Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Posted by McGarmott
An unusual title. And apparently it was a novel, too. Mostly I wanted to watch it because I was captivated by the imagery in the trailer, especially that shot where John Smith somersaults acrobatically across the school cafeteria; seemed to me that it would be an intense, alluring portrayal of the young adult coming to terms with his supernormal powers and trying to fit in in the normal world. I guess it's the magic realism aspect of it that I was attracted to.
In the end the movie wasn't quite that. It's an okay movie, made for its target audience (which, ultimately, didn't come out in droves for it) without being more ambitious in its storytelling. And what's with the choice of not using widescreen format? I was surprised by that.
The thin romance plot John Smith has with Dianna Agron's photographer girl is okay, nothing to shout about but serviceable for the movie's purposes. It was nice too that the movie gave substantial time to John Smith's relationship with his guardian, and with his new friend at school (played by good-looking young actor Callan McAuliffe, who was last seen in Rob Reiner's Flipped, check it out). The antagonism between John Smith and the bullying ex-boyfriend character played by Jake Abel was sometimes cliched and sometimes well-played, but one of the worst things about the movie was how the antagonism disappears suddenly in the end and the bully just helps out the aliens without comment. It was all rather awkward.
Alex Pettyfer, all of 20 years old, is at times gooey-eyed about the normal human life he wanted to live, which felt awkward and a little out-of-place for some reason, and other times intense, especially during action scenes, which is what I'd have expected. I think he has the potential to do very well in this kind of genre, but needed a better director to help him break hearts and sell the story better to the audience. Which I thought was odd, as DJ Caruso directed a very mature-looking Shia LaBeouf to an excellent acting performance in Eagle Eye. You could say it's just coz LaBeouf is a better actor than Pettyfer. Anyways, I look forward to more from the British kid.
The climactic fight scene was superb, pretty high on the destruction quotient, though sometimes the action isn't clear when they used close-ups and fast-cuts, and the defeat of the final villain – as is typical with action movies these days – is rather unsatisfying. Having villains talk a whole bunch of stuff just to let the protagonists gather enough energy/strength/weapons to defeat them is such a serious turn-off now.
Should there be a sequel? Wikipedia says that the next book (not yet released) is about Number Seven. That says to me that the authors are thinking creatively about how to proceed with the story. So maybe. (Box office numbers are not encouraging the studio though. On the other hand, this movie only cost 60 million.)
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Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Posted by McGarmott
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