Tuesday, April 01, 2008

REVIEW: Dreamcatcher


Year: 2003
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis, Jason Lee, Timothy Olyphant, Morgan Freeman
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

Dreamcatcher is a movie that I was interested in seeing when it was released in theaters in 2003. The trailer that Warner Bros. released for the movie looked really cool and somewhat interesting. The movie went on to gross an estimated $75 million worldwide on a budget of $68 million. After reviewing The Mist a couple days ago, I was craving for some more films based on Stephen King's work. I haven't seen Dreamcatcher when it was in theaters so this review was going to be the first time I see this film. Luckily I didn't see this film in theaters because after just watching the film moments ago, I can admit that it pretty much doesn't live up to what I was expecting from this film.

Plot Outline:
Four childhood friends, Beaver (Jason Lee), Henry (Thomas Jane), Jonesy (Damian Lewis) and Pete (Timothy Olyphant) go to some woods in Maine for their annual hunting trip. In their childhood, they had been united by a mentally retarded friend, Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg), who linked all of them with some sort of telepathy that they usually don't talk about. During their twentieth year of going out there, aliens land nearby and alter the course of their lives forever. Meanwhile, Col. Abraham Curtis (Morgan Freeman) is in charge of the governmental side of the aliens and he goes crazy after the aliens.

The story is based on Stephen King's novel "Dreamcatcher" which he published in 2001. I haven't read the novel King wrote so the story of this film was going to be my first experience with the story of the novel. Now, since I haven't read the novel, I couldn't tell if the movie stayed close to the novel or not. Luckily after some hard research, I found out that for the most part it stays faithful the novel King wrote except for the ending. I found out that the ending for this film has been altered just like what happened with The Mist. I don't really mind this because I found the movie hard to follow anyways. As for fans of the book, this could make you furious because the ending I read the novel contains isn't the same as the ending in the movie. I don't get why Hollywood changes one of the most important aspects of novels when they make their movie counterparts. After coming off The Mist, I was expecting this film to be just as good as The Mist, but I was dead wrong. I found the plot to be slow and un-interesting. Maybe its just me and my personal taste, but I didn't enjoy this movie.

The cast of Dreamcatcher isn't something to brag about because most of the cast members don't seem fit for their roles. Thomas Jane plays as Dr. Henry Devlin and he gives a somewhat dull performance. Damian Lewis plays as Gary Jones and he gives a decent performance. Since hes one of the main characters, he gets alot of screen time and I guess it makes up for it. Jason Lee plays as Joe Clarenden and he gives a decent performance too. Its simply not his best work, but I guess it will do. We also have Timothy Olyphant playing as Pete Moore and he also gives a decent performance. Morgan Freeman plays as Col. Abraham Curtis and I'm really surprised hes even in this film. A talented actor like him reducing himself to playing in horror flicks like this film. He doesn't give a performance that's memorable or good so lets just leave it at that.

The visual effects in Dreamcatcher are pretty good for a film that came out in 2003. Sure it not better than the recent release of The Mist, but its still pretty good. The CGI seems somewhat dated now, but at the time of its release, it looked pretty good. Detail is pretty good with alot of objects looking nice and detailed. The film is mostly set in the snowy areas of the forest so colors seem very pale and overcast. The color blue is very noticeable in the movie because it seems like its everywhere. Flesh tones look pretty clean with alot of the cast members faces looking real and clean. Creatures look well designed, but I wouldn't call them original because they don't seem like something I haven't seen on X-Files.

The soundtrack in Dreamcatcher is kind of a mixed bag. The music is composed by James Newton Howard who also composed such hits as Batman Begins and King Kong, but he really drops the bomb here. The movie doesn't really feature a score that suits this film right and all we get is techno music that seems better suited for an action movie than this. With this said, the music is still pretty good and catchy. I liked listening to it and thought it was an interesting music piece, but its not in anyway suited for this film. Bass is pretty good and the movie really has alot of moments where the bass shines. However, I'm still disappointed by the music in the film only because it doesn't suit the movie and its not a soundtrack that you would find in such a horror film like this.

Dreamcatcher is a movie that I was first interested in seeing, but now I wish I hadn't. The story although stays faithful to the novel for the most part. I found myself trying very hard to like this film, but I just couldn't. The cast is pretty bad with most of them not giving the type of performance you would expect from them. Seriously, Morgan Freeman in a film like this? wow. The visual effects are a pretty good for a film that came out 5 years ago and is probably the only thing good in this film. The soundtrack is a missed opportunity with the movie having music that doesn't suit it right, even though the music itself is pretty good. Unless your a Stephen King fan or have read the book and was wondering what the movie might look like, stay away from this movie. You might get disappointed just like I did.

Grade: D-

1 comment:

ninjai said...

I don't know, maybe I don't really understand make it good.