Comic-Con: Impressions on Priest in 3D

After discovering that Priest—which stars Paul Bettany as a priest who disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece—was being directed by Scott Charles Stewart, the man behind this year’s disastrously lame Legion, my interest in the project immediately dissipated (cool publicity photos be damned).

Having now seen the film’s trailer, I’ve moved up my level of anticipation to: “We’ll see.”

Learn why after the break.

I won’t even attempt to describe the trailer in detail, as all of the footage was so quick cut and action heavy—not to mention heavily steeped in its elaborate mythology, provided free of context—that I wouldn’t even know where to start. What I can say though is that it offers an odd blend of period fantasy and techno-savvy weaponry that geeks will probably dig, and its vampires are like a splicing of the creatures from The Descent and I Am Legend.

The action beats were too rapid-fire to decipher much of what was going on, but there were a lot of spruced-up apocalyptic desert shots and monster battles and train-based cliffhangers and best of all, Paul Bettany looking badass whilst launching through the air at a vampire. As far as first impressions go, it was all very visually impressive. The 3D, which was converted in post production, looked surprisingly decent. Had I not found out afterward that it wasn’t natively shot in 3D, I would’ve assumed that it was. That said, don’t take this to mean that the movie is worth the extra ticket price to see in 3D: This was only a small sampling of clips from the film, and the studios are very aware of how poisonous the reaction to post-converted 3D has been of late. At a place like Comic-Con, where the response to a panel has the potential to drastically affect its buzz and box office performance, they wouldn’t risk showing off the footage if it looked lousy in 3D. It’s possible that they simply spent extra time on the two-minute trailer for the sake of garnering a better reaction.

Also shown was the film’s animated prologue, which was made by Samurai Jack and Clone Wars creator Genndy Tartakovsky. It establishes all the necessary exposition for the history behind the story, setting up the world in a far more visually pleasing manner than the deadly dull let’s-just-talk-about-this-for-ninety-minutes approach found in Legion. Looks like Stewart has learned a thing or two since that movie.

Official Plot Synopsis: Priest is set in a world ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. Paul Bettany is Priest, a legendary warrior priest during the last Vampire War, who now lives in obscurity among the other human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities controlled by the Church. But when his 18-year-old niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires in the desolate wastelands outside, Priest breaks his sacred vows and ventures out to find her and seek vengeance upon those responsible, especially their brutal leader (Karl Urban). Priest is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend, Hicks (Cam Gigandet), a local outpost sheriff, and Priestess (Maggie Q), a member of his former legion of vampire-killers who has otherworldly fighting skills.

Priest
will hit theaters on May 13th 2011.

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