BMZ Review: Legend of Loch Lomond
By Herb Lash
BMZ Review of Legend of Loch Lomond
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: Dec 2000
The admirable things in Legend of The Loch have little to do with the film itself. The story is inspired by and based on an old and good Scottish ballad of love and longing. Backed by haunting bagpipe melodies, the song Bonnie Loch Lomond tells of sweeter days, destiny and tragic love. The IMAX® filmmakers here make an earnest attempt to play at similar heartstrings, but clumsy storytelling and amateurish acting make the production seem something close to fumbling Community Theater. Straight ahead drama in the IMAX format is a new frontier. Director Mike Slee and the producers at Principal Large Format should at least get credit for attempting to wedge a dramatic foot in the door of IMAX filmmaking - where too often only travelogue and documentary filmmaking are welcomed.
Loaded in a comfortable van and navigating winding, beautiful Scottish roads is an all-girl band with a gig lined up in an old castle near the banks of Loch Lomond. The gals decide to wow the locals with a rendition of the world famous ballad Bonnie Loch Lomond. Handsome young local bagpipe player Robbie takes a keen interest in pretty lead singer Mary. After the girls are done rehearsing, Robbie steals away with Mary for a few minutes and it seems like young love may be in bloom. But strange things are soon afoot - Mary communes with the ghost of long dead Lady Moira, she has spent these undead years around Loch Lomond pining away for her lost lover Allan. The mysterious Allan/Moira romance is full of intrigue and tragedy - enough to have inspired the famous ballad of Bonnie Loch Lomond. It then falls to Mary to solve the sad mystery. Flashbacks bring us close to Moira and Allan's ill-fated 1750s romance and separation. Mary's heart is opened and magic is in the air - she reunites the ghostly lovers and finally sets things right.
The story is meant to be simple and sweet, but a series of painful clichés send the film into a dramatic spiral and all charm is lost. Lovers feed one another grapes at a picnic shot in golden tones normally reserved for greeting cards. The screen shimmers and blurs to signal flashbacks in a fashion long abandoned by most television soap operas. Plot is delivered by characters delivering long winded, clarifying speeches. Awkward montage sequences are repeated frame for frame in a misguided attempt to fill out the length of the film. . .The Legend of The Loch is an easy film to criticize and a difficult one to enjoy. The merits of the film not withstanding, it is refreshing to see an attempt at something new in the world of IMAX.
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