Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Odd Thomas

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The more I think about it, it would be pretty cool to be named Odd.

Odd Thomas – 3 out of 5

I know a man whose name is Odd. Well, it’s his last name…and it’s a stage name…and he doesn’t see dead people but, rather, used to tell jokes on stage and now has a produce company where he makes major bank and likes to piss off conservatives on Facebook. They really have no connection other than a name and this was literally the best way I could think off to open my review of Odd Thomas. Now that I’ve wasted your time, here’s the synopsis…

"Hey look, here comes the synopsis...it better be easier to deal with than that opening

Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) can see the dead but, unlike Haley Joel Osment, he uses his powers to kick some ass. While not spending his time avenging the murders of the dead, Odd works as a short order cook and swoons over his girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin). However, something sinister is coming to his small town that will interfere with said short ordering and swooning. Evil spirits he calls the bodachs are swarming and these nasties feed off of death…and with the number of them he’s seeing, there’s a whole lot of death coming to his town. Odd notices they seem to be swarming around a stranger he nicknamed Fungus Bob that has arrived in town and now he must get down to what the man is up to and find out what has the bodachs so hungry.

"You should see the other guy...actually, the other guy is a ghost and I wasn't able to
land a single punch."

I’ve never read or even heard of the Dean Koontz’s novel that this film was based on and only discovered the film several months back when my girlfriend brought it to my attention. My girlfriend is a huge horror geek and loves all things dark, disturbing, scary, frightening, gory and nightmare inducing—PLUS, she’s actually read the novel. She officially knew more about this movie than I did but since I’m not one to turn away a film of any kind, we sat down and checked this one out and, honestly, I didn’t think it was that bad.

Yeah, that's how you would expect a guy nicknamed Fungus Bob to look.

The number one bestest-y best thing about this film and the one thing that worked better than any element in Odd Thomas was Anton Yelchin as Odd. It took a few years but I’ve warmed up to Yelchin as an actor (his performance in Alpha Dog left a bad taste in my mouth for a long time..his performance and just that entire movie in general) but I have to say that he was clearly the perfect man for this character. While I’m not sure how he was written in the book, Yelchin really brought a quirky, cool and fun dynamic to the character. He was able to harness the times where Odd is a tough brawler, a slick short order cook who is quick with the charm and quicker with the cutting, the cooking and the flair, and is able to be amusing and have a humorous side. He’s capable of making the character a fun one with supernatural powers and his performance really carries the movie along.

The one supernatural power they glossed over of Odd's:  The gigantic balls needed to face
down demons.

And believe me…it sometimes needed to be carried.

Is he being attached by bodachs or is this a metaphor for Yelchin's work
in the film?  Either way, persevere, Anton!

While I enjoyed the film, the story had a hard time decided on what exactly it wanted to be. Right off the bat, the film has a tongue-in-cheek supernatural action film feel (sorta like a Sixth Sense got a bit of itself mixed into R.I.P.D.) and I was cool with that because it started fun. Then the film makes a change to being a dark comedy and I was cool with that too because I love dark comedies. Then it went straight up horror and then to action film again and back to a little comedy and back to action and horror and then it went to a dramatic love story before closing up shop. Needless to say, it was a little all over the place. While it wasn’t a deal breaker and not bad enough where it stopped my enjoyment of the film, it did feel like it needed to decided on what type of film it needed to be or, at the very least, work on melding all of these genres up into a soup that would be a Super Genre and then it could have been amazing. However, like I stated, Anton Yelchin is good enough that he carried me through these chaotic tone changes and, even when the film gets really sappy and the love angle between Odd and Stormy gets to be too much and makes you forget that this film started circling around the action, horror and comedy realms, the story delivers a nice (although kinda predictable) twist that really drives home the end.

Out of the way!  Fungus Bob is looking for the bathroom!

Seeing Willem Dafoe in a passionate embrace on the couch...
I can now check that off my ridiculously specific Movie Bingo.
There was really only one thing about the film that was hard to deal with and that was a member of the supporting cast. For the most part, the other players in this film do their job decently—for example, Willem Dafoe is in the film and when have you seen Dafoe not deliver? The big downside in the cast came from Addison Timlin as Stormy. While Timlin wasn't LaBeoufian in her performance, she wasn’t really that memorable or that believable as the girlfriend of Odd. Her delivery of lines was flat and she couldn’t quite capture the flirtatiously rebellious and pseudo-slick mentality that Stormy was clearly meant to be. It’s clear Stormy was suppose to be this cute, quirky cool girl who isn’t your Girl Next Door type and likes to play by her own rules and thinks she ├╝ber-cool because she doesn’t act like the other girls and likes to infuse her speech with an abundance of slang and colorful ways of speaking but Timlin just didn’t look natural in the part and it made the character more distracting than helpful to the story. In fact, at a time when Willem Dafoe’s character is suggesting that Odd take Stormy home so she doesn’t get involved with the trouble Odd is tracking down, my first instinct was, “Yes, get her out of the story as soon as possible.”

So...did they not pay her or something?  Or did she just not care?

Odd Thomas wasn’t spectacular but it wasn’t a terrible film. With Anton Yelchin’s great performance and a story that was fun (albeit a little all-over-the-place with its tone), the movie is watchable and pretty decent. When the film is good, it’s fun and when it gets boring, the payoff for sitting through the boring stuff is decent so I didn’t feel robbed.

I never realized how convincing of a crier Anton Yelchin was.

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