Odd Thomas, Not Odd Enough

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Based on the best-selling novel by Dean Koontz, directed by Stephen Sommers, the director of “The Mummy” – and served on a platter by a twenty-year-old short-order cook with a name as intriguing as Odd Thomas. It sounded like the perfect ingredients to what could have been another “Constantine”… what could possibly go wrong?

I’ve read dark and glorious titles by Mr. Koontz such as Intensity and From the Corner of His Eye; and I personally believed that Odd Thomas would have been cut from the same cloth, but unfortunately I just didn’t feel it. While the graphics were very well done for the dark hellish demons referred to as bodachs, I couldn’t help but to continuously think about the demonic beasts of “Constantine” – they moved and looked like them, only instead of being charred and from Hell, they were more like shadowy figures from the underworld that couldn’t help themselves when they were near evil. They were like blood hounds that followed people whom would soon unleash rage and bid tragedy on the world around them. But if you see them, and they know you can see them, they will kill you. That sounded like it could have been oozing with action and on the edge of your seat moments of darkness… but it wasn’t.

Given all of the tragic circumstances from the past few decades, I do realize that mass murderers and lunatics terrorizing malls, schools, and office environments with brutal rampages is a large fear in many people’s minds, but did that topic do this story justice when giving Odd Thomas a mission to save the town? I haven’t read the book, so I’m giving Dean Koontz the benefit of the doubt that his story may have had a more serious tone to it, however, this movie seemed to have tread extremely lightly for such a heavy handed topic. In my opinion Hollywood took what could have been a serious film and made it into a teen flick. There were moments in which I kept thinking that the lead actor would be a perfect replacement for Michael J. Fox if someone ever wanted to remake the “Back to the Future” films.

“Odd Thomas” never gave the viewers a reason to believe that the lead character should be such the badass he was written to be. Maybe it’s just another Hollywood slip. Of course Koontz can’t get off the hook that easily, after all, he did allow Odd Thomas to name the antagonist,  such a comic book-like name such as “Fungus Man” and Stormy (Odd’s girlfriend) had lame pet names like “Pooh Bear” and “Stuffy Head Bear” for Odd. It was small things like that coupled with less than par dialogue that pushed me away from the story as I watched it unfold.  While the idea of seeing dead people and shadow creatures was the hook that reeled me in to start with, it just wasn’t enough to stay on track when battered by a weak story.

I am well aware that Koontz went on to publish a graphic novel based on Odd Thomas and his heroic adventures of fighting crime via his clairvoyant abilities, but one has to wonder if that was the original intent of the character or did Koontz go that route after realizing his hardcore demon fighter was a little too far fetched? At first glance it sounds like an interesting story. In the beginning of the book and in the film, Odd is confronted by a young girl whom was brutally beaten, raped and murdered and then he is led by her spirit to her killer, whom just so happens to have a bloody photo of her dead body in his wallet. A little convenient but for the sake of the story I was willing to swallow it just to watch the chase and struggle of Odd bringing the killer to justice. Unfortunately, that was the most exciting event in the entire film and even that scene was too unrealistic. I know it sounds like I’m wanting realism in a comic-like story, however, Marvel seems to do this without a problem, so if you are going to go that route, be prepared to make it feel real. “300” was a graphic novel and look how that turned out!

If I was still in my preteens I may have enjoyed the film, but only if I had a sheltered life and had never seen better films. I guess  I was hoping for another “Donnie Darko”, “Constantine” or even something in the same realm as “Suspect Zero.”  I normally do not agree with critics or Rotten Tomatoes because they usually give films a lower score than what they really deserve. I mean, after all , many of the critics have never made a film or even gone to film school, yet they think they can rate a film and sway potential viewers to see the films or to run like Hell from them. This time, however, when Rotten Tomatoes gave “Odd Thomas” a rating that lingered in the low thirties, I felt that they had done the film a favor, maybe even rating it a bit higher than it deserved.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are bored one Sunday afternoon and you don’t have anything else to watch, I think you should check this film out. You might like it, whereas I wanted something that wasn’t so slow with better dialogue and a more in depth plot. But before you watch “Odd Thomas” I urge you to rent these other titles first:

1. Constantine

2. Donnie Darko

3. Suspect Zero

4. ParaNorman

5. The Conjuring

6. The Awakening

7. The Sixth Sense

8. The Others

9. RIP (Rest In Peace) Department

10. Frailty

As always, thank you for reading www.beyondthecircle.net


Until next time…

~ William C. Raustler