Don’t let the simplistic blurb fool you, nor the fact that it casts the guys as heroes and the villain as a woman. Though it begins with the standard fantasy trope of young fellow in the boonies who dreams of being something bigger and is destined to become embroiled in a universal battle of good versus evil (you know, like Star Wars), the story grows smoothly into something deeper and more multifaceted. Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore head a cast that never missteps, the story is solid, and the special effects are unobtrusively excellent, making for an immersive experience.
Sometimes a movie comes along that makes me pine for 1980, when our very first role-play group would be inspired by and chatter about a book or film in the fledgling field of fantasy media. (Back when bookstores stocked fantasy novels at the tail end of the two rows of sci-fi books near the back of the shop.) This is one of those films. Except with 2021 CGI.
It’s also one of the very few movies I’ll definitely watch more than once. Time is precious. This one earns it.