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"Mosaic": This Chameleon Should Hide

by on May 2, 2007

I’ve not much to say about Mosaic; there’s not much you can say about a movie that is itself worth so little. It’s crass, unoriginal and uninteresting.

The story is about Maggie Nelson, whose father, an Interpol agent, discovers an ancient rock that can empower a human with the talents of an ancient race of Chameleon Humans, who can do just as it sounds—shape shift and blend in with the surroundings. When Maggie is infused with this power, she’s able to do all that and crawl on walls. (The movie itself makes the obligatory Spider-Man jokes, so I’ll refrain.) While she slowly figures out these new powers, her father is kidnapped and Maggie teams up with Mosaic, a rogue Chameleon Human who is trying to protect his race from the tyrannical rule of a resurrected priestess.

If the plot sounds convoluted and confusing, it is. Most annoying is its recycling the “ancient civilization trying to resurrect evil to rule the world” story device. (My dislike of the Iron Man DTV stems from the same thing.) It’s a tired old story, and I’m tired of seeing decent characters wasted on it. The movie also features an excess of clichéd dialogue and wrap-ups that are in no way redeemed by a “shock” ending that is just as annoying as the rest of the film. I’m hoping there aren’t any sequels to this.

The actors and animation alike are stiff and boring. Some have complained about the quality of Anna Paquin’s performance, but it seems to me she’s leagues better than the second-rate talent they hired for the other parts As for the animation: it’s often jittery, and a lot of the mouth movements seem off.

Stan Lee insists that girls can identify with Maggie, but I don’t see how they can when only a six-year-old could find the story interesting, and in that case they’re too young to watch it as the violence is too intense for anyone under ten.

The DVD comes with a comic book of The Condor (the other recent Stan Lee DTV) and an insert that lists the chapters of the film. Disc art is a bit plain (it matches the cover) and the menus have rather a cobbled-together look. The packaging doesn’t give you much hope for the film itself, which is odd, considering that Starz Home Entertainment put out a remarkable Hellboy: Sword of Storms DVD. Video and audio on this release, though, are very, very impressive. Despite the crappy animation, the video transfer is beautiful and the audio throws out an astounding amount of oomph, giving even the rear channels a bit of play during scenes.

Special features come with an introduction to the film and two featurettes that include interviews with Stan Lee and the director Roy Smith. Both are slightly entertaining; it’s especially entertaining listening to Lee shovel a lot of bull about how awesome the film is and how he expects Mosaic to become the next Spider-Man. As a serious matter, these are well worth watching if you enjoyed the film itself; otherwise you’ll just roll your eyes. There’s also a game and a gallery.

It’s a shame that a comic book great like Stan Lee has put out this kind of animation to DVD when there’s so many other, grander tales he could tell. Frankly, I felt little except disgust after watching Mosaic.

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