Why You Should Watch The Librarian
I’m a big fan of movies like Indiana Jones, the Da Vinci Code and Tomb Raider; stories that involve unearthing ancient relics to solve riddles in the present. It’s true that a lot of movies like this involve a certain suspension of disbelief, but for those of us who love the genre, there is a great sense of adventure and wonder that makes them so much fun to watch. One of the lesser known entries into this genre is “The Librarian”; a series of movies made for basic cable. I wasn’t much of a fan of made-for-tv movies while I was growing up, but as I got older I expanded my viewing window to discover quite a few gems that I had been missing. The Librarian is one such gem.
Noah Wyle stars as Flynn Carsen; a super-senior college student who, while a genius in the classroom, has yet to really experience anything out in the real world. When one of his college professors finally gives him the shove to start his life, Flynn finds himself in a rut; unsure where to take his life outside of an academic setting. One day, however, a mysterious letter arrives, urging him to apply for the vacant ‘librarian’ position at a major metropolitan library. When Flynn arrives, however, he realizes he has some pretty stiff competition for a job that very few will give a concrete description. It is revealed, in the first movie, that this position is much more than it seems, painting ‘The Librarian’ as an Indiana Jones type who must rescue and preserve legendary artifacts the world will never know about. The first movie, sub-titled “Quest for the Spear” sets up Flynn’s job and revolves around the Spear of Destiny; the weapon said to pierce Jesus’s flesh while he was on the cross. The second movie, “Return to King Solomon’s Mines” sends Flynn over seas where he must discover the resting place of a legendary treasure. And finally, the third movie, “Curse of the Judas Chalice” Develops its own unique take on vampire lore as Flynn’s vacation to New Orleans is plagued with work.
Here is a link to the first movie on Amazon, if you're interested in purchasing the DVD.
The thing that I like most about the Librarian movies is that Flynn is a very relatable main character. While I love Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, I find that those two are very much the action hero. They’re suave and they can kick butt when the situation calls for it. That’s not to say that Flynn is a wimp, but it’s clear early on that his greatest weapon is his mind. And Flynn doesn’t get a new girl in every movie because he is charming; he keeps losing them because he’s so awkward. Which is another thing that differentiates him from an Indiana Jones type: Flynn wants to find Mrs. Right, not to be a playboy. This is most apparent, and most emotionally engaging, in Curse of the Judas Chalice, which I would argue is the best of the three movies so far.
I also enjoy that the artifacts Flynn searches out are slightly less traditional than the ‘holy grail’ quests we’re most familiar with. In fact, these more legendary items are often pushed to the background as props or quests that Flynn is finishing before the movie begins, which I think is a creative way to get as much in there as possible. Noah Wyle is also aided by Bob Newhart, the mysterious caretaker of the library, Jane Curtain, the surly secretary and Olympia Dukakis, Flynn’s mom who is constantly trying to set him up with potential girlfriends. The supporting cast is equally as likable as Flynn. I’ve always been a fan of Jane Curtain since I saw her in 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Bob Newhart works simply because it’s a role that doesn’t seem right for him. Yet, somehow that awkwardness fits for his character. And I always look forward to who his mom is going to set him up with next. It all comes together to give these movies a sense of consistency and a reason to look forward to the next installment.
The Librarian does have some cheesy moments that might put off some people. For example, a flying sword that acts more like a dog than a weapon, or a girlfriend crashing a fancy dinner by riding her motorcycle into the dining area. If these kinds of things bother you, then the Librarian might not be right for you. A good test is to figure out how you felt about the most recent Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). If you hated that movie and thought it ruined Indiana Jones, then you probably wouldn’t like the Librarian. If, however, you enjoyed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and felt that it carried the same tone and fun of the previous Indiana Jones movies, then I think you would love the Librarian. But I do encourage anyone, regardless of their thoughts on the genre, to give these wonderful movies a try.
For more great movies and television you may have missed, visit my feature: Why You Should Watch.