The Odyssey of Destiny (2014) – By Philip Smolen

Christian Adkins (Zach Pappas) is a soldier who is known as the Son of the Liberator. Christian’s father was a great warrior and he saved many of his people who are known as the “Exiles.” After many years of atomic war a new leader known as The Magistrate (Rob Springer) emerges and negotiates a deal with the opposing forces. However, the Magistrate hates the Exiles and wants to see them destroyed. He believes that Christian can do his dirty work for him because they are very much alike; however Christian wants only to save his people. He has fallen in love with the beautiful Jen (Katelyn Farrugia) a nurse who is trying to protect the children of the Exiles. It seems that the Magistrate has found that young children make the best warriors and he is determined to make weapons of war out of all of them, including those who are part of the Exiles. Only Christian and a few of his fellow tribesman stand in his way.

The Odyssey of Destiny is new post-apocalyptic film from first time writer and director Brent Hoover. It is an ambitious and energetic undertaking and attempts to tell a Homeresque tale of one man’s plunge into darkness and his ultimate redemption. Like Odysseus in The Odyssey, Hoover sends his hero away on a long journey against his family’s wishes only to find that when he returns, both he and his family have been changed forever and the only thing that can bring peace to the land is the hero’s death.

The film is unfortunately, very frustrating and didn’t draw me into its world. One of the major drawbacks is its script. It’s a very confusing amalgam of ideas that are not properly developed. I found myself rewinding the film again and again in an attempt to try and understand what was happening.

Another concern is Hoover’s idea of using children as weapons. While this heinous practice has found its way into some parts of the world, here the idea seems farcical. At the climax of the film, the Magistrate’s naval task force of about 20 ships surround the Exile’s island. When the battle begins, the Magistrate does not send out planes, rockets or even gunfire to annihilate the Exiles. Instead he sends out four young children with automatic weapons as his killing force. Their ferocity and believability is severely challenged by their cherubic suburban faces and their obvious lack of zeal.

The movie also suffers from some continuity issues. In one scene, one of the wounded characters is being flown out by a helicopter. When the helicopter is first shown it is an Apache attack helicopter (which only seats two people). This is then followed by a scene with the actors saying goodbye which is photographed in the back of a huge Chinook transport copter. Then, when the helicopter is shown leaving the area, it is once again the two seat Apache!

But there is some good stuff here. Chief among the flick’s virtues are the acting of Pappas and Farrugia as the doomed lovers. Hoover draws strong performances from both his leads. There is also fine supporting work by Quinton Johnson, Don Hartman and Don A. King. Hoover also has a strong eye for composition and some of his images are quite striking. And some of the film’s CGI effects are quite compelling.

But the main problem with The Odyssey of Destiny is that its script is too sprawling and ambiguous. It should have told a smaller and more intimate story. In its current form, it demands your complete attention but fails to offer much of a payoff.

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