Thursday, January 24, 2008

REVIEW: What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come

Year: 1998
Director: Vincent Ward
Starring: Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra, Max von Sydow, Jessica Brooks Grant
Distributor: Polygram Filmed Entertainment
MPAA: Rated PG-13

What Dreams May Come is one of Robin Williams earlier films he made before going onto more serious projects. The film was hardly a success with its budget around $85 million and the movie only grossing an estimated $55 million. While it wasn't a box office smash, alot of people still enjoy this film even to today. Having not seen the movie when it was released in theaters, I didn't know what to expect. I mean with a budget around $85 million, the film better have used it nicely. Just having finished the movie literally minutes ago, I can say the film is about average.

Plot Outline:
Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams), a pediatrician who has a happy relationship with his wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra), a very creative painter. The sudden loss of their two children in a car accident brings them face to face with depression. Annie is hospitalized after a breakdown and when Chris is killed in a car crash, Annie is unable to go on. Soon both are in the next world, but due to the way Annie died, she ends up in very different place. Chris's guide, Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.) helps Chris to find his wife and answer the many questions Chris has laying for him.

The story of the movie is pretty decent. Its definitely not something original since I'm sure their have been movies with the same plot elements as What Dreams May Come. The story is not really interesting and many parts of the film kind of bored me. Maybe the plot just didn't click with me or something, but I didn't really enjoy the story. I thought the characters seemed alittle dull and not special enough. The film doesn't really do anything new to set it apart with many other films in the same league. Although the story is kind of a mixed bag, I did however found some parts of it that I kind of enjoyed. I thought the environments were nice and full of lushes colors. I thought the atmosphere was spot on with the setting, but that's about it.

The cast of the film is nothing special. Sure its got some heavy celebrities like Cuba Gooding Jr. or Robin Williams, but even they don't really give out any Oscar performances. Robin Williams plays the main character Chris Nielsen and he doesn't really offer anything ground breaking in terms of acting. He generally does an OK job in the role, but don't expect anything mind blowing. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Albert Lewis and its pretty sad that an Oscar winner like Cuba to not have any memorable lines in the film. Sure hes pretty witty and sincere at times, but hes still not at the top of his game. We also have Annabella Sciorra playing Annie and shes probably gives the best performance out of everybody else. She has many moments in the film where she looked very professional and great in her role.

Visually, the films pretty outstanding. It looks like the $85 million budget the film had went to good use because it won an Academy Award for Best Effects. The movie is very bright in most scenes and the environments look very detailed. Their are also many parts where the story takes place at night so the sky looks very dark and creative. Many areas of the film are very colorful with different colors spread out like a painting. Its got many wonderful moments where the visuals look splendid and vivid. It looks like a painting come to life. If there is one thing where What Dreams May Come excels at, its the visual effects. The movie definitely amazed me and is a visual treat to look at.

The soundtrack for the film is pretty good. It doesn't look like theirs a score, but rather a music that's been put together pretty well. Their are different types of music that play through the movies 1 hour and 43 minutes. Dialogue is pretty crisp with only some parts where it could have been alittle more clearer. The movie isn't by all means something you would demo to try out your speakers, but its something you can listen to pretty well. If there is something that I didn't like about the soundtrack was that it needed more bass. Theirs hardly any bass involved and many of the later scenes could have benefited from more bass. The movies soundtrack also isn't used much in the film. Since the story requires alot of dialogue, the music isn't put to good use.

I cant say that I loved this movie, but I also cant say that I hated it. The story is pretty weak and I found it uninteresting for the most part. The cast is pretty average with some decent performances, but nothing special. The visuals are mostly eye popping with the movie containing so many wonderful colors that are just delightful to look at. The soundtrack although pretty good, is not really used much. I cant say that I really enjoyed What Dreams May Come, but I guess I just didn't like the concept of the story. I cant recommend this movie, but its definitely worth a rental if your itching for something to watch.

Grade: D+

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