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Dreamcatcher


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Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher
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hacker ! STOp !:
Morgan Freeman, Tom Sizemore, Jason Lee, Thomas Jane, Donnie Wahlberg, Timothy Olyphant

Synopsis: Dreamcatcher, the film based on Stephen Kingís best-selling novel, tells of four young friends who perform a heroic act ó and are changed forever by the uncanny powers they gain in return. Years later the friends, now men, are on a hunting trip in the Maine woods when they are overtaken by a blizzard, a vicious storm in which something much more ominous moves... Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante, then overcome a threat to the bond between them. In the end, the friends confront an unparalleled horror, with the fate of the world in the balance.

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Dreamcatcher (2003)
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Dreamcatcher Review

Confused by the opening cartoon, The Last Flight of The Osiris? Then click here to find out what it was all about.

Review: Actually we have two reviews here, the first from yours truly and then a second by Tom Servo (who actually read the book)

What an odd movie.

That's not a condemnation, yet. Just an observation. This is a very odd flick. Perhaps it was a very odd book by Stephen King, I don't know, but an odd movie for sure.

I gave up reading Stephen King shortly after Misery (though I liked it) returned briefly to try Insomnia and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and haven't been back since. Growing up, I loved his stuff...It, The Shining, The Body (Stand By Me), Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption. But the movies that were made from his material could be brilliant like Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption, or brutally painful like Maximum Overdrive, Christine and Graveyard Shift.

Dreamcatcher falls in the vast no man's land of brilliant and cinematic trash. It has a host of problems despite the injection of solid talents involved.

Stephen King has some stumbling blocks, almsot his own world of cliches that he employs in his novels. An aged, or mentally challenged individual who somehow has the key to the problem at hand. Best buddies from childhood, growing up and finding these problems drawing them together. Often some heavy handed symbol or talisman (a dreamcatcher) being very prevalent throughout and of course, a bevvy of old 50's, 60's and 70's rock tune references with some pop-culture catch-phrases (in this case Scooby-Doo) used as both humour and as 'insightful' twists on the theme.

It's all here, and more...there's endless film references with a sort-of Stand By Me kind of moment...the old buddies sit around talking and Beaver (Jason Lee) has a nice little reference to Promise Land with Meg Ryan, then there's a gun from John Wayne, the alien disease called Ripley (as in Alien), Mighty Mouse, and even James Bond.

The reason I say it is an odd film is that it is almost as if it is two films...a buddy flick with some flashbacks and the inclusion of odd, psychic like powers blending with horror as a worm like creature devours them...and then a sci-fi, government conspiracy X-Files-esque type movie. On their own, the two seem fine, meshing here just seems like so much and we begin to wonder, who are we really supposed to care about as the four buddies we meet initially begin to die off very quickly. Jason Lee manages to get in some funny lines before he buys it...but has to do some stupid stuff with a toothpick as he tries to contain a creature in a toliet.

Having mentioned the toliet...let me just mention right here...this is a sci-fi horror flick and if you are a little squeamish about any form of bodily function, you may want to give this one a miss.

"They drive Chevrolets, they shop at Wal-Mart, never miss an episode of Friends. These are Americans." Morgan Freeman as Colonel Abraham Kurtz.

I am surprised by William Goldman (The Princess Bride) for penning such a brutal moment as Douglas 'Duddits' Cavell leaving his mother and she gives this 'save the world' speech but everyone slips here and there...and maybe he didn't really write it. Maybe director Lawrence Kasdan is to blame...although he helped write Raiders of the Lost Ark...so now I'm at a loss on who to blame.

Anyway, the final tally...great casting, the little alien weasels, a solid enough first half (which slowly slips into silly second half) leave me giving this a 1.5 out of 5. A lot of potential that lost me half way through.

Review #2 (by Tom Servo):

Iíve got a lot to say here, but Iíll give you what you want right up front. The Animatrix ĎFinal Flight of the Osirusí is awesome. It makes me want to watch Final Fantasy again and The Matrix Reloaded RIGHT NOW! But, seriouslyÖ onto Dreamcatcher.

When I read the book, I realized immediately that it would be extremely challenging for whoever brought it to the screen. I say whoever and not if ever because a movie treatment for a Stephen King novel is pretty much a forgone conclusion at this point. The only title I can safely say will never be made is Geraldís Game. Of course, by saying that I am practicing the dangerous act of overestimating the intelligence of Hollywood. There were some parts of the Dreamcatcher novel, like the Ďtoothpickí scene, I could see in my head as I read it. Other parts were just so outrageous, that I had trouble envisioning them, without it being comical.

As I heard more information about the project, it made me more optimistic. The top job was given to Lawrence Kasdan and though heís primarily a comedic director, (French Kiss, Mumford; which explains the Jason Lee connection) as a scribe, (Empire and Return of The Jedi) he has had invaluable experience in the science fiction genre. Speaking of scribes, William Goldman, who wrote the screenplays for two of the better King adaptations (Misery and Hearts In Atlantis), was tapped to write this one. I also want to praise the people behind the first two teaser trailers. This was some good work, showing just enough to make people want to see more.

So, moving onto the actual film. The first sixty minutes are excellent. Before the military element is brought in, the four main characters played by Jason Lee (Beaver), Thomas Jane (Henry), Tim Olyphant (Pete) and Damien Lewis (Jonesy) are established and mesh together well. Damien Lewis isnít in enough stuff; heís a really great actor. Early on, it is a page-by-page visualization of the book and itís done with some rare proficiency. Kasdan and co. got really creative with the Ďmemory warehouseí aspect of the book, something I really appreciated. The flashback sequences with the children are a little stiff in parts, but then pick up. About two-thirds in, when the military section of the story kicks in, the film starts to taper off, turning into more of an action film, rather than the two genres it was following before.

My initial concerns of Morgan Freeman playing the character of the evil Kurtz were not totally unfounded. Donít get me wrong, Morgan Freeman is a great actor, (Heís just one of the reasons The Shawshank Redemption plays on TBS Superstation every other day) but he doesnít really come off as a villain. Sure, he played cookie cutter villains in Hard Rain and Chain Reaction, but never anyone as sinister and truly insane as Kurtz in the novel. Freemanís somber style doesnít suit this character at all. Kurtz is somewhat toned down in the film, Freeman says heís insane a few times, but he didnít really sell me on it once. This takes away from the relationship he has with the other military character, Underhill (Tom Sizemore). The power struggle between the two of them is basically chopped and that is where the film really starts to have problems. The last twenty minutes seem very rushed, which makes for some stuff that just doesnít work. I had to wince at Jonesyís Ďphone callí to Henry. It could have been handled so much better and not just skimmed over like it was! My biggest problem however, was with the ending. Itís completely changed, which I never condone and I didnít like it at all. Iím not saying the original book ending would have worked any better, but at least it would have been the intended one. I guess Iím just upset that the last third wasnít as good as the first two. Iím not sure how Dreamcatcher will affect a viewer that hasnít read the book, but I have a hard time thinking many are going to suspend their disbelief enough to swallow that ending.

But hey, maybe thatís just me. No bounce, no play.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul, Tom Servo
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