Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grande ourse: La clé des possibles (The Master Key)

Since genre films are almost absent from the Canadian big screen, the creators of Grande ourse: La clé des possibles deserve to be lauded. In fact, this film is technically well directed as much as its Asian or American counterparts. However, the appreciation of this film shouldn't be done at any price since the script is its weakest link. After all, is it that easy to adapt a TV series in less than two hours?

For those who don't live in Quebec (a predominantly French-speaking Canadian province), this film is a spin-off of a hit TV series I saw in High school. After the abduction of Émile Biron (Normand Daneau), his best friend, by an old witch (Monique Mercure), former journalist Louis-Bernard Lapointe (Marc Messier) learns from Charles Foucault (Frédéric Gilles), an academic, that he has to go in a parallel universe. Once in this universe, Lapointe must find a legendary key that can unlock parallel universes which are nothing but possible futures for individuals. Of course, in order to do so, Lapointe must solve a complex enigma in less than 12 hours in order to save Biron.

Now, let's get to the bottom of things: the first thing that is likely to impress you is the film's visual aspect. With its darkened cinematography, camera movements and special effects Grande ourse: La clé des possibles efficiently immerses us in a rather gripping story thanks to the solid direction by Patrice Sauvé. For that matter, I really liked the scene in which the old witch quickly talks to Louis-Bernard, Gastonne (Fanny Mallette) and Charles one after another while a mysterious boy is step-dancing on a stage of a conference room (most of the lights were turned off). Besides, we can tell that the scriptwriter did an incredible effort to offer us a story for anyone even for those who hasn't seen the TV series.

However, the movie's real problem seems to be the script. In the second half, Grande ourse: La clé des possibles tries to be so simple but yet, it creates its own loose ends. In fact, as the character of Louis-Bernard advances in his search for the legendary key, the film unfortunately abandons the foundation on which it was standing through the pathetic ending. For instance, while we learn, at the beginning, that Émile might die if Louis-Bernard doesn't bring back the key to the witch, the idea of a possible death of Émile is abandoned without any explanation.

Finally, it's hard to know how most fans of the TV series welcomed the film. However, all we can say is that despite being well directed and filmed, Grande ourse: La clé des possibles fails to be gripping in the second half of the film. At times, the film is a little bit predictable and the poorly written dialogues don't help us to always understand the character's thoughts.

Rating: 2.5/5

Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:104 minutes
Screenplay:Frédéric Ouellet
Director:Patrice Sauvé
Marc Messier, Fanny Mallette, Normand Daneau and Maude Guérin

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