|Brandon Routh looks closely for a |
film franchise worthy of his talent.
2) Director Kevin Munroe was very smart in casting Sam Huntington as his sidekick Marcus. Since Huntington played Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns, there's already a familiarity between the two actors that sells you on the relationship between the two characters. And Huntington's got a good sense of timing that almost makes his generally comedic character work. However....
3) The biggest problem with this film? It goes far too much for the comedy and not enough for the horror. The imbalance makes of the film's tone blunts the serious aspects and makes the grossness of the comedy (He's a zombie, so he eats worms! Get it? Get it?) more funny weird than funny ha-ha. Compare the way the humor is handled here to the previous film based on Sclavi's comics, Cemetery Man, and you realize how off it is.
|"WOOF! I Mean, Grrrrrrr...I's a werewolf..."|
4) Another problem? We never get the sense that these monsters are different from us. The script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer humanizes these undead so much that there's no reason for most of them to be undead. The few supernatural characters who seem otherworldly--like Peter Stormare's Gabriel--do so not because of hte script, but because of the actor's choices in portraying them. Take away Taye Diggs' pointy teeth or Kurt Angle's hairpiece...and their characters are virtually unchanged.
5) Maybe it's because Anita Briem is Icelandic and can't hide her accent worth a damn, but we never buy her as what she's supposed to be--which makes the big twist in the third act not work at all.
6) I give Donnelly and Oppenheimer credit for trying to create a real world in this film, a sense of community amongst the various undead factions in New Orleans. Of course, every time they go for the easy gag (the literal 'body shop'; the zombie support group), it undermines all the mythology they're trying to build.
7) It's time to move away from the bumpy-forehead vampire look. Every time one of these 'TrueBloods' tries to attack Briem's Elizabeth, I keep expecting Buffy and the Scoobies to show up.
8) The whole 'Heart of Belial' thing is so submerged during the first two acts that when it takes over as the main macguffin, it shatters the forward momentum. That this is obviously brought in so that there's a big-ass special effects sequence in Act Three only sours the film all the more. If the film didn't lose faith on the idea of a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque gang war, or on the concept of a conspiracy by monster hunters to get the supernatural factions to destroy each other, it would have been a stronger film. And speaking of that big-ass special effects sequence...
|"I'm Brandon Routh...and THIS--THIS IS MY BOOM STICK!"|
9) The big monster just doesn't work--partially because the design is so derivative of other designs, and partially because the sequence just keeps adding new crap on (Okay, you don't like the big scary face? How about we add spikes all over? No? How about wing. Wings not working for you? How about we make those wings, like, eighty feet long?).
10) The script does play fair in planting the key to destroying the big monster--but that information is buried in a scene that seems more about an old vampire urging Dylan to get laid, and as such, the resolution of plot comes off as confusing. It doesn't help that our hero does pretty much nothing to hasten this conclusion, and just watches as it all falls apart.
Overall...a mediocre bid at a franchise that wastes Brandon Routh's genuine charm as a movie star. Although, I suspect watching this may give people a better appreciation of Constantine, which is not good, but isn't as bad as everyone thinks it is.
I saw this as the AMC Loew's 19th Street East...and I was surprised that we were only given three trailers--another showing of the original Green Lantern iteration, one for Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, which looks intriguing not the least because it's got Guillermo del Toro's fingers on it, and one for Skateland, which I swore I skipped when it was called Adventureland.