Do you feel like raiding Indiana’s high road to the doomed temple like Jack Hunter? Or do you jones to crusade to King Solomon’s mines with Allan Quatermain where you will quest for national treasures discovered from secret books? Possibly your star leads to a gate in Egypt where while searching for the Michelangelo Code an emperor’s mummy awaits. Afterward, perhaps you and Lara Croft will bring back alive relics hunted in ancient tombs filled with lost golden monkeys.
If any of this sounds like a fun adventure to you, then you have what it takes to enjoy “The Librarian” series of made-for-TV movies. They are Quest for the Spear , Return to King Solomon’s Mines , The Curse of the Judas Chalice . The sometimes likable, often hapless and almost always bumbling hero Flynn Carsen is played by ER alumni Noah Wyle.
Synopsis of a movie series in a sentence? The “library” is a secret facility that hides for safe keeping the most powerful mythic objects in history (like the Ark of the Covenant or Fountain of Youth) which are obtained by the current librarian, the newbie Flynn in this case, who globe trots into trouble on a regular basis successfully retrieving the objects, avenging his father’s murder and totally striking out with the ladies.
The first movie paired the loner up with a tough but pretty woman, Nicole. She acted as his guardian and shared the secret of the library. However she surprisingly disappeared off the face of the Librarian universe (and into numerous recurring roles on half a dozen TV shows). At least he retrieved the Spear of Destiny.
The second move got him romantically involved with a pretty archeologist (aren’t they all pretty?) who was not impressed with his 22 degrees considering she had 25. (Do not these types have hobbies?) However in the end she goes off to another dig (and onto a co-starring role in Burn Notice). At least he avenged his father’s murder.
The third move was his most tragic love affair yet. We do not need to tell you the dangers of falling in love with a vampire. Sure it is great for a little while and she has all these powers and such, but in the end it just turns to dust (literally in this case). But a least he recovered the chalice and stopped a very bad guy.
Jack Hunter seems more directly inspired by Indiana Jones and has all the love affairs in which he feels like engaging. Flynn Carsen on the other hand is an over-educated goofball whose lucklessness with the ladies seems destined to keep this loner -er, alone.
The visual effects are pretty good overall, though occasionally glaringly cheap. (There were some nifty ones involving the vampires in the third installment.) The music is adequate, sometimes dramatic, if not John Williams. The director for the last two efforts is Jonathan Frakes (“Make it so number 1!”) and his skills are certainly up to the task.
Bob Newhart plays the mysterious library curator Judson, who may be a thousand years old and the first most powerful librarian ever. It is a plot arc they barely touch each installment. The strong supporting cast ties the series together; a crucial function when entries are separated by years. Other supporting cast are Jane Curtain as the annoying secretary with a heart of gold stereotype, and Olympia Dukakis as the mother who wants to marry off her son stereotype.
These movies are not Casablanca, but they are good fun on a TV budget if you are inclined to enjoy the adventure genre.