The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)

dir. Peter Winther

The Librarian might well be one of the all-time oddest franchises to ever exist. The so-called “Librarian” is actually a retriever and keeper of a series of magical historic artifacts – in this inaugural feature these are revealed to include Pandora’s Box, Excalibur, and the Golden Fleece, among many others. Our newly initiated Librarian Flynn – apparently hired into the role because he has an irritatingly exaggerated Sherlock Holmes-type ability to glance at a person and immediately recite their entire history – is charged with hunting down the three pieces of the Spear of Destiny. Cue a story so obviously trying to be Indiana Jones that it’s almost adorable. Almost. Unfortunately, The Librarian trips itself up with ludicrous plot twists and turns, including story beats around the language of the birds and Shangri-La. It’s as though The Librarian was so preoccupied with stuffing in as many references as possible, it forgot that good characters are integral to a story too. Instead, this features a frankly insufferable protagonist who never shuts up about his own awkwardness, a femme fatale love interest completely lacking in any personality, and a villain so suffused by bad intentions he does little but smirk and prance around. Yet, this pathetic excuse for an adventure film managed to spawn an entire franchise of related material, including sequels, comics, and a TV show. Apparently a heavily diluted Indiana Jones is a more popular idea than one would’ve hoped.

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