Director - Martin Brest, Cinematography - Donald E. Thorin
“Now I have come to the cross-roads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew, but I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard. Now here’s Charlie. He’s come to the cross-roads. He has chosen a path. It’s the right path. It’s a path made of principle that leads to character. Let him continue on his journey.”
Epic Movie (Re)Watch #142 - The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines
Have I seen it before: Yes
Did I like it then: Yes.
Do I remember it: Yes.
Did I see it in theaters: I don’t think it’s ever been shown in theaters, so no.
1) From the very beginning you get a sense that this film has embraced the more fun filled and adventurous aspects of its world and concept (where I felt the original lacked). The Utah setting, bright color palette, sweeping camera, it all just works to set up the tone for the film! I attribute this to the change in directors, as Jonathan Frakes (of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) directed the second and third Librarian films to resounding success.
2) So the opening of this film features Flynn securing the Crystal Skull, which can show you the future. I kinda like that idea more than aliens…
3) Flynn getting distracted by a Sioux arrowhead in Utah (where there should not be a Sioux arrowhead) gets to how he cares just as much about history as he does saving the world (if not more so). To him an artifact of historical significance is just as important as an artifact of power and I love that.
4) I think the comedy/wit of the series is improved upon in this film, personally.
Flynn’s Aid [after he explains they were able to jump into a river and survive because the average depth of Utah rivers in March is such-and-such]: “But it’s April.”
Flynn: “April? Really? We should’ve been smashed like pancakes. I guess we got really really. [Beat.] April…”
5) Erick Avari appears in this film in a rare tough guy role.
Avari is a character actor most known for his roles in The Mummy, Stargate, and a brief appearance in the beginning of Independence Day. He usually plays intellectuals from what I’ve seen. Heads of museums and research facilities and such. So to see him as the brutish villainous General Samir is a surprising yet welcome change of pace from his standard work.
6) Excalibur is given even more personality in this film than before, coming off as a playful pet more than just a personified sword. I like that.
7) Somehow Bob Newhart as Judson is even funnier in this film than he was in the last one. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is. I think he’s got a bit more to work with maybe, a bit more of a secretive side is seen of him (not telling Flynn about his father, for example). Anything that allows Bob Newhart to show off his skills is something I’m happy with.
Judson: “Sometimes you have to give up what you want for the greater good.”
That’s kind of a shitty thing to say to someone who can’t tell his family and friends about his job, who constantly risks his neck to save the world, and who does save the world on a regular basis. It seems a little unfounded. Flynn has never appeared to be a selfish guy. When he lost the arrowhead he lost it. He didn’t go back for it, he focused on the skull. He has his priorities straight. So that was…it sets up a conflict later in the film but is a little uncalled for.
9) Me too Flynn. Me too.
Flynn [after he falls into a surprise party]: “Oh my god I’ve died and gone to hell.”
10) The added conflict involving Flynn’s father (how he never really knew him, how he died when he was Flynn’s age) and the presence of Uncle Jerry creates some GREAT personal stakes for Flynn. I’m a big sucker for personal stakes, for family issues to come into a big adventure film. The first film didn’t have that and that’s fine, but I think this film improves GREATLY because the filmmakers decided to give Flynn more of an emotional arc throughout the movie. I love that.
11) Most of the time I’m Flynn. In this moment, I’m Judson.
Flynn [about King Solomon’s Mines]: “That’s just a legend, isn’t it?”
12) And I’m back to being Flynn.
Flynn: “That whole, ‘I’m off on a mission, I’m probably going to die feeling,’ never goes away, does it?”
(GIF originally posted by @superheroinejewel)
13) Flynn, although more socially adjusted in this film, is still a huge fucking nerd. I love that. I love his giddiness and his crappy Humphrey Bogart impressions/references when he finds himself in Casablanca. That is totally what I would do. Probably. If I had the self confidence to do so. Which I don’t. So I guess I wouldn’t do that. Um…
14) Can I just say: I love Emily Davenport.
For one thing, there’s no femme fatale “this woman is sexy and we want you to know that’s her defining trait” intro for Emily when Flynn meets her (not that I dislike Nicole because of that), and she is able to hold Flynn off on her own both intellectually and physically. She matches his brains, his wit, his advances with her own. She is his equal in so many ways it is amazing. Actress Gabrielle Anwar is able to play Emily’s rough edges with her heart and passion brilliantly, while also having some off the walls chemistry with Wyle (both of the romantic, comedic, and bickering sense). The pair really work well together and the film is stronger because she is in it.
15) The Honeymoon Safari scene is hysterical to me, if only because Flynn and Emily are so uncomfortable.
And then of course it is made worse because Deborah - Flynn’s botched date from the first film - shows up!
And we get an excellent cameo from director Jonathan Frakes!
It’s very funny and just a great moment.
16) I. Love. This. Humor.
Emily [upon discovering a man buried in the sand from the neck down]: “Are you alright?”
Jomo [frankly]: “I’ve been better.”
17) Did I say I love the humor?
Jomo [to Flynn, after they save his life]: “I am indebted to you. You will come with me to my village. There you shall be showered with food and women and treated like a king.”
Emily: “Well I saved you too -”
Flynn: “SHHH! Can’t you see the man is talking! I’m sorry, you were saying something about a king. How many women was it?”
Emily [later]: “‘How many women?’!”
Flynn: “You heard the man it’s his custom!”
18) Emily’s passion about the Queen of Shiva, potentially one of the most powerful women in history, helps develop her very well. She’s still a child at heart, in love with the same story she read then that she is now, and it drives her. It drives her career, her heart, her path in life, and how determined she is about it shows off who she is beautifully.
Flynn: “I think I found the breasts of Shiva.”
20) The fact that Flynn ends up just running into his Uncle Jerry overseas would be sort of a stupid coincidence if the film didn’t set it up for a useful twist in the back half of the film, which I like that they did.
21) Awww, nine year old Flynn stories!
Uncle Jerry [about a book signing he took Flynn too]: “It was Stephen Hawking! A nine year old does not argue with Stephen Hawking!”
22) Jerry is sort of your typical Nice Guy™ turned bad guy. He was a “good guy” so he “deserved” to have Flynn’s mother and that life and King Solomon’s Mines, because - you know - he fought for his country and yada yada yada.
The twist of having him be the big bad of the movie is a nice one I think though. It increases the personal stakes Flynn has for the film and makes things all the harder as we get to the end. I mean because Jerry knows Flynn he is actually able to tempt him to use the Book of Solomon, to go against everything he is as a Librarian and use the artifact to bring back his dad. And he goes through with it! It is only because Emily can reach him and remind him who he is that Flynn stops! In my opinion, that’s some pretty damn good writing.
23) I like that Flynn doesn’t get the girl in this film. That he and Emily have a very Casablanca goodbye where she choses her career over the guy she just met. She’s obviously kinda sad about it, but everything we know about her character means this decision makes sense for her. I’m so glad they decided to go with that instead of the typical, “guy gets the girl,” ending.
Judson [when Flynn asks about the near death vision he had with Judson in it]: “…magically appearing in a vision on a beach flying a kite is not one of [the incredible things I can do].”
Flynn: “I didn’t say anything about flying kites.”
I personally think The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines is a great improvement on its predecessor. The additional personal stakes for Flynn’s character makes the story all the more interesting, the acting is as good as it was before (and at times better), and the addition of Emily Davenport makes it all the better! I really enjoy this film. It’s a whole lot of fun and if you liked the first Librarian movie or just adventure films in general this is right up your alley.