Random Movie Review: Odd Thomas

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This movie released in the US in April, but no one I know has seen it. I don’t think it had wide release, but still. Odd Thomas was a book written by Dean Koontz as the beginning of a series. I have not read these books so I cannot say how closely the movie follows the books. You can watch the Odd Thomas trailer here. It’s the same trailer I saw here in Thailand.

(UpdateThis not necessarily great source but one who makes sense, mentions that there’s a finance and legal battle going on over the movie at the moment. It was released here by a Thai distribution company, but maybe it can’t get distribution in the US. Makes sense.)

Trailers:

There were two new trailers for me, Byzantium and Mr. Go. Byz, is about a girl, played by Saoirse Ronan, who has a story to tell, but it’s sort of a secret. The story is how her mother takes care of her, saves her life by being a prostitute. Also, a vampire. I’m sure that’s important somehow. For those who don’t recognise the name “Saoirse”, she’s the girl that played the younger sister in Atonement. Also about girl who has a dangerous story that involves sex (and one might say blood). She was also Hannah in Hannah, and that involved killing people. I’m pretty sure there will be some dead folks in Byz. Probably because there are vampires or something … I cannot be absolutely positive on this point.

Mr. Go is a Korean movie about a gorilla who plays baseball. I have nothing to add to this.

General and Epilepsy

You go in knowing this is a suspenseful ghost thriller, so the big shocks are something you prepare for. I was amazed that the only myoclonic-style twitch this movie gave me was with the title card. Black background, scratchy white lettering, and it flickered. My arms and shoulders went, my neck got stiff, and my head hurt. I waited it out, prepared to leave if necessary, but that never became necessary. Sure dead people appear around corners and stuff, but none of those things were triggers for me.

Just the title card. Go figure.

The movie itself was solid. It’s about a boy named Odd, surname Thomas, who can see dead people. (I know there was a point in history when people could say that without feeling like an absolute idiot, but we cannot, now. Damn you, Sixth Sense!) However, he doesn’t just see them, he works to solve their murders. He can also sense dangerous events, so he moves to stop those as well. Nothing alarmingly original, but still capable of causing enjoyment.

Technical and Actors:

The filming was pretty standard for what it was. A lot of close up shots on heavy breathing, panning away and back and BOOM something is there behind a door or hissing in your face or something similar. As far as visual style, it was very vanilla. (I could make some sort of ice cream related pun here based on the fact that the girlfriend works at an ice cream shop, but I am trying to be nice.)

The Bodacks (no clue how one is supposed to spell this) or spirits who feed on disaster and chaos look like … Cloverfield monsters made of blown glass or oil, they slip in and out of hell gates, they flow into one another, part, flow into people. Tons of stuff. I thought they were pretty cool. You don’t look for hyperrealism in invisible demons, so they worked. Scary, creepy things.

I’d shout out to the costuming department. The corpses were well done. Disgusting when they needed to be, terrifying when they needed to be, heartbreaking when they needed to be. The movie itself wasn’t all that gory, for all that it’s dealing with murdered people. Blood is used sparingly, and to good effect.

Odd Thomas, our title character, is played by Anton Yelchin (or as most people might know him “that dude who played Chekov in Star Trek”). There were times when I felt he was over acting. He looked sad a lot of the time. But his accent, his voice rises and drops and cracks at times, almost as if he were still going through puberty, makes him interesting to listen to, and works very well for those moments when he played sad, helping to sell that more than his face. But more importantly: Shit can he throw a punch and jump over things! I didn’t expect that, going in. He decks this dude early on and it surprised the hell out of me. Awesome.

Williem Defoe plays the police chief who knows Odd’s secret and helps create stories to justify Odd finding all these murderers. He’s almost a father figure to Odd, who doesn’t have much to do with his own father.

Patton Oswalt has a brief cameo. Where he is weird and slightly annoying. Or is that annoying and slightly weird? Anyway, he plays Patton Oswalt, but they call him Ozzie. He’s there for all of one scene. Don’t hate the movie based on that!

Story:

At its heart, this is a cop drama, but with the detective having a bit more than just hunches and the bad guys being hellgate evil instead of just every day serial killer evil. Odd’s mom was gifted just like him, but she was put in a crazy house, so he kept things quiet in terms of his own gift. With seemingly two exceptions, the Police Chief, Willem Defoe, as mentioned above. And Stormy. His girlfriend. His soul mate. Played by Addison Timlin, who I’ve technically seen in other things, but don’t actually remember.

They are absolutely adorable. They read on one of those pay-a-quarter mystical crystal ball reader things that they were destined to be together forever, and they went for it. She knows who and what he is and she supports that. He is able to count on her to be a sort of emotional sheild, trusting and open, and he responds with this big-hearted love that feels real. They’re very close, very affectionate, and in my opinion, adorable.

Some people might find them grating. To me they felt like two people who actually loved one another, if that makes sense. No one has a perfect love, but some people fall in love and stay in love. My aunt and uncle were like that, which might be why their performance resonated with me. Not just content in each other’s company, but in love.

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Not the easiest thing, finding a picture of these two with both their faces showing. Why haven’t more people seen this?

Well, eventually all hell breaks loose, people die, people beat the shit up, rotties are stereotyped, etc. Odd narrates occasionally, thinking things through. Sometimes I found this necessary, at other times I thought they were going to far to present things to the audience. He had people he could put these thoughts into dialogue with, but they didn’t go that direction. I didn’t hate the narration, but I did think it was overused.

All-In-All:

I liked it. Very much. I’d watch it again, no question. It wasn’t new or groundbreaking, but it was fun, scary at times gross at times. And the chemistry between Odd and Stormy … ah, seriously. So sweet.

(Interesting to Note: did you know that there’s this Korean live-action film about a gorilla who plays, “plays”, baseball? No. Because it exists. It exists, and I believe it might be a sign of the coming apocalypse.)

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via IMDB. Seriously.
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