Wednesday, August 7, 2013

R.I.P.D. Off

The all-too familiar premise of Universal Studio's R.I.P.D. is unfortunately D.O.A. 


ARTH VADER (AV): Well Pontificator my friend, this movie, at best, was going to fight an uphill battle. As a movie, R.I.P.D. was at least somewhat true to it's source material. Ryan Reynold's lead as murdered police officer Nick Walker (or Nick Cruz in the comic), was convincing in a story that just shouldn't have been told so soon after a recent Men-In-Black installment. R.I.P.D. is a pretty creative idea with potential that could have been told with more flair if the source material was adhered to more closely. Thoughts, Ponty?

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): R.I.P.D. is an original movie that... wait, did I say original? Let me put it this way, the events and content in this film have not happened the exact same way in any film prior. With that said, there was an eerie familiarity to this film and although the nostalgia was pleasant, the substance was anything but. I have never read the books, but no doubt they had to have been better than this film.


AV: Ryan Reynolds has become somewhat of a falling stock in the vein of Hollywood leading men especially after the horribly under-performing Green Lantern and the no-fault-of-his-own developments of the mishandled Deadpool character from X-Men Origins: Wolverine.This movie suffers from an unfair–if not unconscious–comparison to the MIB franchise. Jeff "Obediah Stane" Bridges reprises his Rooster Cogburn personae (from True Grit) that is annoyingly charming. I just couldn't get past the old ball-buster cop paired with the unlikely and defiant rookie-ish cop a la Lethal Weapon series, and MIB. That was the.. ahem... nail in the coffin here. 
TP: It doesn’t seem as though Ryan Reynolds will be catching a break anytime soon. Although he is being cast as the comedic type, with hints of a serious side, neither of those sides show a good look in this film. Jeff Bridges is an excellent actor and his role in this film is a good one, even though the film can never do him justice. I can’t say this film was well cast, have to split on the acting and although I enjoyed some elements of the direction, it was listless overall.


AV: This movie could have had a moment in the sun with some decent effects shots but just fell like a corpse on its face here, Ponty. With a full array of 'been there, seen that' effects shots, I couldn't say that anything really 'changed the game' in the effects arena for me in this movie. In fact, one of the film's most charming details comes when we discover the real-world identities of the undead heroes. Ironically, this required exactly NO special effects and was potentially this movie's only spark of creativity in writing and screen presentation.

TP: At the beginning of the film, I was very much enjoying the special effects. The whole “action-stopped-in-time” sequence was entertaining, even though this wasn’t the first time it was seen in films, it was done rather well. After that, it all went downhill. The CGI was horrible, to the point that I began to wonder if the film meant to make a mockery of itself... as part of the failed comedic formula it was using. I watched this film in 3D, and it was a colossal waste to do so. As with other films that used 3D when it was first introduced, it was poorly done and severely underused.


AV: The sad truth is that there just isn't much to R.I.P.D., Pontificator. We have had quite a range of experiences this summer with movies but this film just doesn't offer much to discuss, review or consider. As a stand alone effort, it has moments that make you smile but many parts of this film simply got too cliché, too mired in mediocrity and too dang familiar. That's my opinion but that's why I co-write this Ponty. What did you see when you peered into the microscope, sir?

TP: Well Vader, perhaps if a deeper look was given to this film during production, it would have fared better on the silver screen. I get the idea of making a fun comedy with great talent and cool special effects. I get it... but the makers of this film don’t. I really wanted to be entertained and went in giving this movie the benefit of the doubt. What I got for my openness was a rip-off of Men in Black, minus everything that made those films entertaining. There were times I felt like I was sitting through a Progressive Insurance commercial crossed with Ghostbusters. There were many areas where this film could have been better, instead it seemed to highlight everywhere it wasn’t.


AV: In my estimation, it would take a monumental writing, re-tooling and re-imaging of this property to get it to ascend above where this movies has probably placed movie-goer's expectations. I simply don't see how something this–pardon the pun–lifeless could have any further appeal. Movie-making is a business and all businesses need to prosper to survive. In business terms, this film is a lead-loss. I say put it out to pasture... ehh, so to speak.

TP: When trying to define the essence of a bad idea, making a sequel to this film fits the bill. On the other hand, if wasting money and time is the desired goal, then there is no better endeavor than to make a part two to this. Really though... don’t.


ARTH VADER rates R.I.P.D.: As a self-styled movie man I must confess this movie simply couldn't end soon enough. Even being shot in my home town of Boston, Massachusetts, this story was a dead-end (insert pun-induced groan here) and offered little signs of after (or previous) life. With a screen-play as dead as the story arc itself (I can't stop myself, Ponty!) R.I.P.D. lays just three (3) busted blocks down to their final resting place.

THE PONTIFICATOR rates R.I.P.D.: With subpar special effects, shoddy acting to a failed formula for comedy, facilitated by a terrible script and poor direction... this film kills four (4) busted blocks... without hope of any resurrection. I gave it the extra block for being filmed in our home city of Boston, Vader... and for casting Kevin Bacon as the villain.

R.I.P.D.: 3.5 / 10 Busted Blocks

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