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Year Of The Comet

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Year Of The Comet

Starring: Penelope Ann Miller, Timothy Daly
Director: Peter Yates
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 135 Minutes
Release Date: April 1992
Genres: Action, Romance

*Also starring: Louis Jourdan, Art Malik, Ian Richardson, Ian McNeice, Timothy Bentinck, Julia McCarthy

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

Titles, like almost any other aspect of the film, can be wasted. One of the best examples could be found in YEAR OF THE COMET, directed in 1992 by Peter Yates. The title suggests science fiction spectacle that deals with the same subject as ARMAGEDDON or, at least, serious drama or comedy dealing with the way apocalyptic prophecies reflect themselves on history or popular culture. Best known year of the Comet was 1910 when the appearance of Halley's Comet convinced many people that something more than Gilded Age was at end. But the scriptwriter William Goldman had referred to entirely different period - for him the year of the comet was 1811, less remembered among historians, yet very interesting period to wine connoisseurs. One of them is Sir Mason Harwood (played by Ian Richardson) who sends his daughter Margaret (played by Penelope Ann Miller) to Scottish castle in order to arrange the sale of bottle containing Lafitte 1811 - the most precious wine from Napoleon's private collection. She is joined by Oliver Plexico (played by Tim Daly), representative of a wealthy American buyer. Two of them soon discover their task to be anything but routine - some mysterious individuals also want the bottle, and, as a result, Plexico's and Harwood's lives are in danger.

British director Peter Yates in his long and prolific career had an opportunity to develop directorial skills and they are quite evident in this action comedy. Yet, even his professionalism isn't enough to compensate the inadequacies of the script, which is, ironically, written by William Goldman, one of the best known and most respected screenwriters and script doctors in Hollywood. The silly plot, which is a cross between ROMANCING THE STONE and adventure comedies of the Old Hollywood, could have at least been basis for some humour and action, but the characters are undeveloped and the villains are too cartoonish. Penelope Ann Miller does her best to give some charm to her heroine, yet even she can't hide the lack chemistry between her and terribly miscast Tim Daly. The humour is also deep bellow the standards we expect from today's action comedy and despite interesting Scottish and French locations, YEAR OF THE COMET has a low budget look, thus completing impression that something more than title was wasted here.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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