New fantasy series “Der Greif” – mysterious, creepy and yet a bit German
The Amazon series “The Griffin” tells the story of the outsider Mark, who has to save the world from a dark monster from a parallel world.
The template for the elaborate series production is the fantasy novel “Der Greif” by Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein from 1989. But there are differences in the book and in the series: The hero, Mark Zimmermann, played by Jeremias Meyer, is a few years older. The action takes place in 1995.
The story of Mark and his family is very moving. As a small boy, his father flees with him and his brother Thomas from a being that the viewer cannot see at first, but can hear. In the course of the first episodes, the viewers also get what the father was so afraid of: It is a griffin who lives in a dark parallel world called “The Black Tower”. There, the griffin is a villain ruler who enslaves humans. What is so dangerous about the ruler: He cannot come into the human world, but his magic powers can. Shortly after the escape, Mark has to watch as his father sets a fire and dies. He is eventually said to be insane and plagued by hallucinations. Mark and Thomas’ mother is also convinced of this and ensures that the older son is sent to a psychiatric ward. Mark also has to be treated by a psychiatrist.
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Finally, his brother gave Mark a chronicle for his 16th birthday. It is an old book that is passed down from generation to generation from fathers of the family to their sons. It contains explanations of the mysterious world: “The Black Tower”. Mark, who actually prefers not to have anything to do with the whole subject, signs the book like his ancestors did – and can no longer ignore the fact that everything his brother and father said about this world seems to be true. When his brother also disappears, he has to act.
Creepy, visually stunning – but also quite German
Scenes that take place in the dark parallel world were filmed in a barren landscape that doesn’t appear typically German at all. The so-called slave hunters who roam there and hunt the people are horned gray creatures with sinister eyes. The masks look great and appear similarly dark as the orcs in the film trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”.
The small town “Krefelden”, which takes place in the normal world, is typically German. With industrial buildings made of red bricks and flat roofs and middle-class terraced houses. The main roles are mainly played by young actors, whose roles sometimes seem a bit clichéd. There is the rich girl who is neglected by her parents, the cool newcomer from Berlin, the hip DJ and of course the shy outsider who ends up becoming the hero of the series. The plots of the characters are partly very predictable and the conversations are rather simple.
The creators of the series manage to connect the two worlds. As a viewer, however, you still have to taste a long prequel before it finally gets down to business. If you want to go back to the 90s a bit, you might enjoy the series. There is a lot to hear as well as a lot to see from this time: music by Blind Guardian, Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Discmans, a record store and furnishings that were probably found in quite a few German apartments in the 90s. Even if German film and series productions are often badmouthed in this country, fans of the fantasy genre can still get their money’s worth. Although the plot begins a bit slowly, the viewer still wants to know from the start whether the griffin will still reach his goal.
The six-part series can be seen on Amazon Prime Video.
Sources: Amazon Prime Video