First, a trilogy of movies put out by TNT; then developed into a television series. It stars Noah Wyle (he was on E.R. for many years [no intention of watching] and he briefly appeared in an episode of Lab Rats) as Flynn Carson. Jane Curtin is Charlene and Bob Newhart (he’s popped up in other television shows like Big Bang Theory, and I had no idea he was the voice of Bernard in Disney’s The Rescuers movies) is Judson. There’s a familiar face, David Dayan Fisher (bad guy in NCIS and National Treasure) in the first film, Quest for the Spear; and Gabrielle Anwar (the Queen in The Three Musketeers with Chris O’Donnell, Princess Margaret [Henry VIII’s sister] in The Tudors, Fiona in Burn Notice, and Victoria Belfrey/Lady Tremaine in Once Upon a Time) joins the second film Return to Solomon’s Mines as Emily Davenport. The third film, Curse of the Judas Chalice, brings in Stana Katic (briefly glimpsed at the end of Quantum of Solace, and opposite Nathan Fillion in Castle) as Simone Renoir.
Quest for the Spear introduces us to Flynn Carson, who holds 22 degrees and intends to be a lifelong student. Until his professors agree to cut him off and force him out into the big, bad, real world to find a job. An invitation arrives at his home (he doesn’t see it until a pile of books drops on his head), to interview for a prestigious position at the Metropolitan Public Library. He’s not the only applicant, the line wraps down the staircase. He faces Charlene, who wants to know “what makes you think you could be the Librarian?” And she means more than knowing the Dewey Decimal system; what makes him different than every other librarian. His observational skills rival Sherlock Holmes and he can tell when Charlene broke her nose, when she divorced, and how many kinds of cats she owns. Then another voice calls out “what’s more important than knowledge?” Flynn echoes his mother’s statement that the things that make life worth living are not thought (in his head), but felt (in his heart). Flynn wins the position and will begin a wondrous new adventure, from which he will never be the same. Judson appears and leads Flynn downstairs, through a secret door and security guards, opening to a grand hall filled with shelves and display cases.
Judson explains that magic exists, but it is dangerous and must be kept out of the wrong hands. That is the Librarian’s job. And he must keep it secret [so I object to his mother’s dismissal of his job as simply shelving books…I wanted to become a traditional librarian at one point.] That evening, Judson is knocked out at the Library; Charlene and Flynn find him the next morning and discover that the Serpent Brotherhood has stolen a piece of the Spear of Destiny. The Serpent Brotherhood opposes the Library and wants to use magical artifacts to rule the world. And the Spear was used by Charlemagne and Napoleon; Hitler had one piece; so if the Serpent Brotherhood has it, they can certainly control the fate of the world. Flynn, as Librarian, is the only one who can go after them (which Flynn points out is a little sad).
Clues to the other pieces are in a book, written in the Language of the Birds, the universal language all people spoke before the Tower of Babble. Flynn has to decipher it on his flight to the Amazon. He succeeds in 7 hours and 26 minutes. And the beautiful woman he meets on the plane is Nicole Noone (so when Judson says to “trust no one”…that’s what he meant), whose job is to protect the Librarian. Nicole is a bit dismissive of Flynn at first, bodily dragging him out of danger, since the Brotherhood is chasing them. But Flynn proves his brilliance; he memorized the globe as a child. They uncover the second piece of the Spear, but are met by the Brotherhood outside, including the previous Librarian whom Nicole saw die. He desires power now and plans to wield the Spear. But he can’t read the Language of the Birds, so Flynn argues Edward needs him. Oh, and the final piece of the Spear is in Shangri-La. Edward forces Flynn to grab the spearhead, then the monastery begins to collapse. Nicole grabs the spearhead and escapes with Flynn (and the helicopter is “horrible, horrible, high velocity pie of death!” Flynn discovers while trying to fly it). Nicole kisses Flynn in his room in Mongolia, but she is gone when he wakes up. He has a brief discussion with Judson and realizes that the Brotherhood has to fuse the Spear back together at the pyramid display with the golden capstone that Flynn was working on at the university in the beginning. “Call the Marines, Judson. I’m coming home.” But, clothes first.
Edward does manage to fuse the Spear and tests it on his minion [that bad guy we see a lot]. Nicole and Judson take on the other mooks, though Flynn does get to punch his former professor in the nose. Flynn goes after Edward and gets beaten up a bit. But as Flynn pointed out to the students earlier, if one stone is out of line be even one inch, the whole pyramid collapses; and Edward has been hitting stones trying to get Flynn. Edward is crushed by the capstone and the Spear floats to Flynn.
Back at the Library, Flynn is worthy enough to pull out Excalibur and there is a new portrait hanging, featuring Flynn with the Spear. Three months later, Flynn’s mother is still trying to hook his son up, despite hearing Nicole on the phone earlier. Nicole zooms in on a motorcycle and kisses Flynn hello, then briefly introduced to his mother. But they have to go (time-traveling ninjas are on the loose).
The opening of Return to Solomon’s Mines is very similar to the opening of Last Crusade; it takes place in Utah and Flynn interrupts someone digging up something that doesn’t belong to them. Back at the Library, he receives a package while Judson instructs him that he has a lot to learn and that to be a truly great Librarian, one must sacrifice what one wants for the greater good. Flynn stops by his mother’s house for a surprise birthday party for him and briefly speaks to his father’s best friend, Jerry. Flynn’s father passed away when the man was thirty-two, which is the age Flynn is now. His mother has saved some of his old drawings from bedtime adventures his father told him. She pulls out a [Masonic-looking] medallion, which his father used to joke was their family crest. At Flynn’s apartment, he discovers that he was mailed an odd-looking scroll, then is knocked out. Judson wakes him and realizes that the symbol Flynn saw on the scroll leads to Solomon’s Mines, holding great treasure. It also holds the Key of Solomon which can summon the undead. Judson sends Flynn to Morocco.
Flynn meets Emily at her Roman dig in Morocco; she’s searching for evidence of the Queen of Sheba’s (the wife of King Solomon) rule there. They discover the secret tomb and are briefly attacked after finding the legend piece. But their attacker recognizes the medallion Flynn wears; it symbolizes a society bound to protect Solomon’s Mines. More bad guys come and they are sent to Kenya to find the second piece. Emily insists on accompanying Flynn; if she can find more items like the legend piece, her own research will be funded for years. Emily also has 25 degrees (to Flynn’s 22), so they spend a great deal of their journey arguing history and archeology. Then they come across a man buried in the sand. For freeing him, he will take them to Gedi.
Bad guys have followed them to Gedi, but luckily they run into Jerry boarding a train. He treats them to dinner, then Flynn and Emily discover the key to the map is playing the legend pieces like an instrument; the map is music notes. It comes to life and leads them to another mountain. Judson pops into instruct Flynn to return home; but Flynn and Emily continue on. Flynn’s father’s bedtime stories lead the way to the oldest tree in Africa, underneath which is a temple. They find the treasure, but bad guys interrupt their exploration, led by Jerry. Jerry wants the Key, which Flynn found, so he can re-write history. Jerry blames Flynn’s father for stealing his mother’s heart; Jerry should have had the family; and he was responsible for the father’s death.
Jerry incants from the book, opening a portal and beginning to raise the dead. Flynn goes after Jerry and threatens to destroy the book, but Jerry tempts him with the idea that Flynn can bring his father back. Flynn takes over the chanting, but Emily manages to distract him. Flynn throws the book into the lava and Jerry jumps in after it. Emily, Flynn, and the man they saved all manage to escape the explosion and Flynn is left to return home alone. Judson encourages Flynn that he did the right thing in destroying the Key of Solomon; only a great Librarian would have done so.
Flynn is at an auction in the beginning of Curse of the Judas Chalice on Library business, but also trying to keep his girlfriend happy. He battles against another collector to retrieve the Philosopher’s Stone. He wins, but his girlfriend leaves him. He’s depressed once he returns to the Library and Judson’s comment that he’s a celibate monk does not help. When Flynn looks around the Library he doesn’t see artifacts anymore, he sees the bits of his life he gave up to retrieve them, like his college reunion. Charlene suggests that Flynn use a few vacation days, then stops by his apartment later (a little drunk) to drop off travel brochures. Flynn dreams of New Orleans and decides to give it a try (a woman called to him in his dream). He hears the same voice singing and meets Simone.
Meanwhile, a former KGB Russian, Kubichek meets up with a Romanian history professor. The professor is teaching a lesson on Prince Vlad Dracul, known as the Impaler, but all his students want to know is whether the man was a vampire. Kubichek is interested instead with the Judas Chalice.
The Russians end up chasing after Flynn in New Orleans and Simone helps him escape, such as hitting a high C in an echo chamber. Simone takes Flynn out for a night on the town and he perks up a bit. Judson appears to Flynn (again; he has a habit of doing that) and explains that Flynn needs to go after the Judas Chalice. The Chalice has the power to resurrect vampires, because apparently, Judas was the first vampire, cursed to walk the Earth for all eternity after he was hung for his transgressions. Oh, and Dracula’s tomb has been stolen.
The bad guys grab Flynn, explaining that they want to use the army of the undead to bring Russia back to its former glory [seems like lots of Russians want to do that in these types of movies]. Flynn happens to know the Romanian professor and they decipher the lens that was found. Simone drops in to help rescue Flynn, except she’s shot. Flynn drags her out and briefly mourns her…turns out she’s not dead. She’s a vampire. She was turned in Paris in 1603 where she had been an opera singer for the royal court. Now, she’s trying to hunt down the vampire who turned her and kill him. (She also hints that Judson is a lot older than he appears and there is a larger battle to be had with the Library, between good and evil).
Flynn and Simone find the Chalice aboard Lafitte’s shipwreck [no, not Lafayette that many now know from Hamilton. Lafitte was French as well, but was a smuggler based out of New Orleans in the early nineteenth century. He did aid America in the Battle of New Orleans.] The Russians interrupt the couple and Simone seems to know the professor. The Russians trap them, but Flynn rigs a cannon to blow open a way out. Simone leaves him behind and Flynn fears she wants the Chalice for herself. When they meet up at the plantation again, turns out, no, she recognized the professor as the vampire who turned her. And who turns out to be Dracula. And he has no intention of actually helping the Russians. Sure, he’ll raise the undead, but so he can rule the world. Flynn goes after Vlad and the Chalice. Simone helps fight Vlad, who drops the Chalice. Flynn stabs him with a stake from an aspen tree. Simone then watches the sun rise with Flynn, one last time. Her duty to protect the Chalice is done now; she’s gotten her vengeance. But she encourages Flynn to live out his destiny as the Librarian.
Flynn returns to the Library in a better mood and ready to fight the larger battle that is coming. As he and Judson walk away, it is revealed that the walkways of the Library create the Tree of Knowledge.
I love these movies. I want the Librarian job. Again, it makes learning fun. History is not dry and dull [well yes, at times it is], but hunting for artifacts uses so many aspects of knowledge. And I appreciate that the three different women who help out Flynn are all strong, independent women. Yes, they have brief romances with the lead man, but they are also smart in their own right. Nicole is the one to kick butt. And they don’t look down on Flynn for being a bookworm. Being a bookworm actually saves their butts occasionally.
Next Time: The adventure continues with the first season of The Librarians