director: Troy Nixey
lazy-ass writers: Matthew Robbins, Guillermo Del Toro
Barely trying: Guy Pearce
Really trying: Katie Holmes
Victim: Bailee Madison
Showing up as the powerful man in charge: Charles Widmore
Fuck you, Guillermo.
1. you essentially took the plot of Pan's Labyrinth but broke all 206 of its bones and made it dance. Were you aware of this? Oh, little girl dealing with her a parent's new relationship, in a new setting, is having a hard time coping but finds refuge in this fantastical entity (Pan/Furnace Fairies) that turns out to be not-so-nice and when she tries to have someone believe her people don't believe her and bad things happen. IT'S THE SAME PLOT. Except I love Pan's Labyrinth. This sucks. And you know why? Because, 2., everyone is stupid.
List of stupid things:
1. The plot has two points of tension. 1: what do the creatures look like? 2. will they get the girl before someone believes her? There could have been a heap of questions had there not been an opening scene that takes place 50-100 years earlier. The opening scene shows this dude killing his servant and trying to give her teeth to the voices in the furnace. But the voices demand child's teeth. The guy asks for his son back. The voices refuse and up come these shadowy mice looking things that pull the guy into the furnace. That scene tells us: A, there are creatures in the furnace. B, they want a child's teeth. C, the creatures will kill. If you remove that scene, you don't know what the creatures want, where they are, or what they're capable of. The entire movie is different. There's room for skepticism, to wonder. As is, you know what will happen. You know the creatures will try to get her. I just sat there going: get on with it already, none of this is important.
2. As I said, the creatures flee from light. The girl knows this. When she finally realizes they are not her friends, she starts carrying a flashlight with her. But she doesn't sleep with the light on? She doesn't even turn the lights on in the hallway when she's walking. She's an idiot. And you might argue that she's a kid, she doesn't know better. This is a kid that takes medication when her watch alarm goes off, that draws at a high school level, that won't eat food with gluten in it, that is savvy enough to steal a wrench and sneak downstairs and undo the bolts on the furnace and free the creatures. She knows what the fuck is up. So it's inexplicable she wouldn't try to sleep with the room light on.
3. The creatures are in the walls. The house is obviously filled with electrical wiring. If the creatures were really serious, they would have chewed through the wiring and killed the lights.
"Okay, but, they're creatures that have existed since before man, and they've been locked away, they probably don't know what electricity is."
Not true. They kill the power later in the movie. There's no reason for them not to kill the power early. Nope, they have to wait until the climax because of lazy fucking writing.
4. The mansion is being renovated by Guy Pearce and a large crew. One of the crew guys knows about the creatures (though we're not sure how much he knows). But he won't tell Guy Pierce what's up. When the girl discovers there's a downstairs (the downstairs had been sealed off), the guy is like "oh shit". But he doesn't do anything.
When weird things start happening, he still doesn't do anything.
FINALLY, he goes down when the creatures are JUST about to get the girl (why they hadn't grabbed her already is beyond me) and scares her away. The guy turns the flashlight on the furnace and starts trying to bolt the gate back up (the little girl had unbolted it). Why, if he knows that these creatures hate the light, does he leave his light on the other side of the room? Why not set it down next to him? Why not bring candles? Why not bring several flashlights? Instead, he brings the one.
WHY NOT BRING SOMEONE TO WATCH YOUR BACK?!??!?!?!??!
He takes his sweet ass time trying to put the bolts on, and the creatures attack him. The creatures don't pull him into the furnace though. They come out and stab him with a bunch of shit. And he says "I didn't tell them anything!" This implies he has been in contact with the creatures, that they have some sort of power over him. If the creatures have been locked away, when have the two parties communicated? Why would they have? And what would the creatures do to the guy if he had told Pearce and Holmes what was going on?
It's stupid the creatures didn't just grab the girl. It's stupid how the guy utilized the flashlight. And it's stupid that the creatures didn't just pull the guy into the furnace or kill him.
5. Do the creatures want to kill the girl, or do they want to take her teeth, or do they want to pull her into the furnace? If they just want to kill her, they have like...300 opportunities and don't. They stand there, looking scary, allowing her to scream for help.
If they just want her teeth, they never attempt to knock her out and take her teeth. When they do capture her, they don't just take her teeth. So that means they probably don't want her dead and they don't just need her teeth, so they want to pull her into the furnace????
I mean, we're told these creatures, every time they appear, NEED to take someone to replenish their ranks. It makes sense then that they tie a rope around her and try dragging her into the furnace. But the question is: WHY DIDN'T THEY PULL HER IN EARLIER WHEN SHE THOUGHT THEY WERE NICE AND HAD HER FACE IN THE RAPTOR JESUS DAMNED FURNACE?????
6. Katie Holmes figures out what is going on. She goes to see the dude that the creatures attacked. He yells at her to get the little girl out of the house and about some stuff at the library. Instead of going home and getting the girl out of the house, Katie first goes to the library. At the library, she discovers a bunch of drawings by the dude from the opening scene, the one who was pulled into the furnace, and she finds out HE was seeing the same little creatures that the little girl is insisting she is seeing. Does Holmes get the girl out of the house. No. Even after the little things attack the girl in her bathroom and the girl tries to run away. Katie takes her right on home.
7. At one point, the creatures lock the girl in a room and are jumping all around her, trashing the room, knocking books off the library shelves, knocking pictures off, prancing around her feet. What is the point? What are they doing? No, seriously, what the fuck are they doing?
She has a camera and keeps taking pictures (the flash scares the creatures). She also wants a picture so she can prove to people the creatures are real.
It's stupid the creatures don't seem to have a goal.
And it's stupid she keeps sticking her face into things. The library shelves have a sliding wall that does or doesn't lead somewhere (I can't remember if it's just another shelf or a hallway, but I think I don't remember because the movie doesn't tell us where the fuck the sliding wall leads, if it leads anywhere). The creatures have opened the wall and are hiding back there. What's the girl do? She goes and pushes the wall open more, revealing a black depth, like opening a closet. Do the creatures swarm her and grab her? No. SHE'S RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE. She knows they want her. They've already attacked her once. And yet she sticks her face into this darkness. That's stupid. And should prove fatal. Or exciting. Something. BUT NOTHING HAPPENS. When the creatures do attempt to swarm her, she doesn't fight. She doesn't kick. She doesn't throw books at them. She just screams. Finally, as the creatures are crawling on the outside of a shelf, she pushes the wall and crushes a creature, severing its arm. Just then a bunch of people burst into the room. All the creatures disappear.
Does anyone see the arm? Does anyone comment on it?
No and no.
Do the creatures retrieve it? I guess. I don't know.
I complained about Christopher Orr complaining that in Cowboys & Aliens no one analyzes the alien space craft that crash lands in town. I don't think I'm being hypocritical because in C&A there's no gain from analyzing the space craft. Is someone going to fly it? No. So why show it? But if someone analyzes this severed little fairy arm, that has a huge impact on the story because it proves the girls point! I think it behooves the filmmakers to show what happens to the arm. They don't. I think that's stupid.
8. The creatures eventually attack Guy Pearce, in the garage. They lasso his foot and trip him. His head smacks concrete, equaling loss of consciousness. How do the creatures attempt to kill him? By turning the car engine on and leaving it running. They don't bite out his throat. They don't stab him. They don't plunge something into his brain.
They. Turn. On. His. Car. And. Let. It. Idle.
Then wait around.
When he wakes up, not dead, and tries to leave the garage via the normal door, THEY SLASH HIS HAND WITH A KNIFE.
Why did they use that knife to kill him 30 seconds before that?
9. When the creatures attacked the worker dude who was trying to put the gate back on the furnace, no one tries to figure out what happened. The housekeeper woman says, "I think he fell." Keep in mind, he had scissors in his shoulder, cuts on his hand, his eye was slashed. There's no fall in the entire fucking world that will fuck you up like he was fucked up. And everyone in the movie is just like, "Hm, yeah, that sucks, watch that step next time!" He had stab wounds in his calves...come on! Wouldn't the EMTs report to the police that it appears this man was brutally assaulted?
10. At the end there's a picture that's dropped off at the house. Somehow the manipulation of gusts of air is able to open the basement door, loft this piece of paper, and carry it through the foyer, through the doorway, down the stairs, and to the furnace. Did these things kill Linka and take her ring?
I don't want to talk about this any more.
Did I like it?
I like Guy Pearce. But I hated Guy Pearce. And it's not that he was bad. I just hated the character.
I hated how the camera felt so...eager. It followed the characters like a lost puppy. I only thought one shot had any authority and that's when Katie Holmes goes into the library and the librarian is like "follow me" and they go walking and the camera jumps back to an overhead view from the ceiling so you see how the tables and shelves are laid out. There's no purpose for this (and that's a good thing). The camera has finally broken away from the actors. Then it dutifully returns.
Maybe you will watch this movie and like it. I can't get over the stupidity of the decision making. There are plenty of movies where the people are stupid and the monster(s) is (are) smart and its fun to watch the people die. But...in this, the monsters aren't smart, and neither are the people. It's a failure at a script level. The only conclusion I can come up with is that the writers weren't intelligent enough to concoct a single intelligent character.
Yeah, there are moments where you're like, that's creepy or that's kind of intense. I have no idea why this has an R-rating. One person dies and that's in the first three minutes.
The fact that reviewers praised this movie leaves me dumbfounded. Like, actually praised it. Like "this is a good movie." It had potential, but there's no way I could ever agree with anyone that this is a good movie. The entire premise relies on everyone being too stupid to succeed.
What It's Good For:
-how not to make a movie
-ruining Guillermo del Toro's reputation
-seeing Katie Holmes dragged down a furnace
-watching Guy Pearce do an impression of Allen Iverson at practice
-making you feel like you could write a better movie
-weeding out friends: if someone makes you watch this because they like it, you should not talk to them anymore
% Character / % Actor's personality
Pearce: 90/10 (not that great of acting, but definitely not Guy Pearce)
Holmes: 30/70 (quite Katie)
Madison: 50/50 (I have no idea)
Widmore: 0/100 (same look from Lost)
-Pearce: L.A. Confidential; The Count of Monte Cristo; Animal Kingdom; Memnto; The King's Speech
-Stupid fucking movies: Spider-Man 3; Mona Lisa Smile; Batman Forever; Transformers: Dark of the Moon
-Toro movies that are derivative of Pan's Labyrinth: Hellboy 2
-Solid Toro: Blade II
-Little things killing people: Child's Play; Leprechaun
Inquiry Closed, thank fucking Raptor Jesus