Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Odd Thomas (Blu-ray) - Would You Like Odd With That?

I think Anton Yelchin does just a fantastic job at winning hearts. That’s why he was great as the son in the TV show Huff and Fright Night (which has to be one of the more controversial remakes I’ve made in an opening statement to a film review). I was looking back over his career that started in 2000’s and figuring out just where I had seen him. Each movie he’s been in that I enjoyed, he was able to tie himself to me emotionally by being a soft spoken lion that would roar from beneath his quiet, nervous exterior to become a dominant acting for and a stronger a character. That brings us to 2013’s Odd Thomas, a movie featured at Toronto After Dark that is finally seeing a release after being stalled in some contractual/lender litigation. It’s a great watch because Yelchin’s on fire, but it’s even better because of the twisted writing style of Dean Koontz and the adaptation that favors metaphysical relationships between characters that will force the audience into thinking mode and allow for a deeper viewing experience.

Synopsis from Image:

Small-town fry cook Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is an ordinary guy with a paranormal secret: he sees dead people, everywhere. When a creepy stranger shows-up with an entourage of ghostly bodachs - predators who feed on pain and portend mass destruction – Odd knows that his town is in serious trouble. Teaming up with his sweetheart Stormy (Addison Timlin) and the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe), Odd plunges into an epic battle of good vs evil to try to stop a disaster of apocalyptic proportions. Based on the best-selling thriller by Dean Koontz,

Alongside Yelchin, we find Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin and Patton Oswalt all in strong, starring roles, cast appropriately and lending fire to an emotional saga. Dafoe is his standard rough but concerned role displaying a wide range of emotions with a single stare. It’s ultimately a romantic film with supernatural elements so you’ll fall in the love with the characters while trying to conceive of some of the strange space/time issues. That’s probably why this movie works. It doesn’t try to hard to play on the paranormal that it forgets that the best stories in science fiction are human stories. This isn’t exactly a question of morality as many new science fiction films tout. This is a story of fate and of consequence, synchronicity and the interaction of supernatural forces coming together to make or break human bonds. Odd Thomas accomplishes this by remaining a human story. It’s as if the supernatural elements of the pictures simply help to turn the page while the empathy that develops between viewer and Yelchin grows to allow for the proper suspense and tension.

While I don’t want to spoil the film, the ending may be its downfall. It’s as if Odd Thomas spends so much time developing a beautiful tale of love, love that needs protecting and looking after that it had to find an ending to drop off the audience at the babysitter. I’m not saying that it’s an obvious ending or that you’ll see it coming, but it will not be the first time this plot device has been used and in this instance it does not stand up to the rest of the picture’s power.

The set pieces are vivid and look overall tone is dark, but hopeful though the hope is not necessarily realized. This is a thriller as described and a mystery but it is also a very personal story that follows a man through the perks and perils of having the ability to see things that simply haven’t happened yet. Director Stephen Sommers may have quite a few action movies under this belt having directed The Mummy and The Mummy Returns as well as Van Helsing and GI Joe The Rise of Cobra, but this strays from that pattern. While there are action pact moments, Odd Thomas is a more cerebral movie than we’ve seen from Sommers in the past. Though I question this picture’s $23 million dollar price tag having seen quite a lot done for far less from director’s in his league. I wonder if the film can hope to make its budget back.

While Odd Thomas may stand well on its own, it is important to remember that it is an adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel which means it has the backing of an excellent writer even if it the adaptation is a little off base. Koontz novels lend themselves well to films (remember The Watchers). While I haven’t read Odd Thomas, you can see Koontz hallmarks behind the characters and basic narrative.

The disc may be bare bones when it comes to extras, but what it lacks in goodies it more than makes up with a great look on screen.

Order Odd Thomas on Blu-ray or DVD Now.

-Doc Terror

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