A very late night on Friday to fit both of these in. A good job the latter was so bloody boring I managed to rest my eyes during a lot of it.
I Am Number Four
“AÂ place is only as good as the people you know in it.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Weird kid with secret tries to fit in with outcast kids at school while being chased by aliens. As you do.
I didn’t realise until I walked past Waterstone’s today that this film is based on a book by one Pittacus Lore (actually a pseudonym for two people: Jobie Hughes and James Frey). What’s scary is that the book didn’t come 0ut until last August, and the option to it was bought a year prior. This means that Warner Bros were sinking a huge sum of cash into, and filming, a movie based on a book that hadn’t even been published. Wow.
The trailers and spiel made it out to be along the lines of the passable Push and the not-all-that-bad Jumper. It is in that it’s about a kid with abilities who’s being chased by forces unknown. It’s much better than both of them, though.
Imagine a mix of the above with the grouping together of characters which made the likes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer so good. It doesn’t start particularly well, with the acting seeming somewhat shonky but that improves as things go on. It was pleasing to see that the backstory was dealt with very quickly so that we could concentrate on what’s happening to our main character (John, played by Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant).
Basically, he and a few other children are the last to escape a planet which is destroyed by the marauding Mogadorians. Once they come of age, they will develop powers which will help them defeat the evil nasties (who remind me of the black-clad aliens from Critters, if memory serves). Simple enough plot and one that focuses on John being unable to settle, constantly being on the move and starting to come of age – rebelling against Henri and trying to do his own thing despite the risks. Ideal teen fodder.
Thing is, it all works very well. Far better than the trailer would have you believe. The effects are excellent, the monsters scary, the bad guys evil and the violence pretty graphic for a 12A. OK, so it’s a little predictable in places (how obvious could the torn shirt cloth plot device have been made?), but it does keep throwing new things into the mix which you simply aren’t expecting.
The final battle scene, complete with ducking into doorways and firing huge laser guns around, is nothing short of a great homage to the original Star Wars in my eyes.
Really rather good. Hopefully, unlike with the excellent Vampire’s Assistant, it’ll rake in enough to warrant a sequel or two. Good stuff.
Plot-in-a-nutshell: A priest is railroaded into becoming an exorcist and sends the male half of the audience to sleep.
Even the usually-excellent Anthony Hopkins couldn’t save this turkey. It’s as linear as a set of railroad tracks, has no twists or turns and the only good bit is at the end when you know you can go home.
Gill seemed to think that women would prefer it and the comments I overheard as we left would perhaps bear this out. Female voices made attempts to find good things in it while several men branded it variously as “shite”, “pish” and “fucking awful”.
While it does have a story, it just doesn’t have a good one. It isn’t a horror. Nor is it something that would tear the Catholic church apart in a fit of conspiracy theories. It’s not a thriller and there’s no mystery to it. It’s most definitely not a comedy.
It starts well enough, with Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) deciding to become a priest. Given the alternative is to take over at his father’s mortuary, this isn’t perhaps understandable. He aces all his exams except theology, which he flops as he has no faith. In a bid to get him to believe (or something), he’s packed off to Rome to study to become an exorcist.
Here, it could have got interesting. Perhaps he could have battled with his faith and the church, argued intelligently with great minds over the existence and non-existence of Satan. But, no. They palm him off on some old guy who’s casting demons out and… well… I fell asleep. Even Gill, who stayed awake, admitted that nothing happened. She just enjoyed the journey to nowhere that I snored through.
I recently had a comment on the Facebook rendering of this blog asking if I ever saw films I didn’t like. Well, it doesn’t happen that often, but I guess that comment tempted fate.
This was shit.