I want to start by apologizing to the filmmakers. When I saw the trailer, I was completely convinced that it was rip off of Men in Black. It is not. It does, however, borrow heavily from the buddy cop movie archetype and when you add an urban fantasy setting it does look a lot like the same movie only with a different cast. There were enough differences in this story from MIB that I retract my earlier assumption and apologize.
I did not have high expectations for this film and it did not disappoint. It also did not impress. I didn’t have a big problem with this movie just a pile of little ones. I was told that if you give feedback make sure you sandwich them, have 2 good things with every bad thing. I am going to have a hard time doing that so I am just going to give you my thoughts as is.I guess even great directors have bad movies. RobertSchwentke did an outstanding job with Red but his momentum could not carry this movie. It’s another comic book movie and unfortunately those are hit and miss. What works with aliens does not fly with the dead.
The performances were fine but Ryan Reynolds still has not hit his stride. He really is talented but has not found his vehicle. I think his performance in Green Lantern was again a miss. He needs to stick to romantic comedies. That’s where he performs the best.Jeff Bridges really likes his cowboy voice. His voice is a distraction in this film. It was fine in True Grit but completely overused here. I can see where he had fun with this movie and the character but it kind of grates on you after a while.
The other problem I had with this was how little they did with the effects. The ghosts… err “Deados” were sketchy and poorly done CGI effects. When a movie has very little to say it needs to have strength someplace like good effects. These effects help distract from the poor writing. When both are weak it’s a disappointment and hard to watch.
So we have newly dead Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is teamed up with Roy (Jeff Bridges). Their boss is Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) who has a thing for Roy. She needs to stop getting these roles where she is falling or old guys. She is way too attractive for that relationship. Their onscreen chemistry does not feel right, forced almost. She should stick to Bruce Willis, they look good together. On a side note the whisker chewing… (erp) I just threw up in my mouth a little.
It seems the dead are allergic to cumin because Indian food makes them bust of the living façade they put on. They look normal until they are confronted with a curry. I have no idea what that says about the creators and whether they love or hate Indian food, but it’s an extremely silly test to include as the main way to root out dead people.
The big dead bad guy seem to have a plan to open up the afterlife’s waiting room and have all of the dead people reside on earth after they gather and assemble all the incredibly hard and complicated parts of an artifact. They have obviously been working on this for a while, if only the script had so much attention.
Dead headquarters, like the MIB head office, has a typical a police station feel with the alien..err dead walking around for color. We have the grizzled older cop showing the new recruit the ropes and life as we know it is just a veneer over the real world that is happing around us.I never read the comic book but it seems to be a mix of styles that really lend this story to be kind of a humorous story. It was either too comic like and then it tried to be more like real life. It could not make up its mind what it was going for. I found the completing styles just a bit distracting and too silly.
The plot was also very predictable. Perhaps I have seen too many movies. I am beginning to spot the foreshadowing or the formula way before the reveal. It’s kind of ruining my movie going experiences. I know I am not supposed to look for the plot twist or points just enjoy the movie and let it happen. Well I can’t, when its subtlety applied with a sledge hammer.
Peter Suderman wrote an article about that the formula studios use as a Mad Lib template instead of a guide. Blake Snyder and his book Save The Cat! is the blueprint for writing and every big budget blockbuster uses it like scripture. This is why I am not getting the same enjoyment I used to get form movies. After reading that I finally understood why I was getting a feeling of Déjà vu.
I really hope this one does not get three movies like MIB. With MID, they did well on the first one poorly on the second and pulled it back out on the third one. If they decide to do something more with this they need to skip the second movie go on to the third and end there. Really they should have ended before doing this one but the genie is out of the bottle -- nothing you can do for it now.