Jul 14, 2008

[Movies] Wanted

This US summer movie season has been mainly about comic book inspired films. True, there have been a slew of other films out at the same time that aren't necessarily about comic book characters, but of course the ones that we mostly remember or have been getting excited about fall into this genre.

Wanted was one of those movies that remind me why I choose to do reviews with the source material taken to one side. It's just not fair to compare such films with the original material since Hollywood is more than well-known to deviate in the interests of making the film more approachable or marketable.

Given they cast Angelina Jolie in this movie - someone known to fulfill the stereotypical teenage gamer's fantasies in her movie choices and the statements made about how they tried to make the movie as "real world" as possible instead of totally embracing the original comic book concept and had some hesitations about the film. Still, it looked cool and I have a thing for James McAvoy ever since he appeared in the Children of Dune mini-series.

The original comic book involved a story about a group of super villains. The movie on the other hand changed things around and follows the tale of a secret society of assassins (somehow descended from weavers) who kill in order to save the world, or something to that effect. Wesley (McAvoy), a boring run-of-the-mill average Joe discovers that his father was part of this Fraternity and now he's destined to follow in his footsteps.

The overall concept / plot for the movie was a bit weird to begin with, and this was definitely one of those areas that you wished that the producers opted to follow the original story a lot closer. The Hollywood fluff replacement story was really weak and required the viewer to take some major leaps in logic in order to appreciate the story, more or less. Not exactly your ideal concept.

The action was the best part of the movie, as expected. Beyond plot development and improving characterization, they invested a lot into dynamic fight sequences and of course the infamous curving bullets. In this aspect it's rather fun and entertaining to watch, although I'd have to agree with some reviewers who say that instead of making a mark for itself, it reminds one more of other movies like it. Yes, weren't you thinking of re-watching The Matrix again after seeing it? That's exactly my point.

McAvoy at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Annual...Image via WikipediaAngelina Jolie's acting was, well, typical for her and that's not saying much, but I really did enjoy James McAvoy's decent effort to mask his Scottish accent with an American one. Sure, it slipped from time to time but then considering how thick it is normally, that's quite a feat in itself. Plus he continues what appears to be becoming a movie habit of his to walk around shirtless - although he's REALLY hot now, LOL. Thank you gym work!

Morgan Freeman was brought in for star power and his typecast of playing the somewhat elderly and wise mentor. However he's normally all cool, calm and collected in his films and his role in this movie seemed a bit too emotional for his own good. Biggest lesson of the film is that Morgan Freeman cannot swear in a believable fashion. It just sounded wrong and unnatural to me throughout the film.

Credit has to go to the director for putting effort into recreating certain key scenes and moments from the original comic book, similar to how they tried to bring 300 to life in a fashion that was as accurate as possible during certain key scenes. This was mostly evident in the characterization of Wesley before he really got into the whole superhuman assassin bit and they do deserve kudos there for that part of things.

When you put everything all together, you still end up with a pretty cool movie with great action but with a plot that barely holds water. Sure, some would argue that you really shouldn't expect too much from a summer action flick, but then that doesn't mean we're going to watch just about anything. If you're a die-hard fan of the original comic book, you probably won't be able to enjoy this movie much without a lot of effort put into trying to forget how great the original source material is.
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