Rodriguez's 'Curse Of The Mayans' Proves Some Mysteries Are Left Unexplored
All too often, however, storytellers try to cash in on said fears: they’re perfectly willing to break bread with our impending doom yet sadly bring not so much as a dish to pass to the potluck. They cheat by drawing us in, daring viewers to wait for the big finish, only to disappoint, doling out dog-worthy scraps instead of a shared meal. Such is the case with Joaquin Rodriguez’s Curse Of The Mayans, a direct-to-DVD release (so far as I’ve been able to find) tempting mankind to explore one more diversion into what could’ve been … or may even yet to be.
“In present day, Dr. Alan Green, an American professor discovers the manuscript and the ark during his studies and believes he has found the key to the lost Mayan culture. He travels to Mexico and hires an expert team of cave divers led by Danielle Noble to explore an underwater labyrinth where he hopes to unearth more secrets about how the Mayans lived and why they disappeared …”
There’s more, but not much of it provides sufficient excuse for audiences to invest serious time in this Curse. Suffice it to say, writer/director Rodriguez hasn’t made a bad film: rather, it’s more like a travelogue wherein the plot of a B-flick suddenly broke out.
For those of you who have never experienced a legitimate travelogue, here’s an explanation: back in the days of my youth, worldwide travelers used to be invited to the local high school auditorium or gymnasium for the purposes of putting on an informational slide show about a particular trip of theirs. Educators used to think this was a way to bring the trials and tribulations of the Ugandan people to their students, but – being perfectly honest – all of the ones I attended (some required, some for extra credit) were relatively uninspired if not downright snore-inducing. No matter how they try, it’s hard to capture the beauty and majesty of the Third World in two-dimensional flickerings projected onto small silver screens, but kudos to all of those who gave it the sailor’s try.
And no matter how hard he tried, Rodriguez barely achieves the same results with his Curse: the rich culture of the Mayans – what little of it gets airtime here – feels less authentic and more staged for the purposes of a future audience. Oh, the production quality is there – much like the travel shows of my teens – but it isn’t all that interesting, nor does it sufficiently add depth of his paper-thin monster story of how they left behind a monster that’ll prophesize an alien race’s return.
At around 90 minutes in length, Curse is just too muddled by characters who mean little and circumstances that don’t add flavor to an already flat center. I don’t doubt that maybe – just maybe – there’s a nifty li’l 30-minute ‘Twilight Zone’ episode in here, but as this one stands viewers are better suited to fast forward to the second half and spare themselves the agony of inconsequential banter. The ending promises more to come – much in the way any good ‘Zone’ did – but I, for on, hope this is the only dip into these waters we take. As it stands, this 'Lara Croft' is all wet.