The film tells the tale of the heroic Toa Metru returning to their island city home of Metru Nui to rescue its populace the Matoran, all of which remain in a deep coma. But upon arrival, the heroes discover their once beautiful island home has been destroyed and overrun by webs created by spider-like beasts called Visorak, who capture the Toa and poison them, mutating their form into a half-Toa, half-beast state; Toa Hordika. With the aid of the Rahaga, they begin a quest to find the legendary Keetongu in order to find a way to change back into their original Toa forms to rescue the Matoran, who were being held by the monstrous Visorak hordes and their king Sidorak and viceroy Roodaka.
The film begins with the sight of the crystal prison of Teridax. Suddenly, a mysterious voice (Kathleen Barr) calls his name and a talon scratched the prison and a small single shard fell off and landed in the Amaja circle from the previous film. Vakama, as a Turaga, (Christopher Gaze) began again the tale of the Toa Metru (from where it left off in the previous film), who sealed the evil Teridax and vowed to save the sleeping Matoran. But the task would not be easy. Teridax had called out to his legions, a horde of poisoners led by a ruthless king and a malevolent queen, and the noble Toa must now face a web of shadows.
The Toa Metru return to Metru Nui to rescue the Matoran trapped beneath the Colosseum. The Toa's ship crashes onto shore. They survive and arrive at Metru Nui; however, the Toa follow the orders of Vakama (Alessandro Juliani) and are trapped when spider-like creatures called Visorak ("Or in their tongue, the stealers of life", states Whenua) attack the Toa with their spinners, paralyzing them. Later, a Keelerak heads to the Colosseum to report to the horde's king, Sidorak (Paul Dobson). The king of the horde orders the Toa killed. As the Keelarak went to carry out the order, it was stopped by the Vortixx Roodaka, the viceroy and future queen of the hordes. Roodaka persuaded Sidorak to allow the Hordika venom to take effect before killing the Toa. Once done she wants him to bring her proof—their bodies. As the Toa hung above in their cocoons, Matau (Brian Drummond) blames Vakama for leading them into a trap. Nokama (Tabitha St. Germain) tries to convince Matau that it was not Vakama's fault. As they hang, mysterious transformations take place in the Toa, causing them to fall from their high altitude. Luckily, they are saved by the six beings who later introduced themselves as Rahaga, led by Norik (French Tickner).
But now, they are no longer Toa Metru, but bestial beings known as Toa Hordika. As Hordika, they cannot use their Mask Powers (Invisibility, Translation, etc.), and they are much more susceptible to passion. As they'll remain Hordika forever if the Hordika venom is not neutralized in time, their only hope of changing back lies in the ancient hermit-like Rahi named Keetongu (Scott McNeil), whom no one has seen for millennia, nor do some believe his existence. Vakama, angry for leading his friends into a trap (his anger further intensified by Norik's suggestion of using the new Hordika powers which Vakama had not yet learnt to use), stormed off, determining to get the better of the other Toa by trying save the Matoran alone. However, he was captured by the Visorak. He wakes up in the Colosseum observation tower and starts roaring like a beast. He is then persuaded by Roodaka to accept a certain idea; if he leads the hordes, he can rule Metru Nui. Accepting her offer, Vakama turns to darkness and lets his Hordika side come to the fold. He captures five of the six Rahaga, except Norik, and destroys much of the Great Temple.
Thankfully, the Rahaga managed to translate some of Temple's inscription: "Follow the falling tears to Ko-Metru, until they reach the sky." The answer was liquid protodermis coming out of the Great Temple. So the five Toa Hordika and Norik follow the stream to Ko-Metru. Before these events, Matau bickers about how long it's taking the Rahaga to translate the inscriptions, while Nuju (Trevor Devall) tries to explain to him that it may take a while. Following the stream of "tears" to Ko-Metru, they found that the "tears" DO touch the sky via upwards chute. Meanwhile, Vakama is made master of the Visorak hordes and prepares to capture the other Toa. The Toa and Norik discover Keetongu and request his help. He refuses, speaking in language that only Norik can understand. According to Norik, Keetongu could not start a battle on their behalf, but he could aid those loyal to the three virtues (unity, duty, and destiny), which was Keetongu's sworn duty. When Matau asked if Keetongu will change them back, Keetongu simply answered no. Norik explained (first saying the Rahi "sees with one eye what we have missed with all of ours") that in order to rescue Vakama and the Matoran, they must learn to live and fight as Hordika, not be rid of their monstrous forms (causing Matau to angrily blurt out "So we've come all this way, just to find out we didn't have to come all this way!", to Keetongu's amusement). However, the Toa's devotion to Vakama has touched the Rahi, so he joins them in their fight.
Later, at the Coliseum, the final battle for Metru Nui begins. While the Toa distracted the Visorak, Matau, who believed he was responsible for Vakama's turning, would confront him while Keetongu fought Sidorak and Roodaka. Matau tried to reason with Vakama as Keetongu was struck down by Roodaka. The blast did not kill him, and Roodaka left Sidorak to be killed by the Rahi. Matau, badly beaten and hanging on a ledge, tries one more time to convince Vakama that rescuing the Matoran is their destiny and that if there was any of the Vakama he knew left, he would know what to do next. This convinces Vakama to go back to the light and he tries to stop Matau from falling, but Matau lets go. Vakama then bungee-jumps and rescues Matau, much to his excitement, and then has an idea to beat Roodaka.
Norik freed his fellow Rahaga and joined the Toa. Roodaka, riding atop a Kahgarak, demanded the Toa give her their elemental powers. When the five Toa fire their Rhotuka spinners, they had little effect on her. When Vakama confronted her, Roodaka warned him all the assembled Visorak will destroy him and his friends if she's struck down. He then ordered all the Visorak to leave, telling them they were free of Roodaka's power, backing his claim with the power Sidorak had given him as commander of the hordes ("Get out of here, all of you! You're free! That's an order."). Now without any aid, Roodaka simply stood and allowed Vakama to fire his shot (with Norik warning him not to, much too late), which struck the red heartstone in her breastplate. As Roodaka's body fell, a crimson hand enclosed her and teleported her away, leaving behind the stone. Vakama realized that the stone was Teridax's, carved from the same protodermis that the Toa sealed him in. By giving the last bit of elemental energy in destroying the stone, he had broken that seal and set Teridax free, but Vakama just states that "for some reason, he doesn't scare me anymore".
The Toa then approach Keetongu, wishing him to change them back to their original forms. Keetongu was at first reluctant as he believed they were better off as Hordika, having gained control over their bestial sides. But Vakama persuaded him that it was their destiny to be Toa to guide the Matoran. The scene changes, showing the Toa readying a fleet of airships which will take them to their new home of Mata Nui, named in honor of the Great Spirit. As they neared the Great Barrier, they notice Teridax has indeed been freed, but Vakama is sure that Toa will always be there to fight back against him. At the movie's end, Turaga Vakama picked up the six stones used in the opening and follows Takanuva, Jaller and Hahli to the light.
Nathan Furst composed the music for the movie, and director David Molina said that watching the movie with the music was an "amazing experience", making the story "suddenly alive and emotional". David Molina and Terry Shakespeare also worked as Art Directors on the film, Terry also worked as Visual Effects Supervisor.
The computer-generated effects were praised by some critics, stating that they could be appreciated even though the film was geared toward teenagers and young people. The DVD release was noted for its good quality audio and video but meager extras.
Bionicle was nominated for the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Direct to Video by the Motion Pictures Sound Editors, and the Annie Award for Best Home Entertainment Production.
It's often considered by most fans as being the best of the four Bionicle movies.
Cast and characters
- Alessandro Juliani as Toa Vakama
- Brian Drummond as Toa Matau & Toa Onewa
- Tabitha St. Germain as Toa Nokama
- Paul Dobson as Toa Whenua & Sidorak
- Trevor Devall as Toa Nuju & Rahaga Iruini
- French Tickner as Rahaga Norik
- Kathleen Barr as Roodaka & Rahaga Gaaki
- Scott McNeil as Keetongu & Rahaga Bomonga
- Christopher Gaze as Turaga Vakama (narrator)
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