Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ten Statements About....GODSEND (2004)

Yeah, it could be fun to stare at Rebecca Romijn...except
when she's in crap horror movies...
"I know it's scary, but we talked about this...the possibility that things could change once Adam crossed the age he died."

1) Boy, this film rockets through the first act in roughly twenty to twenty five fact, they rush through the set up so quickly that we don't get a real sense of the characters or their relationship with each other or anything similar that could serve to give us an impetuous to watch this film to its inclusion. And speaking of relationships...

2) ...this is a script that relies on the relationship between the parents and their child, and between Rebecca Romijn's Jessie and Robert DeNiro's Dr. Wells...and it fails spectacularly on both counts. In the case of the former, it's because Cameron Bright's Adam has no chemistry with either Jessie or Greg Kinnear's Paul. In the case of the later, it's because the script so hamhandedly introduces Dr. Wells by having him, you know, walk right up and claim to be an old teacher of Jessie's...which would be fine if Jessie was somehow connected to genetics or medicine instead of an art photographer. We're deep in the realm of 'Just Go With It,' folks.

3) This is the sort of movie where the main villain can be easily identified by the fact that he's the biggest name on movie poster in spite of being billed third. And DeNiro doesn't disappoint in being the 'Big Name Just Cashing A Paycheck' by not even bothering to pretend to create a character.

"I'm sorry, but that fee only gets you the 'not giving a crap'
performance...accept it."
4) The city in the first act is supposed to be New York. The small town in the rest of the film is supposed to be some generic New England hamlet. At no point does it not look like Canada. Could anyone be bothered to sneak into New York and do five minutes of landmark shoots so we get an impression that anyone gives a crap?

5) And while we're on the subject of, does that scene of Kinnear being mugged, only to be let go by the mugger because he's 'the best teacher I ever had' come off like write Mark Bomback has never, but ever had any contact with anyone below a certain economic class.

6) I'm sorry, but the bulk of this film relies on the acting skills of Cameron Bright to convey the different personalities sort of stuck inside Adam...and he is thoroughly incapable of showing this. He is so over-the-top in his performance that you can't believe that his parents are so blind to his affliction.

7) Getting back to Bomback's script, the thing that strikes me is how once we get into the actual meat of the story, there's absolutely no reason for the whole science fictional element. This is, at its core, a child possession/ghost story, and throwing in the disreputable scientist looking to prove his theories only complicates the plot. And even worse, giving the whole thing a J-horror influenced look only makes it seem even more derivative than it already is.

"What if I held this axe?  Would I be scary now?"
8) Incidentally, why do all these disreputable scientists always have these super-sleek futuristic institutes? It's like DeNiro's Dr. Wells dragged his Godsend Institute back from the world of Sleeper or something.

9) I absolutely love how Adam kills a local kid while he's in his Evil Child Fugue State...and that plot thread is dropped after Paul and Jessie witness the discovery of the body.

10) The ending is such a botched mess of trying to be clever for its own good that it wasn't until I listened to director Nick Hamm and Bomback bleating like goats on the commentary about what they were actually trying to tell us that I figured out what happened.

Overall...a film that can't decide whether to be science fiction or horror or something in between, underacted and with some final twists that are just ludicrous. Plus gratuitous J-horror wananbe stylings. Avoid.

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