, runes are something completely different, you only have to Google the word to find examples, but it seems that the director couldn’t even be bothered to go this far.

The script is derivative and is obviously attempting to make a Harry Potter film, on the cheap and the poor cast, including Ciara O’Hanlon, Christopher Fazio and Mikayla Ottonello, display some of the worst vocal delivery I’ve heard in some time. They swing wildly between over and under acting, each one sounds like they’re reading their words off a cue card, failing to create credible or convincing characters.

On the plus side the framing and direction are reasonable and would not look out of place in your average television programme. The special effect work well when they are small and understated but the larger effects are sub children’s television. The pacing of the film is poor with large periods of time devoted to nothing really happening.

The disc provided was a screener so its difficult to say what the finished quality will be like, though I suspect not great as the film looks as if it had been shot on a digital camera. The PR sheet states that the finished disc will have a 16:9 aspect ratio with a 5.1 audio track and optional Spanish subtitles.


Charles Packer

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