OK, it *is* better than Batman and Robin – the movie that, wonder of wonders, did not precipitate the deportment of writer Akiva Goldsman. My companion and I wondered on the way home whether Akiva stayed up at night purposefully writing garbage and thinking, “Oh, man, they wouldn’t produce THIS!” and laughing. Then some crackhead in Armani throws $90 million or more at it and suddenly Akiva sees his name pulse at him during the loud techno rave end credits and he must think, “Dammit, why didn’t I change my name?”
It’s lame. It’s not offensive (OK, that stupid F&#@(!$% yellow monkey is more offensive than being mooned by a hemorrhoid clinic) but it is stupid and lame and underwhelming. Heather Graham (Rollergirl) has the best lines in the movie – real zingers too, and Mimi Rogers follows with some slightly more tired but still serviceable quips of her own. I appreciated that Mimi actually looked old enough to be William Hurt’s wife. Oh, William. Ye of such a fine previous career. He was wooden and lame and tired and you people know I don’t like to criticize actor’s performances unless they can’t help themselves. I was never a viewer of the TV show and I understand that the movie is taking a radically different tone than the wacky campy papier mache TV show, BUT shouldn’t we at least want our hero to live? I could not have cared less about anyone except maybe Rollergirl. And even so I was ashamed that she would follow up a wonderful movie like Boogie Nights with the simian star of Ed. With lines like “Detente is a wonderful thing.” Oooh, did you go to film school?
Gary Oldman must have sunk into a wicked cocaine problem since Air Force One, because he wants us to believe Dr. Smith is evil, but we have nothing to base that on. He speaks (as I am sure you have seen in the preview) of his own wicked nature, but really, he’s just the guy with the accent. I was so disappointed to remember reading that he said this character was one of his favorites. The best part with Smith is, sadly, a Jim Henson’s Creature Shop creation voiced by Oldman. Oh woe.
The music is half new school I’m gonna get the Oscar out from John Williams and half old school wah wah Sid and Marty Kroft. Interesting but frightening. The whole movie is just unsatisfying and dull, no more, no less.
I know the Robot was important on the show – but as a standalone movie, what the hell was it doing here? Was it their food prep automaton or their high-colonic administerer? “Destroy! Destroy! Destroy Friday evening!” Oh and did I mention that the whole family is really important bit is hokey, sad, *and* poorly executed? Well, I meant to. After I put ointment on the welts from having been beaten with their goofy priorities message, I will.
As always, I have something nice to say which is that the computer generated stuff at the beginning of the movie is totally lusciously beautiful gorgeous expectations-raising eye candy. Then the stupid yellow monkey comes and I think about how nice cyanide gas must smell. There is literally NO reason for that expensive effect to exist, and did I mention that it was a dreadful, poorly thought out illogical mess too? Oh the shame. And to think THIS of all movies is the one to knock Titanic out of the number one slot. Oh, couldn’t it have been a decent movie? The place was packed! But hopefully word of mouth will kill it and we can all forget it ever happened. Evil may know evil but moviegoers don’t. I knew it would suck and I had to protect you, Dear Readers.
Akiva, start packing.
*Note: this film was originally rated Dollar Movie, which fell between Catch the Network Premiere and Catch It On HBO.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 4/3/98
Time in minutes 131
Director Stephen Hopkins
Studio New Line Cinema