The world has been waiting for a really cool, kickass, punch you in the gut movie to come out of the steam punk / Goth subculture. The wasteland since the last Underworld picture has left the viewing public thirsting for more. Alas, they will have to thirst a bit longer, as Fable: Teeth of Beasts is a muddled disappointment.
The story is a little hard to decipher. Fable is a magical city to which magic folk moved after the world of mankind became inhospitable to them. Throughout Fable, which appears to consist mostly of abandoned warehouses, disreputable bars and sketchy alleyways, demons and vampires and magicians bump elbows and go on with their daily lives. Fable is dominated by The Tower, a shadowy group of immense power whose sanctum sanctorum appears to be housed in an elevator lobby. The Tower at times uses the services of our heroine Lilith Noir (played by Melantha Blackthorne, who quite possibly has a cooler name then her character), a sort of supernatural private detective and assassin.
Lilith is first hired to shut down a woman called The Crone (Seregon O'Dassey), who is rigging up Ouija boards to teleport people from the human world to Fable in order to sell them into slavery. Lilith makes short work of The Crone, and is soon hired again, via The Tower's agent Detective Mitchell (James Ray), to stop some sort of big chinned demon from killing junkies, and perhaps from turning Fable into his own version of hell. Exactly why the demon is doing this, or why The Tower wants to stop him, or even what is going on from moment to moment is difficult to discern. It involves Lilith sending a friend to retrieve an ancient weapon from a labyrinth (which is decidedly un-labyrinthine as it is just an empty warehouse), and Lilith herself making some sort of deal with the Spirit of Rage, personified in a blood spattered pregnant woman in a wife beater and cowboy hat. Eventually, Lilith figures out that she needs to use a demon tooth as a weapon, and should be able to defeat the big chinned demon, if he doesn't kill her. He's roughed her up before, and spends a lot of time killing her friends and co-workers, so it's an iffy proposition.
The above is this reviewer's best attempt to piece together a coherent narrative that sufficiently explains what is going on. The film itself doesn't do a terribly good job at it. There is no clear understanding of the stakes of the demon's plans, other than it is bad. There is no clear idea of why he is doing it, or how anything that we see going on is related to anything else. Lots of random people who seem to be important drift in and out of the story without real impact. A former acquaintance of Lilith's named Ross has a pet human, presumably a little girl who was transported to Fable at the beginning of the film. We meet Ross briefly. Lilith threatens him if he should harm the girl, and later makes good on her threats, but what is the significance of this? Who is Ross? Why is he important? Who is the woman at the bar that Lilith appears to have a short romantic tryst with? Why is she important? Who is the guy that Lilith makes love to? He's referred to as her slave, but he appears to love her, though we also hear about his wife and child. He and Lilith seem to have some significant back story, but it's barely hinted at.
One could go on. Despite the fight scenes, which are themselves lifeless and dull, and the murders and demons taking over the world, the film moves very slowly. There are numerous scenes in which people stare meaningfully into space for long periods, doing things the audience doesn't understand, and whatever meaning their looks have is lost. Pauses are woven heavily into the clunky dialogue, which tries to seem magical by omitting any contractions. The performances are forced, and for the most part lacking passion. The CG effects are very poorly executed, especially the few CG sets.
Fable: Teeth of Beasts is a muddled mess, lacking focus, that meanders through a confusing plot. We don't care about anyone in it, and couldn't understand what was happening if we did. Skip it.
The video is presented in 1.33:1 standard, and does not look good. The shadows are thick, and there is a digital effect laid over everything that softens details and muddles the colors. This appears to be intentional, but is not pleasing to the eye. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
The sound is Dolby digital 2 channel, and is also not very good. The dialogue is at times muffled and difficult to hear. The lack of subtitles makes this particularly frustrating. No alternate language track is included. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
There are no extras included. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality or quantity of extras on the final product.
Fable: Teeth of Beasts tries to be a super cool steam punk action piece, but fails on nearly every level. The story makes no sense. The dialogue is clichéd and awkward. The performances are marginal. The effects are unbelievable. There is very little to recommend the film. This is one to avoid.