Saturday 15 February 2014

REVIEW: The Minister of Chance - Movie Prologue

Today was a Paul McGann sort of day. As well as listening to the second half of Big Finish's new release, Dark Eyes 2, I got to watch the online premiere of the highly anticipated 'micropilot' of Radio Static's The Minister of Chance.

Previously, The Minister of Chance has been an audio only affair, a radiophonic serial with a seriously impressive cast. A powerful tale of science-fantasy, The Minister of Chance has gone on to win awards and considerable acclaim. Dan Freeman and Clare Eden, writer-director and exec. producer respectively, have now made the first part of what will, hopefully, be a full-length cinematic adaptation of the series.

As with the audio original, the first release is a prologue, setting up the background of the main story. Nonetheless, the short works perfectly as a film in its own right, telling a tight, compact story with the promise of huge consequences. The geopolitical landscape of a completely unreal world is laid out in minutes, and is at once easy to grasp and totally believable. The visual effects compliment the location work beautifully, the music is even better with a visual accompaniment, even the costumes are wonderful (I want McGann's cloak).

It would be nothing without its cast, though, and what a cast. With only two speaking parts, the cast has to be perfect. Thankfully, it is. As well as Paul McGann returning to his role as Durian, the terrifyingly amoral ambassador for the nation of Sezuan, we have Tim McInnerny as the King of Tanto, the island nation that is unfortunate enough to find itself the setting for the unfolding events. If there was one problem with the audio series, it was that, on occasion, the sound design became overwhelming and lost some clarity. The translation to film is a benefit, for now much of the work can be done visually. The remainder of the cast perform in silence, but are no less impressive for it, ably supporting the talents of McGann and McInnerny. Simon Bugg as Major Apper, and Richard Oliver as the Spider (the Bugg and the Spider?) have great presence, and the tiny, impossibly cute Scribble steals it as the young princess who is the real focus of the film.

Like the audio series, the movie is being crowdfunded, with various perks for those who contribute, including early viewings for the members of the Ministry – the film has yet to be released to the public. Don't let the method of financing fool you; this is a professionally made and astonishingly well done production, one that deserves to be seen through to the end. If you're not a member, to see the prologue will require the purchase of a virtual ticket from the Ministry website. If contributing to the production of the film is not something you wish to do, then try downloading the audio series for free. I've a feeling that will change your mind.

Visit the Ministry for more information and to download the audio series.
A short teaser for the prologue is now available here.

1 comment:

  1. I saw the trailer/teaser and oh god, the close up of his eyes! Can't wait to see the rest. Msy have to listen to the podcast again tonight.