By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
If the movie Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (HPL&FK) has not crawled into your collection, perhaps the wait for all the movies that makes up this trilogy will be more worthwhile. Although I’m not chill with the wait, to see how the story introduced in Frozen Kingdom coalesce is what makes me interested. This computer-animated film is the first act to a grander story and it certainly feels like it. As for where the other two parts will go, Howie has a long journey ahead of him.
Last year, Shout! Factory announced obtaining the North American rights to Arcana Studios‘ upcoming movie. This comic book company has an entertainment subdivision to translate their printed products to cinema and this title is not their first. They produced The Clockwork Girl (2014, still awaiting a proper video release) and Pixies (2015).
After watching HPL&FK. I’m interested in reading the original material. Sadly, most of it is out of print and these original runs are somewhat hard to find, without paying collector’s prices. Hopefully, the upcoming Fan Expo Vancouver 2016 will change that — the comic book company is based out of this city. Perhaps a screening during this show will ignite interest and have this company consider reprinting The Undersea Kingdom (2011) and Kingdom of Madness (2013). Failing that, Howard Lovecraft and The Three Kingdoms does exist for book hounds to track down. Hopefully, it is not as elusive as the Necronomicon, and it does not take the reader away to a far away place!
I find the character designs more pleasing to look at in the printed edition than the movie. After two watches, I can gel with the style. This film was obviously made on a budget, so some of the CGI feels a little primitive when compared to other products. While the quality is not in the same calibre as the big studios, this product has a narrative charm of its own. His first encounter with mighty Cthulhu was scary at first, but when they become friends, the Old One is named Spot.
Howie is just a kid embarking on a grand adventure in a realm known as R’lyeh — perhaps part of the Dreamlands. Unlike the seminal work where the narrator travels through swaths of land to find Nyarlathotep, the child does not realize he’s being manipulated. While life in this world may be restored and he’s seen as something of a hero, but just how long will that happiness or badge of honour last? In order to find out, the next two films are slated for release in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Or, I can just buy the hardcover edition to find out.
3½ Stars out of 5