By Shawn McKenzie 03/23/2003
Bonus! The Final Flight of the Osiris Mini-Review (see below)
Ever since I have started becoming more established as a movie critic, I have been able to see more movies before their release date than after. If you have been following any weather news lately, you may have noticed that the Denver area was hit with the worst snow blizzard in 90 years. Therefore, I only got to see two of the four major releases this weekend. One of them was Dreamcatcher (the other one was Piglet’s Big Movie; check out my review of it here.) In the case of Dreamcatcher, I had to catch it after it had hit theaters (since the snow made me too late for the original screening.) I’m glad I did, because, unlike most of my fellow critics, I liked the creepy long flick.
Dr. Henry Devlin (Thomas Jane), Joe “Beaver” Clarendon (Jason Lee), Gary “Jonesy” Jones (Damian Lewis), and Pete Moore (Timothy Olyphant) are four friends who have been known each other since they were kids. One day during their childhood, while going to check out what they thought would be a naked picture of a cheerleader, they were given telepathic gifts by Douglas “Duddits” Cavell (Andrew Robb), a retarded boy they save from some bullies. As adults, they mostly seem to find their gifts as a hindrance rather than an advantage. Just before their annual hunting trip at their cabin in the woods of Maine, an accident involving Jonesy almost leaves him dead. He recovers from the accident, and they all go on their trip in the middle of winter. While there, Beaver and Jonesy encounter a man near the cabin who seems to have some lethal gastrointestinal problems, which turns out to be a worm-like alien with nasty-looking teeth. Henry and Pete also encounter a woman who appears to have the same problem while driving back to the cabin after an outing. One alien, named Mr. Gray, takes over the body of Jonesy and is determined to hatch his plan to infect the world. Col. Abraham Curtis (Morgan Freeman), a man who has worked for years in a secret department of the U.S. Army dealing with extraterrestrials, is determined to stop that from occurring. His right-hand man, Captain Owen Underhill (Tom Sizemore), has noticed that Curtis has gone slightly mad and has been doing things that are a little too extreme in order to fight aliens. They and their team have quarantined an area around the men's cabin for the purpose of keeping the alien infection in check and not taking over the world. As the men, along with Underhill, try to figure out what's going on and evade the alien attacks, they attempt to contact an adult Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg) who may be able to help them, all while having to deal with the ever more unstable Curtis.
The interesting thing about seeing and reviewing a movie after the release date is that I get a general consensus of the opinion of that movie. They almost all seem to hate it. It could be because it seems like such a commercial movie for director Lawrence Kasdan, the man behind movies like The Big Chill and The Accidental Tourist. Some people forget, though, that Kasdan is no stranger to action. He helmed what is considered one of the coolest modern Westerns, Silverado, plus he did Wyatt Earp. Maybe he wanted to prove he could do sci-fi/horror that didn’t take place in the Old West and star Kevin Costner. I think he accomplished that here.
So what makes this movie so good? For one thing, it is very creepy in the first half. I was literally on the edge of my seat many times. Once you start to figure out what is going on, it isn’t as creepy, but the action and special effects are cool to watch. The performances are over the top all around, but I think the overacting might have added to the fun. I don’t think I will be able to see Lewis in anything else ever again without picturing him possessed by Mr. Gray. Not only was Freeman’s acting over the top, but his eyebrows were exaggerated too. Lee was surprisingly understated, but I’ve noticed that he tends to do that when he isn’t in a comedy.
A couple of things in the movie might be a problem for some people. First, it is very bloody, but the blood is so alien-looking that I doubt you will be too bothered (just don’t bring the kids.) Second, it is a little long. I think if the Col. Curtis part of the movie was clipped, it would have been a lot shorter. That isn’t likely, since this is an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, and you just can’t take out a whole character from a book (not that it hasn’t happened many times before, but the King loyalists might gripe in this case.) I’ve never read the book, but I hear that it is a little long too, so I suppose this movie could have been longer.
Forget the other critics…Dreamcatcher is worth paying admission to go and see. If this extremely broke movie geek is willing to shell out the duckets for it, I’m sure a few of you fellow movie geeks will like it too.
The Final Flight of the Osiris Review
By Shawn McKenzie 03/23/2003
I am a big fan of The Matrix, but I really didn’t think that the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was and good (except visually.) When I heard that Square, the company behind Final Fantasy, was doing the Animatrix short The Final Flight of the Osiris, I was a little worried. I shouldn’t have been, since Square only handled the visuals. Larry and Andy Wachowski, the men behind the mighty Matrix trilogy, wrote the story.
The plot for this nine-minute short goes something like this (I’ll try not to spoil it for you.) It starts out with Thaddeus, captain of the Osiris, and Jue, his first mate, doing a swordfight in the simulation chamber. Suddenly, sentinels overtake the ship, and Thaddeus sends Jue into the Matrix to warn Zion, the last human city, about the machines’ plan to wipe out all humans.
The visuals are amazing, and the ending leaves you thirsting for the arrival of The Matrix Reloaded (arriving in theaters May 15.) You can also see this short as one of nine shorts on a collection being released on DVD on June 3 called The Animatrix. Even though you don’t have to see the shorts to enjoy the two theatrical Matrix movies being released, they add to the fun of the experience. Check out The Final Flight of the Osiris (which plays right before Dreamcatcher) and the rest on the DVD when it comes out. It is an amazing experience.
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