Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Tomb aka Ligeia. (2009)

Ligeia is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. It was first published in 1838. The story follows our narrator as he meets and marries the beautiful Ligeia. She is classically beautiful with her dark hair and is described as having a strangeness about her that includes being emaciated. Extremely intelligent in math, languages, and the physical world Ligeia surprises her husband with a vast knowledge of the metaphysical and dark magic. Ligeia grows ill and dies, but not before expressing a strong will to do the contrary.
The narrator is distraught over the loss of his beloved wife but soon remarries the blonde, blue eyed Rowena. The marriage is not a love match as Rowena cannot hope to compare to the narrator's first wife. Rowena becomes ill as well and experiences severe anxiety. She dies and is wrapped for burial. Her husband, who is heavily into opium, sits up with her body. He watches as she slowly appears to come back to life. By the end of the night Rowena has morphed into the very much alive Ligeia. Creepy.

The Tomb is an adaptation of this story. Other than the names Ligeia and Rowena, and the whole illness/possession aspect the story and the film are polar opposites. Do not watch this film expecting to see a faithful depiction of the story. It needs to be viewed as a separate entity.

******SPOILERS AHEAD*******

Wes Bently plays our narrator whom is already engaged to Rowena at the start of the film. They are in love. Ligeia is conducting black magic to contain the soul. She plans to steal the souls of others to help keep her own from fleeing her body as a mysterious family illness progresses. The narrator, called Jonathan, is put under a spell by Ligeia. He cheats on Rowena and marries Ligeia so fast it will make your head spin. Ligeia's illness worsens to the point she is forced to confide in Jonathan. He agrees to buy back her ancestral home for her when she tells him her salvation is there. In the basement is where generations of Ligeia's family have been doing naughty things in the name of science.
Not at her full strength any longer her hold on Johnathon breaks. He realizes all that he has lost for a women he does not love. After he confronts her she climbs to the top of a rampart and jumps to her death. Her spirit takes over the body of the young girl Loreli, the grounds keeper's niece. Loreli is played by Mackenzi Rosman who you might remember as the adorable Ruthie on Seventh Heaven. Eric Roberts portrays the groundskeeper. During Johnathan's time of need Rowena and her father show up to provide comfort. This is where things kind of spiral off into La La Land.
Loreli/Ligiea offs her uncle and Micheal Madsen's character as Rowena's father, and switches the souls with Rowena;s body all in the same night. Busy girl. Now Rowena is in the body of Loreli and Ligeia is in Rowena's body. Are you getting confused? I wanted to know where the soul of poor Loreli is hiding out. Johnathan catches on quick that Rowena is not acting like herself. How he figures out to go look for Loreli is beyond me. They reunite in a slightly awkward scene. His lover is in the body of a young girl. You are begging them not to embrace during their joyous reunion. Rowena has a plan to fix all the soul swapping.
Somewhere along the way she must have picked up a manual on metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Johnathan distracts Ligeia while Rowena stabs what is actually her own body int he back. They clasp hands and the soul of Ligeia flows out into Loreli who is guess is dead now. Casualty of war I suppose. Rowena gets her body back minus the stab wound in the back that caused no damage at all. Everyone lives happily ever after?
Plot holes galore. Loreli - Is she really dead? Will Ligeia stay dead or just possess another body? How did Rowena seem so calm about the body switch and where did she learn how to fix things? How much money do you think they are going to spend on therapy?
I was disappointed that the movie was such a far cry from Poe's vision. I wanted to give it a try. Let it stand by itself. In the end I was disappointed yet again. I could not get past how horribly the plot flowed. It was choppy. I kept wondering what was taken out of the script. The last third of the movie seems rushed in an attempt to resolve the issues with no regard to the viewer.

I give this movie a 2 out of 5

-Evil Lyn-

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the spoilers, now i know i don't have to waste time and/or money on this cheap mockery, 2 out of 5 seems very generous. The courageous an original thing about Poe's story was the portrayal of a darkhaired woman as a succesfull force of malevolance. What made the story so schocking is the way in wich Ligeia made Rowena's body her own, Poe here using imagery that reminds us of the practices of certain parasitic plants and wasps. But seeing the age-old obsesive aversion dominating the worlds of cinema and literature to portraying darkhaired woman as anything but helpless hysterical damsels in distress, i fear it will be a long time before we see a faithfull adaptation of this brilliant gothic tale.


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