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Barking mad & a bit of a giggle
on 7 July 2009
Storming bravely into the rather overused genre of fantasy parody comes this 6 part BBC comedy. Featuring a clueless all American hero,(Krod), & his brainless companions, Zezelryck the magician with no powers , Bruce a gay prisoner they release & Loquasto a half man half pig brute. With them travels a warrior pagan called Aneka, formerly Krod's girlfriend, whose thirst for fighting is only outdone by her inability to say no to any man or indeed men.
This hopeless quintet are chosen to help free the land from oppression by the evil Chancellor Dongallor & his aide Barnabus. Dongalor is played by Matt Lucas and in truth much of this series success is down to him. He plays the pint size egomaniac with great relish and a fine sense of fun is brought to the screen every time he appears. Utterly ruthless & completely self obsessed he thinks nothing of killing a young womans father & then trying to woo her straight away. Lucas swings his characters moods all over the place and really brings him to life with all sorts of mannerisms and ticks.
The sets and costumes are up to scratch and the plot zips along at a fair old pace. Along the way a host of characters appear briefly to add interest including John Rhys Davis as a proper wizard, and a smart turn from Jonathan Slinger as the complete & utter perv Biclops.
The usual fighting & quest for adventure ensues & there are times when you feel that it's been done before but this is a slick effort that has the savvy to usually not dwell very long on any one scene and to keep up the quickfire banter so that you don't get bored. There is also a feeling of all the right PC boxes being ticked as well but nothing feels forced or out of place so this doesn't detract from the story.
All involved give at least solid performances and the effects are pretty smooth & unintrusive.
This shouldn't be mistaken as being for all the family as there is the odd moment of blood & violence & there is a strong air of innuendo & sexual references are strewn all over the place.
Overall this looks the part, places it's tongue firmly in it's cheek but not so much that the atmosphere & story are sacrificed. It can get stuck a little too long in a scene from time to time but it is great fun & the 6 episodes fly by with much to enjoy.
An open ending seems to point towards the possibility of another series & that would certainly be welcome.